How to Cut Porcelain Tile by Hand

One of the more challenging aspects of tile installation is cutting porcelain tiles. There are many options for machines that can do this for you, but they tend to be expensive and difficult to use. This blog post will teach you how to cut porcelain tile by hand with your trusty utility knife and a guide, which we’ll discuss later on!

How to Cut Porcelain Tile by Hand

To cut porcelain tile by hand, start with a tile nipper. Make sure the blade is sharp, and make your incision about 1/4 inch from where you want to break off the piece of tile. You can use a diamond-tipped saw for larger tiles or an area that will be tiled often.

Next, insert the blade at a 45-degree angle to score the line on both sides of where you want to break off your piece of tile. Be careful not to damage any adjacent tiles while doing this! Read on to know more!

10 Ways on How to Cut Porcelain Tile by Hand

1. Score and Snap:

Place your ruler or guide on the tile, then carefully score the surface of the intended cut line with a utility knife (be careful to keep your hand out of the way). Next, firmly press down on your ruler or guide and snap off the piece you’ve scored with your hands. Use care not to apply too much pressure to the blade of your utility knife, as it could cause the tile’s surface to crack.

2. Tile Breaker:

A tile breaker is a tool that breaks the tile at a 45-degree angle. First, place your ruler or guide on the tile, then carefully score the surface of the intended line of cut with a utility knife (be careful to keep your hand out of the way).

Next, place one edge of the tile breaker firmly against the scored line and press down. Finally, hammer the tile breaker to break off the piece of tile and leave a 45-degree angle behind.

3. Tile Cutter:

A quality tile cutter does quick work out of cutting tiles for your next project, whether it’s grouting another space or replacing an old broken backsplash in the kitchen. They’re also great for cutting tiles too thin or large tiles that you can’t cut with a tile breaker.

Use Tile Cutter

All you have to do is adjust the blade on your cutter, so it’s at the desired angle, then position it over the tile and press down until you’ve cut all the way through.

4. Scribe Tool:

A scribe tool is a handheld power tool used to cut tiles too large or too thick for other tools. As with the tile cutter, you need only adjust its angle and position it over the area where you want to make your cut.

Then start at an edge of your tile, press down on the scribe tool, and watch as it slices through the material like butter. It’s much easier than trying to cut tiles by hand with a utility knife (and you don’t have to worry about accidentally slicing your fingers).

5. The Jigsaw Method:

This method is used when dealing with curves or angles that are too difficult for other ways. To use it, you’ll need a jigsaw and the appropriate blades (toothed or diamond blades work best, but plain metal ones will do in a pinch).

Place your ruler or guide on the tile and mark where you want to make your cut. Don’t try cutting all the way through with one single sawing motion. Instead, cut just deep enough to score the surface of your tile. Then, flip it over and cut all the way through on the other side.

6. Dremel Saw:

If you have a Dremel saw, try using that to cut your tiles. It will do a much better than the jigsaw method, but it’s messier and harder to control. Also, you’ll need a tile bit for your Dremel saw, and you may have to make more than one cut at a time.

7. Tile Plunger/Scrubber:

You can use a fancy tile scrubber with multiple attachments or a plunger to cut tiles by hand. To use either, place your ruler or guide on the tile and mark where you want to make your cut. Then, tighten up the plunger or attach it to your tile scrubber and press down with even pressure until you’ve cut all the way through.

8. Grinder:

Grinders will leave behind rough edges and a lot of dust, but they’re great when you’re in a pinch because they cut through tile like butter. The only problem is that it may be challenging to get the right angle when cutting, and it’s easy to cut yourself if you use one accidentally. You’ll need special diamond blades for your grinder.

Use Grinder

9. The Hammer & Chisel Method:

You’ll need a hammer, chisel, and hammer claw to use this method of cutting tile. First, score the surface of your desired line with a utility knife, then place one side of your chisel against the scored line and firmly press down with your hammer. Once you make it all the way through, use your chisel to remove any excess material left behind.

10. The Drill Method:

You can use a small electric drill to cut your tiles, but it will make a huge mess and a lot of noise. Plus, you’ll need a diamond blade for the training to make it work. You can also try using an especially sharp bit in your regular drill if you don’t have a diamond blade on hand.

But be warned: you must exert extreme caution when using this method because any mistake could cause broken or flying tiles that are difficult to control.

You can also check out How to Clean Discolored Tile

Some Tips and Suggestions

1. It is possible to cut tile by hand.

2. Hand-cut tiles, though they may be more expensive than their machine-made counterparts, are much more creative and appealing due to this creative process.

3. Consider using a tile saw if you want the creative aspect of hand-cutting porcelain tile but do not want the difficulty. Tile saws are great time savers and can provide uniform cuts with little effort.

4. If you want uniformity in the cuts of your hand-cut tiles, it is advisable to use a diamond wet saw for cutting porcelain tile. This will cut through porcelain easily if the saw blade is diamond-tipped.

Use Wet Saw for Cutter

5. Do a test run on a piece of scrap tile before cutting your entire project to ensure you have the right angle and depth for the best cut. No matter what type of tool you use, test cuts will help eliminate surprises later when your whole project comes together.

6. A wet saw with diamond-tipped blades is the best way to cut porcelain tile.

7. Cut tiles carefully and slowly; although you may want to rush through cutting, rushing will only result in mistakes that must be fixed later.

8. Be careful not to break your back or your fingers while moving heavy pieces of tile.

Things to Consider When Cutting Porcelain Tile by Hand

1. Porcelain is a fragile tile. Thus, it has to be cut with extreme caution and precision.

2. A wet saw can break the blades easily. Most tiles get damaged when wet saws are used to cut them down.

3. You cannot get replacement blades for these saws anymore since the manufacturer has discontinued them. Thus, using a wet saw is not an option.

4. The only sure way to cut these tiles without breaking them is through hand cutting.

Use Hand Cutter

5. You need to be careful what tool you use for the cut-down process. Considering that the blades required are non-existent, you must ensure that your devices don’t get chipped or broken easily. The tiling material can also chip away your tools and ruin your work process.

6. Because of the chipping and breaking possibilities, you should use handheld tile nippers or shears for cutting down porcelain tiles.

7. You need to have a steady grip on the tool that cuts down the porcelain tile so that it doesn’t slip from your hands.

8. You will need a lot of patience to get through the process without breaking your porcelain tiles in half or cutting them incorrectly.


Hand-cutting tile is a great way to save money on expensive diamonds and allow for customized cuts. However, it does require some knowledge of the process before attempting this at home. If you’re not sure how to cut porcelain tiles by hand, we recommend reaching out to professionals in your area who can demonstrate or teach you techniques that will work best for your needs and environment.

Once it’s properly prepared, make a few practice runs on scrap pieces first so that you can get an idea of what pressure will work best for your blade type. This blog on how to cut porcelain tile by hand has provided you with some of the most basic knowledge that will help make cutting your tiles a piece of cake. We hope this information helps, and we would love feedback on our article!

Jennifer Branett
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