Scoring ceramic tile with a glass cutter to cut the tile to size.
Scoring ceramic tile with a glass cutter to cut the tile to size.

To cut ceramic tile by hand without a tile cutter:

    1. Mark the top of the tile where you want to cut it.
    1. Place a square on the tile slightly away from the mark.
    1. Use a glass cutter to score the tile on the cut line.
    1. Place the tile on solid surface with a wire clothes hanger under the tile aligned with the score mark.
    1. Press down on either side of the tile to break the tile along the score line.
  1. If needed, smooth the cut by rubbing the edge on concrete or a brick.

Watch this video to find out more.

Further Information

Danny Lipford: Usually when you’re doing some ceramic tiling around your house, you have to go to the rental center and rent a tile cutter. But Joe’s got a method on small ceramic tile jobs that you can save that rental money.

Joe Truini: That’s right, Danny. When you only need to cut a couple of tiles, all you need is a glass cutter and a wire hanger, and of course a pair of safety glasses.

First mark the cut line on the tile, then use a square to guide the glass cutter along the line. When you hear that crackling sound, you know the glass cutter is scoring the ceramic surface of the tile. Then you simply place the tile on the wire hanger with the line directly over the hanger and press down.

Now the resulting cut is sometimes a little rough, but it’s typically hidden by another tile. If it’s going to be exposed, you can smooth it out on any concrete surface or even just a brick.

Danny Lipford: That’s a great tip, and actually this same method can be used on any size tile.

Editorial Contributors
Joe Truini

Joe Truini

Radio Show Co-Host

Joe Truini is a contractor, author, and the host of “Simple Solutions” on Today’s Homeowner TV and the weekly Today’s Homeowner radio show. He has worked on both large commercial projects and residential remodeling, and has written for national publications such as This Old House and Popular Mechanics. He has also written eight books, including three best-selling shed-building books. Joe lives in Connecticut with his family and enjoys hiking, traveling, and baseball in his spare time.

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