Toolipedia: Tile Cutter

Toolipedia: Everything you wanted to know about manual tile cutters

A tile cutter with parts labeled by number | Construction Pro Tips
Image Courtesy of QEP

What is a tile cutter?

A manual tile cuter is a simple scoring tool used to cut straight lines in ceramic and porcelain tile. They are used by tile installers. Here are the basic components of a tile cutter:

  1. Handle
  2. Carriage
  3. Base
  4. Slide Rails
  5. Scoring wheel
  6. Breaker
  7. Guide/Ruler
  8. Stop
  9. Support Wings

How is a tile cutter used?

  1. Place a tile on the base of the cutter.
  2. Grab the handle and run the scoring wheel (usually forward) across the entire face of the tile.
  3. Pull backwards on the handle a bit to engage the breaker.
  4. Press down on the handle to snap the tile.

What are the different types of tile cutters?

Some cutters can only cut tiles up to 12 inches while others can cut tiles 24 inches and larger. The slides rail/s most commonly consist of either a single bar or two tubes. There are many other tools available to cut tile besides a manual tile cutter: tile saws, nippers, grinders are a few.

 What makes a good tile cutter?

  • Carbide cutting wheel
  • Sturdy rail/s
  • Ball bearings in the carriage
  • Good sight lines to the cutting wheel
  • Support wings
  • Guide/ruler with a stop for cutting multiple piece
  • Option to cut tiles at an angle
  • Compact size (collapsible)

QEP makes a good tile cutter.

Tile cutter being cleaned with silicon | Construction Pro Tips

Tile cutter tip

Keep the rails clean and lubed up with silicone spray. Other petroleum lubricants can attract the fine porcelain and ceramic dust.

More tile installation tips 

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