Ceramic tile cutter

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Ceramic tile cutters are used to cut tiles to a required size or shape. They come in a number of different forms, from basic manual devices to complex attachments for power tools.[1]

Hand tools[edit]

First Tile Cutter Invented by Boada Brothers

Mass-produced ceramic tiles of medium to soft grades are cut easily with hand tools. The ceramic tile cutter is a tool invented in 1951 by the Boada brothers, originating in the town of Rubi (Barcelona) in Spain. The first tile cutter was designed to facilitate the work and solve the problems that masons had when cutting hydraulic mosaic or encaustic cement tiles (a type of decorative tile with pigmented cement, highly used in 50s, due to the high strength needed because of the high hardness and thickness of these tiles). The cutter works scratching a straight line through the tile and then punching it to snap the tile by the scratch weakened line. From the beginning it was popularly known by the users with the nickname "the RUBI", for the birthplace of their inventors and later the Registered Trade Mark.

Over the time the tool evolved, incorporating elements that made it more accurate and productive. The first cutter had an iron point to scratch the tiles. It was later replaced by the current tungsten carbide scratching wheel. Other built-in device introduced in 1960 was the snapping element. It allowed users to snap the tiles easily and not with the bench, the cutter handle or hitting the tile with a knee as it was done before. This was a revolution in the cutting process of the ceramic world. The glazed surface of the tile is first scratched with a hardened metal wheel. Then with a support directly under the scratched line, pressure is applied to both sides of the line and the tile snaps along it. Snapping pressure [1] varies widely, some mass-produced models exerting over 750 kg. Today, the ceramic tile cutter has evolved to a variety of models and brands, with current capacity for cutting ceramic hard materials such as porcelain tiles.

Tile nippers[edit]

Tile nippers are similar to small pairs of pincers, with part of the width of the tool removed so that they can be fit into small holes. They can be used to break off small edges of tiles that have been scored or nibble out small chips enlarging holes etc.

Glass cutter[edit]

A simple hand held glass cutter is capable of scoring smooth surface glazes allowing the tile to be snapped.

Beam score cutters, cutter boards[edit]

The twin beam and single beam cutter boards have the following features:-

  • They simplify the scoring and the breaking functions.
  • Adjustable fences for angled cuts and square cuts.
  • Fence stops for multiple cuts of exactly the same size.
  • The beam(s) are height adjustable to handle different thicknesses of tiles.
  • The scoring wheel is easily replaceable.
  • They come in various sizes to accommodate tile sizes.

Power tools[edit]

The harder grades of ceramic tiles like fully vitrified porcelain tiles, stone tiles, and some clay tiles with textured surfaces have to be cut with a diamond blade.[2] The diamond blades are mounted in:-

Angle grinders[edit]

A grinder with a diamond blade for cutting tile.

A 100 mm angle grinder is used for short, sometimes curved cuts. It can also be used for "L" shaped cuts and for making holes. It is used dry and more rarely used wet.

Tile saws[edit]

A tile saw with a water-cooled diamond blade in use
  • Dedicated tile saws are designed to be used with water as a coolant for the diamond blade.
  • They are available in different sizes.
  • Adjustable fences for angled cuts and square cuts.
  • Fence stops for multiple cuts of exactly the same size.



  1. ^ Editors of Cool Springs Press (2013), HomeSkills: Ceramic Tile: How to Install Ceramic Tile for Your Floors, Walls, Backsplashes & Countertops, Cool Springs Press, pp. 30–, ISBN 978-1-59186-580-3 
  2. ^ Richard Rice. (2013), Diamond Blades, Diamond Blades, p. 1 

See also[edit]