If you're doing a bit of kitchen or bathroom DIY, chances are at some point you're going to need to cut some tiles. Whether you're replacing chipped and cracked ones, or re-tiling the floor or wall, proper cutting will ensure a smooth and enduring finish to your work.
First things first - how much cutting are you going to do? If you're tiling the water cupboard or just replacing some cracked edges here and there, a manual tile cutter will do the trick. If you're planning on doing a major overhaul of any of your wet areas, a wet saw might be the best option.
Manual tile cutting
A 60 cm tile cutter from Kennards Hire is the ideal tool for cutting even large tiles at home. These have a cutting depth of 6-15 mm, and can handle a large array of porcelain or ceramic tiles. With a 66 cm maximum cutting length and 46 cm maximum diagonal cut, even the biggest tiles won't be a problem. Now, on to the cutting.
When you've measured the space the tile needs to fill and then subtracted enough to allow for your spacers, you'll have your final width. Mark this with a pencil and a straight edge and then put it into the tile cutter. Line up the graphite cutting wheel with where you will start your cut and score the tile. Do not go over it more than once or twice, as too much scoring may crack the glaze, leaving a rough edge.
Now to make the snap cut. Lift the handle and place the pressure pad in the centre of your tile. Ease it down and firmly and consistently apply pressure until the tile snaps. It should split cleanly on the line you have scored, resulting in a nice, clean finish.
Cutting with a saw
Using a wet cut saw will allow you to handle thicker, tougher tiles - especially ceramic varieties. Not only that, but the range of cutting options you now have is much greater. For example, it will be much easier to make L-shaped cuts, or other angled cuts, than it would be with a manual cutter.
When using a water-cooled saw, make sure that the liquid flows easily around the blade to avoid messing up the tile, blade or yourself. As long as you have a slow, steady cut, using a wet saw is very straight forward, but the serious considerations are safety. With both types of tile cutters you should be wearing safety glasses. With a wet saw you should take added precautions to ensure that water drains away from any electrical outlets or plugs.