How To Cut Stone Tiles with Hand Tools

Stone tiles are more durable as compared to ceramic tiles. That is why the usual tools used for cutting ceramic tiles might not be powerful enough for cutting stone tiles. Professional homebuilders cut stone tiles using a wet saw that cuts precisely and smoothly without making a lot of dust.

However, investing in a wet saw is no joke. It costs from about $300 to more than $1,000. Sometimes, even renting one can be expensive, costing about $40 a day. So, most homeowners who want to do a DIY job resort to using hand tools. Using hand tools is not that bad as long as you get the closest to the best thing. Below are some tips on how you can use hand tools for cutting stone tiles like granite, glass, and marble:

  • Use cutting boards for weaker stone tiles. These boards have a mechanism for easy scoring, cutting, and breaking of tiles. This can be your best option for cutting straight lines. To use this, you need to first score the tile using the carbide wheel. After that, break the tile along the scored mark. The cut edge will be slightly rough, which can be acceptable if the area will be covered later. Any stone tiles can be cut with this tool expect for marble and granite.
  • Tile nippers. As mentioned, cutting boards are idea for straight cuts. What about for curved cuts and small cuts? This pliers-looking hand tool can do the job. With this, you need to snip small bits of the stone tile until you get your desired cut. Using the tile nipper will require a lot of patience, though. Plus, the result can be very frustrating if you are expecting a smooth finish. The stone tile will have rough edges after using this tool. That is why most professionals use this only if another tool like a hacksaw is available.
  • Hacksaw. As long as there is a tungsten carbide blade, a hacksaw will be the next best tool after the wet saw. The carbide blade connects to the handsaw’s blade, and together, they can cut hard tile like granite, glass, and marble. Although a better cutting hand tool, this will still require a lot of patience and will produce rough finish.
  • Masonry bits. These can be attached to a power drill. The bits can cut through hard stone tiles but only a small portion at a time. This tool is mainly used for piercing the stone tile. This will come in handy when preparing the tiles for mounting.
  • Rotary tools. These tools will be very helpful as long as they have carbide bits that were specifically designed for cutting stone tiles. The rotary tool can cut curved shapes and pierce holes through the tile. But then again, using this tool for cutting stone tile requires a bit of patience.
  • Hammer and chisel. See how sculptors make shapes out of stones? They use hammer and chisel in a very careful way. Try the same technique by marking on the line to be cut, placing the chisel on the mark and hitting it with a hammer. The end result might not be precise and could produce rough edges. But this is a good alternative to tile nippers.

Using hand tools for cutting stone tiles is recommended only if you’ll be cutting a few pieces of tiles. But if you’ll be cutting more than 20 pieces, better consider using a wet saw. The extra expense will be rewarding with a smoother cut, fewer waste, and lesser effort.


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