How do you cut the small tiles attached to the mesh?

bothJuly 31, 2011

I have done some tiling; two bathrooms and a kitchen counter. My husband and I are diy-ers because budget is tight with kids and life. We are at the tiling phase of a bathroom and are using 1" hexagon tiles that are attached to a mesh backing (12"x12"). We have asked at "The Tile Shop" where we bought our tile and at home depot how to cut the tile for a straight edge and we can't get an answer. We looked on youtube and can't find anything. We got a tile guy to come and give us an estimate because we may give up, but it is so expensive. He said he uses a grinder and free hands it. Two days ago I ordered the "Tilesizer" but sceptical of it working and that is a lot of time to sit and cut each tile one at a time. What are experts using? If I have to I can cut each one...but with my luck after I finish the job I will hear of a much easier way. Any ideas would be great!!!

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Depending on the tile you can use a score and snap cutter. Score them one-by-one, then snap them one-by-one. then use a knife to cut the mesh backing.

Or they can be cut on a wet saw. Sometimes the mesh hangs past the edges of the tiles around the outside edges of the 12" sheet. If so, just trim the excess mesh off so it doesn't interfere with your wet saw's fence or the excess mesh could push the sheet out of alignment with the blade.

You could use a grinder, but that's like using a chainsaw to trim your fingernails.

I looked at the Tilesizer. I'd reach for my chainsaw before using that thing.

These two videos show score and snaps on mosaic:



    Bookmark   August 1, 2011 at 3:47AM
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Thanks I look at both videos. They look great but they are 300 to 600 dollars. We tried our wet saw and the tiles kept getting pushed by the blade and came out crooked. Our wet saw is the kind with a blade that comes from the base like a table saw not from abouve like a miter saw. Will the wet saw where the blade comes from the top and the table slides to it work better? I thought it would push the tiles again.
At home depot the score and snap cutters have a ridge or bump going down the middle and the HD guy said it is too hard to balance such a small tile on the mesh on that hump.


    Bookmark   August 1, 2011 at 7:35AM
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I wasn't necessarily advocating that you buy one of those specific score and snaps, since you wrote that you looked and couldn't find anything on YouTube, I was just trying to show the technique. Not all s&s's can do it. Sometimes you can insert a thin piece of wood on either side of the center hump to do the "score", then remove it and use the hump for leverage during the "snap".

A diamond wet saw blade won't cut you like a wood blade. The diamonds might file your fingernail down, but they don't do much against flesh.

A good blade should cut tile like a knife through buddah. If not, then the blade might need reconditioning. If the diamonds are simply worn down, you can run a concrete paver through it a couple of times. That'll expose new diamond.

I do think overhead blades are more versatile. You could tape the mesh sheet to a piece of plywood, set the blade depth to just cut through the tile, then cut the mesh sheet with no scrunching up of the mesh.

Can you feed the sheet as a whole past the wet saw blade by pushing on each individual mosaic as it is being cut? By controlling each tile with your fingers on each side, you should be able to get a god cut line.

But if you're having difficulty, there's nothing wrong with removing the individual mosaics that need to be cut off the sheet, cutting them, and hand setting them. A la that "Tilesizer" thing but without the actual tile sizer. Or you can use the tilesizer.

Or you can mark the entire sheets up and have them cut them at a tile store, or at Home Depot.

Or use the grinder with a diamond bade.

Whatever works.

Best of luck!

    Bookmark   August 1, 2011 at 12:48PM
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The problem with dry cutting is that especially when cutting small pieces (which there will always be with hex), the pieces will tend to crumble. You need to use a good saw-- one with a blade ABOVE the table. If you need to, just about any tool rental place will have them. Or you can look on Craigs list, buy a saw there, and then turn around and sell it again when you're done, thereby costing you very little and still be able to use a good saw.

    Bookmark   August 1, 2011 at 8:22PM
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I just saw an episode of This Old House where the glass pencil mosaic was crumbling when wet, so he mounted it first on pieces of backer board. Then when it was dry he cut the whole thing to size and mounted THAT in place. He cut long strips for borders, as well as a rectangle to set in the niche behind the stove.

Worked like a charm.

See if you can find the episode online. It aired in the last 2 weeks or so.

    Bookmark   August 3, 2011 at 2:05PM
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Thank you everyone for your ideas. I am still waiting for the "tilesizer" in the mail. I am also checking craigslist for a wet saw with the blade from above. Genious idea Bill to buy and resell when done!!!
I went back to The Tile Shop and they tried taping the tile and attatching it to another solid tile...It did't work the tiles where still moving and crooked.
On another web site they recomended hot glueing the tiles to a piece of drywall and they running it through and pealing them off one by one.
I will try to find that episode on This Old House.
Also at The Tile Shop the girl who helped me showed me a display bathroom with a hex floor and where the flooring ended on one wall they positioned the tile so that the short end of the hex was the border and then grouted without and little filler pieces added. It looked good. So I have started the floor and have put the small end of the hex towards the bathtub. If the tile sizer is easy then I may put in fillers but if not I may just grout.

Putting in a white hex floor with two black borders and a middle design is a LOT of work!! So back to work and I will tell you how we eventually goes with cutting the little tiles. Thanks Again Everyone.

    Bookmark   August 3, 2011 at 4:41PM
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I used tile nippers, and snipped along a line I had marked on the mesh. Because the cut edges went into a corner, they were not conspicuous.

    Bookmark   August 3, 2011 at 8:00PM
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The plywood approach is what I do. lay a piece of plywood on the deck and set the blade to just touch the wood. Then set the tile on the plywood. This gives you a flat surface to set the tile and no groove to fall down into.

    Bookmark   August 3, 2011 at 9:20PM
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