How to Actually Cut My Tile Now that I Know the Width to Cut?

enduringSeptember 21, 2012

I have posted on this topic some months ago. I am finally getting ready for the tile installation. I originally thought I would use a 3/16 grout spacing but I didn't think that through very well. I think it is too small. I am going to use a larger spacing so I measured the color sticks from Laticrete and they are 5/16. That is a perfect size to use the tile calculation that Mongoct provided in my other post that I've linked below. Mongoct left some great reading on that post!


11 13/16 = 2TW+ 5/16

11 1/2 = 2TW

5 3/4 = TW

My tiles will be cut from 11 13/16" square to 11 13/16" x 5 3/4".


1) Do I cut down the center then trim each rough side down to desired width?


2) Do I cut one perfect width then trim the other side to match?

I am pretty precise and steady. I don't have a large area to tile, around 45 sf. I don't mind cutting 45 tiles in half...yet:)

Here is a link that might be useful: Question Re: Tile cutting/sizing 12x12 down to 12x6

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Hi, Enduring!

I looked, but I don't think I have a thread where I carefully explained that. I linked a thread below where I offhandedly described a similar thing to someone who was interested in creating custom subways, which may be what you are remembering.
I just wrote up a long justification for picking your option number two, but I then realized you have a problem. You cannot get two tiles that are 5-3/4" out of one tile that is 11-13/16". Your saw blade will be wider than 1/16".

Is what you want to wind up with is two tiles that are as big as possible, given the starting tile size? I.e., do you want 2*tile width + saw-blade-kerf = 11.75"?

If so, then I think you should use option #1. (I am assuming you have a tile saw with a moving bed; if not, might have to rethink.)

What I did was to carefully mark the center. (I will give you an easy way to do this in the next post.) Then set your fence so that the saw blade lines up with this mark as best you can. Cut a tile, then carefully compare the two halves. If they are different sizes, futz around with the fence position carefully and try again. (Be careful of whether the tile is held at a slight angle to the direction that the bed of your tile saw moves.) When you succeed in getting the two halves equal to within 1/32 or so, you can just confidently place each new tile against the fence and rip. You can even use the larger of the two halves from your practice piece.

Of course, in this case, the two edges of your tile will be different. (I.e., one is factory, one is cut.) Are you okay with that?

Here is a link that might be useful: Creating custom subways

    Bookmark   September 21, 2012 at 5:20PM
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Okay, here is an easy way to mark the center of a tile. Get one of those adjustable squares:

Set the width to approximately 5-3/4 to 5-7/8" (No need to be exact.) Hold the square against the tile edge, and make a mark with a pen or pencil. (I like a fine-pointed sharpie or a mechanical pencil.) Then move the square to the opposite edge of the tile and repeat this. You will have two lines that are quite close together. Regardless of how precisely you set the square, a point halfway between the two lines will be the exact center of the tile. If the lines are close enough together, you can easily judge that to within 1/32".

    Bookmark   September 21, 2012 at 5:27PM
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Hey Angie, but I should have 5/16s of waste, right? Using my formula above I will get two widths of X + my grout space of 5/16 to equal 11-13/16" (my tile length).

TL(Tile Length) = 2TW(Tile Width) + GLW(Grout Line Width)

I think you are posting as I am editing this post. So here you go.

    Bookmark   September 21, 2012 at 5:31PM
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You will also have a cut edge and a factory beveled edge. You will have to either bevel that cut edge, or you will have to do more cutting to cut off the factory edge and then cut to size.

    Bookmark   September 21, 2012 at 5:39PM
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I really like that tool! I guess I might have to get one of those, maybe DH has one in the shop. There is a TON of stuff in that shop! Stuff piled on the shelves. stuff stacked on the floors. Stuff hanging on the walls that his late DF collected at farm sales to while away his hours as a retired farmer. He loved his "antiques" & "junk".

I am going outside to cut a tile or two.

    Bookmark   September 21, 2012 at 5:43PM
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Thanks Live Wire, I will watch for that. I should have stated that I have gaged slate and the edges are straight sided, no bevels. I will post later about my success (or lack of).

    Bookmark   September 21, 2012 at 5:46PM
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Thanks Angie and LWO, I have done 12 sf of the slate and I have perfectly matched tiles. Yeah. I believe the grout joint will be 1/4". That is what I finally decided on. 5/16" seemed too big, and 3/16" was too small. So I have what I would say is 1/4" according to the tape measure. 40 more sf to cut.

    Bookmark   September 21, 2012 at 10:08PM
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Ooops, I made a math error. But you probably figured that out already.

Great news that you were able to cut them as you wanted!

    Bookmark   September 21, 2012 at 11:29PM
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