How to Cut Ceramic Tile that is Already Installed

Many people prefer installing ceramic tile because of its beautiful and durable surface characterized by a long service life. After years of installation, it may be necessary that a portion of it should be removed while the remaining tile is preserved. As a do-it-yourselfer, it’s something you can attempt, but you may not be guaranteed a perfect result since experts may even end up making errors in their cut.

Notwithstanding, it’s important that you equip yourself with the right knowledge of cutting already installed ceramic tile to prevent cracking it. Remember that to achieve a flawless process, you need good preparation and the appropriate tools since different tiles may require special cutting skills.

So, how do you cut ceramic tile that is already installed? What you need to do include clearing and carving out the area, putting on your protective gear, using an angle grinder and a Dremel tile cutting bit, and cleaning the area.

How to Cut Ceramic Tile that is Already Installed

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Steps to Cut Already Installed Ceramic Tiles

Since you’re here to learn how to cut ceramic tile already installed without much ado, let’s get right into it. But before moving into the steps, you need to know that by adhering to the proper measures, you can efficiently cut through the tiles without cracking or spoiling them. Check out the steps to cut already installed ceramic tiles.

Step 1: Clear the Area

Ensure you take all the items that may obstruct the process out in the area and stop other people from stepping into the room. To restrain people from entering, you can use tape. Also, the place must be properly ventilated (you can use a fan here) to prevent the dust from affecting your airways.

Step 2: Carve the Area out

To mark the area that needs cutting, you need to use a grease pencil and a straight edge. Make sure you mark the area clearly and boldly because the dust may cover the line of sight from cutting the tile. Besides, the mark can help distinguish the work area for good direction and drilling precision.

Step 3: Put on a protection gear

To keep yourself safe while working, use protective gear to serve the function. Also, position the fan well to blow the dust towards the open window. You should know that the place can be blurred out by too much dust, which could affect the drilling process.

Step 4: Use Partners

Here, getting help can be advised. This is because the job will turn tasking at this stage. Roles can be assigned: one person will help with the cutting, and another person will help by vacuuming and wetting the area to contain the silicate that goes airborne. By squirting water, you can control the dust and make the air breathable.

Step 5: Use an Angle Grinder

You can start the cutting process with an angle grinder. If the area is curved, make straight and small cuts. If cleaning up the curve is needed, you can use a tile file or Dremel tool to smoothen it out.

Step 6: Use a Dremel Tile

It’s not advisable to use the grinder if the area to cut is closer to the wall. So, a Dremel tile–cutting bit will be the right equipment choice as it will help with a much more effortless cutting of the narrow areas. As the Dremel isn’t designed for moisture, only your vacuum should work at this point. In addition, ensure the electrical cables are kept away from water to prevent hazards.

Step 7: Clean the Area Up

Before taking your respirator off, vacuum the entire area using a shop vac after the cutting process. Since the dust may still be in the air after vacuuming the area, make sure you leave the fan on and in its position. You should also use a wet rag to wipe the room through and then put off the respirator. Striping should be immediate in order not to take the remains of the silicate to other places.

Tips on Cutting through Installed Ceramic Tiles

You’re expected to avoid certain things when working on ceramic tile that is already installed. These include:

  • Ensure the temperature of the drill is kept under control.
  • Don’t forget to put on your respirator.
  • Ensure the area is well-ventilated.
  • Restain children from getting into the working area.
  • Handle the process slowly to avoid breaking the tiles.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Check below some of the frequently asked questions about cutting ceramic tile that is already installed. Please, review them with their answers for further knowledge.

Can you cut tile without breaking it?

You may end up cracking, breaking, or fragmenting the tiles if you’re not careful while working on them. This is because of their fragile and compressed nature. So, to keep them from cracking, ensure you use a diamond wet saw or a score-and-snap tile cutter.

How to cut installed tile by hand

It’s possible to cut your installed tile by hand. To do this, mark the area to cut, put a square slightly on the tile away from the mark, score the tile on the cut line by using a glass cutter, and then put the tile on a solid surface. Also, put a wire clothes hanger under the tile, which should be aligned with the score mark.

What saw blade is good to cut ceramic tile?

A diamond-tipped and smooth-edged blade that has no notches or serration is the best blade type that can effectively work with an angle grinder during the cutting process. You should know that serrated blades are perfect for natural stones and notched blades are for porcelain.

Can you cut tiles with a jigsaw?

Yes, you can cut tiles with a jigsaw. In fact, it can do the job safely and cleanly.

Do you cut tile face up or down?

The most suitable method of cutting ceramic tile is to have its front facing up. The front side will be exposed the moment you lay the tile. With the least amount of chipping, cutting ceramic tile facing up ensures the smoothest finished edge on the tile.


With the right information, you can easily cut ceramic tile that is already installed. By following the steps provided in the content, you will efficiently avoid cracking or breaking the tiles while working on them.

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