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ARCHIE ADAMSEditor-in-Chief of the Handy Home Master
Decorative glass tile is a perfect idea that can add splashes of color into any interior, making it stylish and memorable. These tiles look equally impressive in kitchens and bathrooms, but what’s even more important, they are incredibly easy to clean. Still, no material is totally flawless — even glass tiles do have some disadvantages. While great in daily maintenance, installation — cutting in particular — can seem challenging at first.
Even though glass is durable when already installed, these tiles are very fragile when cutting or reshaping. Unless you’re cautious, lots of your gorgeous tiles may break. So, if you are thinking about glass tiles bathroom decor, and prefer not to hire professional contractors, find out how to cut glass tile all by yourself. Mainly, it all goes down to having the right tools and proceeding slowly, carefully.
Why Cutting Glass Tile Is Difficult: It’s All In The Coating
Cutting glass tile is more complicated than working with porcelain because glass is more fragile. So, it’s more likely to chip or break in the process. Besides, most of these tiles have a color coating on their back, and this coating is even more fragile than the glass itself. Finally, working with glass implies smoothing its edges after cutting, which is why it’s a delicate, time-consuming job. So, you can forget about your best table saw — glass requires a different approach. On the upside, some tools for glass tile cutting are quite affordable. Even if you do not have them in your toolbox, you may still purchase them without any significant damage to your pocket. As for pricier, professional tools, like wet saws, homeowners can simply rent them.
How To Cut Glass Tile With A Wet Saw and Where To Get One
When working with large glass tiles for showers or bathrooms, a wet saw is your best friend. Professional models cost around $1000; anything more or less decent —about $500. Still, wet saws are very specific tools, and unlike your best circular saw, it does not have that many uses for an average household. So, we do suggest renting a wet saw instead of buying it. The average rental cost for a day is $50, which is a way more practical and affordable solution.
Still, knowing how to cut glass tile with a wet saw is not always enough. We at HandyHomeMaster.com know for a fact that practice is king. So, we do recommend practicing on a couple of tiles first — this way, you’ll know just how much pressure is required. You may damage several tiles when just getting started, but eventually, you’ll get the knack for it. After all, this process is quite simple and goes down to just four easy steps:
- Use washable markers for cut lines. After cutting or even installation, you’ll easily remove all marker traces with a wet cloth/sponge and some soap.
- Wear rubber gloves and eye protection. Fabric or even leather soak all too quickly. As for eye protection, smaller particles of glass are quite dangerous. In fact, you may even think about wearing a full-scale mask when cutting glass.
- Start the wet saw and let it work for about 15 minutes. Just let the water run freely — this time is needed for the tool to warm up.
- Carefully feed a glass tile into the saw and cut along your marker line.
Wet saws come especially handy when working with kitchen glass tile that’s usually large and square. It’s also the quickest (not mentioning, the easiest) method, so if you think time’s money, consider renting this tool. Fifty bucks is not a high price to pay for saving yourself a world of trouble.
How To Cut Glass Tile With A Dremel Without Damaging Tiles
If you don’t want to rent or buy any pricey equipment, knowing how to cut glass tile with a Dremel offers a functional, affordable solution. This multifunctional tool helps with many different chores; besides, many households have it in their toolboxes already. The best saw horses will make this picture complete, but if you only have a Dremel, you’re still set to work with big and small glass tiles. The process is quite simple, especially if you have at least some basic experience with Dremel tools:
- Always wear a full mask — these tools rotate quickly, so DIY homeowners need to protect their face from glass chips and dust.
- Use a multi-purpose bit or a blade with a diamond; both work equally impressive, so choose whichever you’ve got at hand.
- Attentively mark the glass cut lines with washable markers.
- Set power mode between six and eight. That’s where prior practice comes in handy —it helps beginners figure out proper power mode and pressure that don’t damage any tiles.
- Cut at a 45-degree angle. Proceed carefully, not to damage the glass.
This process is quite simple for people who are familiar with Dremel tools but still requires some getting used to. So, practice first, if you don’t want to throw any broken glass tile away.
What to Do When Cutting Curves in Glass Tile
The above tools are quite perfect for square glass tile, but with smaller or more complex cutting jobs, homemakers must proceed even more carefully. Sure, knowing how to cut glass tile around electrical outlets is no brain surgery, but it still calls for extra attention. The same is true when working with round or figured shapes. As for the actual tools, both Dremel and wet saw are quite efficient. But, you’ll also need pliers and a rubbing stone to smoothen round glass tiles around their edges. The actual steps are as follows:
- Carefully measure and mark cut lines. Whenever possible, double-check all measurements before getting started.
- Make several straight cuts perpendicular to the marker line. Set them less than an inch apart; if done right, these cuts look like glass spikes near the cut line.
- Use pliers to snap off new cuts. Any affordable pliers will do — no need to go with pricey models.
- Polish the new cut with a rubbing stone. Work slowly and make sure to remove all rough edges, along with glass shavings.
Manually cutting and polishing glass is very slow and careful work, so don’t rush it. Work on each design separately — knowing how to cut glass tile on the mesh is very useful, but not in this case. Cutting glass backsplash tile for complex ornaments requires more stable backing.
Working With Mosaic Patterns: Get Mosaic Nippers Ready
One more question DIY-lovers ask is how to cut glass mosaic tile. Wet saws and Dremel tools are too big and too bulky for this job, so what you’ll need is a pair of nippers. Chances are, you already have them in your kit. If not, get one in any convenience store or online — nippers are very affordable. Budget models cost around $15-25, and there is absolutely no need to go overboard. As for the actual process, cutting glass mosaic tile follows the same simple steps.
- Mark your cutting line.
- Put some protective gear on.
- Squeeze the nippers and cut that line.
Glass tile kitchen mosaic looks impressive and adds a personal touch to most interiors. So, don’t feel like disregarding this remodeling option if you lack the tools. Nippers are way more affordable than any other professional equipment. Besides, they really alleviate the job (that’s already quite simple).
Extra Tools That Can Help With The Job
Aside from expensive wet saws, a couple of other useful tools can help with glass cutting. Both, however, presuppose manual, careful work. The good news is, they are glass-specific and very affordable. Homemaker’s first obvious choice is a scoring wheel. Prices on this one start at around $15, and you do not have to go looking for the most expensive one. Another useful tool is a bar cutter. It’s slightly more expensive, starting at $25. Pricier models come with measurement tools, and still, remain affordable.
The actual cutting logic is very similar: mark cut lines, and carefully use any of the above tools. The process is intuitive and straightforward, and you can easily buy these inexpensive wheels or bar-cutters even if you only going to use them once. Neither $15 nor even $25 is a sum to worry about, so consider getting these tools — they are simple but helpful.
That’s pretty much everything DIY lovers will need for a successful glass cutting job. Installation may be a bit challenging, but if you get that stage right, you’ll not regret it. Glass is a fanatic option for any modern interior. Besides, we at HandyHomeMaster.com, have done a little research and noticed that after installation, glass tiles are more durable than they look.
Have you ever tried cutting glass at home? Which of the above is the best way to cut glass tile, in your opinion? Which tools do you usually use, and which ones you would not recommend?
- 1 Why Cutting Glass Tile Is Difficult: It’s All In The Coating
- 2 How To Cut Glass Tile With A Wet Saw and Where To Get One
- 3 How To Cut Glass Tile With A Dremel Without Damaging Tiles
- 4 What to Do When Cutting Curves in Glass Tile
- 5 Working With Mosaic Patterns: Get Mosaic Nippers Ready
- 6 Extra Tools That Can Help With The Job
- 7 Conclusion