Tile Cutter

Can I use an oscillating tool to cut tile?

The installation of shiny ceramic tiles is an important home improvement task that transforms the look and feel of any home. But this task can be a challenge if you lack the right tools for cutting and laying the tiles.

Most people find it easy when it comes to making straight cuts, but when it comes to cutting holes and curved cuts, that’s where the problem lies. In today’s lesson, we are going to tackle this issue, and at the end, you will know how to cut tile using an oscillating tool.

Oscillating tools are those tools which use its oscillating motion to finish any work. It’s working capability is vast, and it can’t create a comparison with any other power tools related to the woodworking and construction arena.

Cutting tiles in the construction sector is a skilful work that oscillating tool does it perfectly without any blunder. This tool creates up to 20000 strokes per minute which is called OPM(Oscillating per Minute) to make its operation successful.

​The oscillating tool uses these vibrations to sand, cut, scrape or polish a wide variety of materials. This principle of operation varies from that of rotary tools such as the drill. It applies a rotary motion movement in a fixed position.

Cutting tiles usually takes some time when you use manual tile cutting tools. The process takes a little longer since a tile cutter is not the only tool you will need but also more to trim and shape up your tile. What if you can’t provide all of these? You can use an oscillating tool instead to substitute all of them.

Tile cutting requires tile nipper, tile cutter, tile file, and even a driller sometimes. That would cost you a lot as compared when you are going to use an oscillating tool.

Without a tile cutter, the best remedy is to use an oscillating tool other than tools like a saw. What is necessarily required in making a perfectly cut tile is made possibly easy with an oscillating tool.

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Is It Possible To Cut Tile Using An Oscillating Tool?

Sure, the tool can be used for cutting tiles and is suitable for making small cuts on tile edges or cutting holes in the centre of the tiles. For some DIYers, an oscillating tool is among the best tools for cutting tile.

An oscillating multitool can replace a tile nipper (since it also works by cutting the tile edges to shape it) but cannot replace a manual tile cutter or a wet tile saw and other tile cutting tools.

However, there are some reasons you may want to add an oscillating tool to your tile cutting kit; they include:

Tile Cutter

For making both curve and intricate cut:

Sure, you can rely on a manual tile cutter, or a wet tile saw when it comes to making straight cuts on your tiles, you’ll also have to get other tools such as tile file, tile nipper and sometimes a driller to trim or shape up the tile.

But if you cannot provide all these tools to shape your tiles, simply switch to an oscillating tool.

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And the best part of it is that:

You can easily use the tool to file, trim or shape up your tiles and even make holes at the centre of your tile (which may be required when tackling some home improvement or remodelling tasks).

It delivers a more accurate result:

When it comes to cutting a tile with a tile cutter, you have to place the tile in the cutter manually and ensure that it is rightly and accurately positioned for you to make a precise cut. Even at that, you may not end up with the perfect result, and that’s where the tile nipper and file comes into play.

But when it comes to using an oscillating tool, you will not only be able to trim and shape up the tile but will also be able to see where you intend to cut so you can direct your tool’s blade to make an accurate cut.

You can also use the tool to make curve cuts or holes in the centre of the tile, a task you cannot achieve using a tile cutter or tile nipper.

More affordable:

Using an oscillating tool is a more reasonable and affordable alternative when compared with the function and the cost of getting a tile nipper, and all other required tools. An oscillating tool can be used to tackle other jobs such as sanding, scraping, polishing and cutting different materials such as drywall, wood, fibreglass and much more.

Having considered the importance of adding an oscillating tool to your tile cutting kit, let’s now see how you can cut tile with an oscillating tool.

How an Oscillating Tool Works

An oscillating tool works in a side to side motion. The oscillation angle is between 2 and 4 degrees and moves very rapidly – at roughly 20,000 strokes a minute. The machine feels like it is vibrating due to this fast movement.

An oscillating tool vibrates its blade in an arc and therefore doesn’t kick up very much dust, unlike a rotary tool, jigsaw, or reciprocating saw. By using the right accessories, an oscillating tool can become one of the most effective and useful tools in your garage. There are many cordless oscillating tools, but best corded oscillating tools are too available in the market. 

Choosing the Ideal Blade

When you cut a tile with a tile cutter, you have to manually place the tile in the cutter and check that it is positioned correctly so that you cut it to the perfect shape and size. Even when you take meticulous care to do so, you are not always guaranteed an ideal outcome, which is where a tile nipper and file come in handy.

However, with an oscillating tool, you use blades the accurately show you where the tile will be cut, which means you can cut your tiles accurately every time. And, even if you don’t get it right the first time, the oscillating tool can then be used as a tile nipper to handle the job.

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Use a Tile Scrap

Oscillating tools move according to the blade you install. There is a wide selection of blades to choose from, and you can cut many different items using an oscillating tool, including pipes and cutting metals. By using just one tool to cut tiles, you are making your job much simpler.

And to guarantee perfectly sized tiles when using an oscillating tool, you should use a tile scrap as your basis. Place the tile you want to cut under the tile scrap, and the oscillating tool will trace around the tile scrap, which will result in a perfect duplicate.

Use the Oscillating Tool as a Tile File

Similarly to filing your fingernails, tiles need to be filed in order to emphasize their shape. Tile files also work to make sure that no small fragments are left on the edges of your tile so you can properly place it when applied. If you don’t have a tile file, you can also use your oscillating tool as one.

An oscillating tool is a multipurpose tool, which means that you can use it to complete the entire tile cutting process. And as you improve your skills with your oscillating tool, there are many ways to use it.

Why Use an Oscillating Tool to Cut Tile

Cutting tiles by hand doesn’t only take a lot of time, but it also requires more energy and money than using an oscillating tool. Buying two or more items of equipment to cut tiles is impractical when you can use one tool instead.

Manual tools are normally considered a lot safer than power tools. Still, machinery like an oscillating tool provides you with a great deal more convenience as well as a cost-effective and time-saving solution.

How To Cut Tile With An Oscillating Tool – Step By Step Guide

1 – Outline the cutout area

You have to measure and mark the area that you intend to cut before you cut the tiles. You can mark your outline using a pencil and a ruler.

If you have glossy tiles, using a pencil or pen may not work, and your best bet is to use a permanent marker.

2 – Fix the right blade

Pick up your oscillating tool and install a ceramic cutting blade. You can use the carbide blades for soft tiles and diamond blades for tougher ones.

3 – Put on your safety gears

Cutting tiles produce a lot of mess, so you have to protect yourself, especially your eyes from the chipping tile and your nose from inhaling the dust. So you have to put on your safety goggles, earplugs, and a respirator.

4 – Check if the tool is working properly

Plugin your multitool cord to the main power socket (if you are using a corded tool). Power on your tool and see if it is in a good working condition.

5 – Cut the tile

If you are cutting a wall tile, slowly make a plunge cut along the marked area. If you are, however cutting a spare tile, it is better to place it on your workbench and cut slowly along your marked area while holding the tile firmly to achieve the best result.

Proceed little by little (repeating the process to score into the front side of the tile), and stop along the way to clean off the dust till you finished cutting your marked area.

If your tool only scores your outlined area on your tile, gently knock it off to achieve a perfect cut.

Note that you can pour cooling oil over the tile, especially in the area you outlined to prevent the blade from overheating while cutting the tiles.

How to cut tile without a tile cutter?

If you are not cutting tiles to retail to home depot stores, I am very certain you don’t own the proper tools to cut tiles. Assuming you are just a homeowner beautifying your own house, you are better off using an oscillating tool in cutting tiles.

In cutting a tile with a tile cutter, you manually put the tile in the cutter, and you have to make sure you are positioning it accurately to produce the perfect size and shape. Even when you do that, you are not guaranteed with a perfect outcome, and that is when the nipper comes in to help. With an oscillating tool, using blades that would accurately show where your cut will go will make it easy for you to make a perfect cut tile. In case you don’t get it the first time, the oscillating tool will also replace your tile nipper’s job and handle it alone.

Make use of a Tile Scrape

Oscillating tool moves according to the blade you will install. With the wide selection of blades, you can use, you can even cut through a pipe. Imagine how easier cutting a tile would be. To guarantee perfectly sized tiles, you can make use of tile scrapes to be your basis.

Put the tile you will cut below your base tile, and then the oscillating tool will trace its way around the scrap of tile you used resulting to the perfect duplicate of your scrap tile. As your blade digs into the tile as a tile drill too, you will notice how perfectly lined it moves. The power of the oscillating tool does not stop there. But it all depends on the blade purpose whether your job is accurate.

Use it as a Tile File

As if you are filing your nails, tiles also need filing to emphasize its shape. Also, tile files work to ensure that no fragments are left around your tile so it can be properly used when applied. Say you don’t have a tile file. You can also use the oscillating tool to do its job.

How so? Also, choose the oscillating diamond blade. As implied, the oscillating tool works in more ways than one; that is why it is called a multipurpose tool.

So, you see. An oscillating tool can provide just whatever you need to cut tiles, shape them, and even file them. As long as you are an expert in using this tool, there are limitless ways to maximize the benefit you can get from it.

Cutting tiles the usual way will take too much not only of your time but also of your energy and money. Buying two or more equipment for a job that can be done with one would not be practical. Isn’t it?

Many ways are provided for people to use freely. Some are there to focus on minimizing time, cost, and energy primarily. Some are also preferred because it is safer to use.

Note: Read about best tile grout removal tools

Using manual tools may provide more safety than tools that are electronic. But tools like an oscillating tool will provide you with more convenience and save you time and cost.

This is just the guideline on how to cut a tile with an oscillating tool. An oscillating tool, however, can make your life much easier in more ways than this. It is reliable, it is very smooth in performance, and you can use it with your crafting hobbies when you have time to spare.

If I were you, I would choose this over another multipurpose tool around. It is proven effective. And it is dying to meet you.

Cutting a Duplicated Tile Scrap

The oscillating tool has a wide selection of accessories and blades that can help you to complete your home improvement task with ease. If you want to customize your tile sizes, shapes or duplicate a tile scrap, an oscillating tool can help you achieve this.

To duplicate a tile scrap or shape, place the tile you intend to cut on the floor or your workbench and place the tile scrap that you wish to duplicate on it.

Bring out your oscillating tool, power it on, and use it to trace around this scrap of tile to cut its shape into the piece of tile you placed under the scrap.

Make sure you cut slowly and repeat the cut while holding the scrap down to the piece you intend to cut. In the end, you will get a perfect duplicate of the scrap of the tile you used.

Using The Oscillating Tool As A Tile File

As you file your nails to emphasize its shape, tiles also need to be filed to remove their sharp edges.

Apart from emphasizing the tile shape, filing your tiles will also help to ensure that the fragments around your tiles are removed so it can fit in properly when used. Normally, you would want to get a tile file to file your tiles, but an oscillating tool can also handle this job effectively.

Just install your sanding pad or carbide rasp and quickly sand your tile edges while holding it firmly in your hand. This will help to remove the sharp edges and make your tiles easy to install.

If you are looking for the best oscillating tool to buy for your tile cutting jobs, this top-rated oscillating tool comparison will help you make an informed choice.

If you don’t own an oscillating multitool, buy one, and you’ll wonder how you got along without it. It’s a saw, scraper, sander, and grinder in one handy power tool. It not only does those jobs, but it also does them in inaccessible places, speeding difficult jobs to completion in the process. And the variety of attachments for these tools keeps growing, allowing even more versatility, especially among different materials: steel, aluminium, carpet, hard tile, soft tile, hardwood, softwood, and various plastics.

I hope this article has successfully opened your eyes to the ways in which you can cut tile with an oscillating tool? As you can see, an oscillating tool has whatever you need to cut your tiles, shape and file them.

You can also use the tool to tackle other home improvement projects like cutting drywall, cutting and sanding wood surfaces, remove old paint, prepare your walls for painting, grout removal, crafting and many more.

Invest in this tool today, and take your profession, crafting hobby or home improvement project and remodelling activities to the next level.

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