Can You Cut Tiles With A Jigsaw? (Step-by-Step Guide)

Last Updated on August 28, 2022 by Barry Gray

Any tiling project from tiny to large will inevitably entail some cutting work. Ceramic, porcelain, or glass tiles can easily break or crack. They can be cut with a jigsaw, provided you have the appropriate abrasive blades for the specific type of tile. 

It is possible to cut ceramic, porcelain, glass, slate, or stone tiles with a jigsaw. A carbide or diamond edge blade can cut tiles safely. They use a grinding action, unlike saw-blades with sharp teeth using a chiseling approach. Use a jigsaw for small-scale, intricate tile cutting jobs.

Tiles are brittle and expensive. If you need large amounts of straight cuts, other power tools are better suited. But for handheld ease and convenience on smaller projects, nothing beats a jigsaw with carbide or diamond-grit blades. It is essential to use these correctly to ensure precise and clean cuts.

Cut Tiles With A Jigsaw

How To Cut Tiles Using A Jigsaw

Firstly, make sure you have a few extra carbide or diamond-grit blades at hand. Cutting tiles will dull the saw-blades quite fast. Wear safety gear, glasses, a face shield, and a dust mask. It is best to work outside as plenty of fine dust will be created. Apart from the jigsaw and blades, you will also need the following items:

  • Clamps
  • Wooden blocks
  • Workbench, or two saw-horses
  • Dust mask
  • Safety glasses and a vizor
  • Pencil or marking tool
  • Squirt bottle for water or cutting oil
  • Masking tape

Mark the line for cutting with a grease pencil, or use an ordinary pencil line and make it more visible by putting masking tape on the inside of the line. Be sure to use a square and measuring tape for accuracy. Number the tile if it has to fit in a specific sequence.

Clamp the tile securely to a table using wooden blocks. Make sure you clamp it in such a way that the cutting line is close to the table but with enough space for the blade to move through.

Have a water bottle handy before turning on the jigsaw. You will be feeding a bit of water while cutting to keep the blade cool. Squirt some water onto the tile before starting the cut.

Switch the jigsaw on and keep the blade straight. Now glide the running jigsaw onto the tile where you marked the starting point. Move the cutter slowly and smoothly along the marked line, squirting a bit of water as you progress. Keep the jigsaw foot flat on the tile. Have a look at how to handle the water bottle while cutting tiles in this Youtube video.

How To Do Interior Cuts On Tiles With A Jigsaw

Interior Cuts On Tiles With A Jigsaw

If your design has sharp bends or an area that needs to be cut out on the inside of a tile, you will need to drill some guiding holes first. Use drill bits with carbide or diamond-grit tips. Use water while cutting to keep the blade from overheating.

  1. Draw the cutting lines onto the tile. Mark the position of the guiding holes so that the holes will be in the waste side of your tile. 
  2. You will need to mark holes on each corner for a rectangular cutout.
  3. Make sure that all the holes are big enough to allow the width of the jigsaw blade.
  4. Clamp the tile securely before cutting.
  5. Drill the starter hole and guiding holes.
  6. Squirt a bit of water onto the tile. Position the jigsaw blade on the inside of the starting hole. Switch the jigsaw on and guide it along the line while keeping the foot part flat on the tile.
  7. Let the blade do the cutting without undue pushing and forcing.

Can You Cut Curves In Tiles With A Jigsaw?

Curves can easily be cut with a jigsaw, provided you use shorter, thinner blades with carbide or diamond tips. The process of marking and cutting is the same as above. Stay focused on guiding the saw-blade along the lines you marked out. Intricate designs combining straight and curved lines can be done by drilling guiding holes first.

The Best Jigsaw Blades For Cutting Tiles

Armed with the correct jigsaw blade, you can cut through different tile materials that vary in degrees of hardness and brittleness. Jigsaw blades are roughly 3 to 5¼ inches thick. Do not cut tiles thicker than half an inch with a jigsaw.

The Best Jigsaw Blades For Cutting Porcelain And Ceramic Tiles

Porcelain is a harder material than ceramic. You will need a diamond blade that is marked as ultra-hard. Ordinary diamond-grid tips will not be strong enough. There are jigsaw blades available that are designed specifically for cutting porcelain.

Ceramic tiles can be cut with carbide or diamond-tip blades labeled as ultra-hard. Jigsaw blades marked specifically for ceramic are available.

The Best Jigsaw Blades For Cutting Glass Tiles

Glass tiles are more fragile than porcelain and ceramic. It can break and chip very easily. Jigsaw blades explicitly designed for glass are the only option. These have ultra-fine grit on the blades to avoid chipping. It would be best to use masonry or a professional wet tile saw for larger-scale projects.

The Best Jigsaw Blades For Cutting Granite Tiles

Cutting granite tiles with a jigsaw can be a dangerous operation. It is essential to use a jigsaw blade specifically designed for granite when cutting granite. Remember that it is not advised to cut granite tiles thicker than ½ an inch with a jigsaw. Do not inhale granite dust or allow it to make contact with your skin. Consider instead using an angle grinder or a masonry saw.

Where To Buy Tile Cutting Jigsaw Blades Online

Special jigsaw blades for cutting tiles are widely available online. Amazon, Walmart, and eBay have a wide variety of jigsaw bits available. The brands of jigsaw blades that come highly recommended are Diablo, Irwin, and Bosch.

Tips For Cutting Tiles With A Jigsaw

Safety Tips For Cutting Tiles With A Jigsaw

Any power tool should be handled respectfully to avoid accidents and injuries. Always work with these safety considerations on your mind.

  • Wear protective gear even if you do not feel like it.
  • Always clamp the tile before cutting.
  • Make sure to switch the jigsaw on before connecting the blade to the tile. 
  • It is crucial to unplug a jigsaw that is not being used.
  • Wear gloves, especially when working with glass tiles.

Conclusion

Jigsaws offer a lightweight and easy way to quickly cut tiles made of various materials. Buying the correct blade for a specific job is the key to a successful project.

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Barry Gray

Hi, I’m Barry. I’ve loved woodworking and bringing things back to life for more years than I care to remember. I hope my passion for tools comes across loud and clear in everything you read here on The Tool Square.

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