When it is time to cut the tiles around the toilet, it can cause a feeling of anxiousness. Who wants to get it wrong, afterall? However, did you know it is actually much easier than you think, you just need the right tools and the know-how.
The difficult part is cutting around curves, but when you have done it once it will become easy peasy. Follow this guide to master cutting tiles around a toilet with a professional finish.
Tools You May Need (Some Are written For An Alternative DIY Method)
- Pencil and a marker pen
- Construction paper or tracing paper
- Manual tile cutter (handy if you want to tile lots of rooms)
- Tile scribe
- Tile nipper
- Fine sandpaper
Let’s Start With The Flange
The first step you need to take when cutting tiles is to remove the toilet. You will then want to tile around the area of the toilet flange. This is the bit that connects your toilet to the sewer pipe – a very crucial job!
Once this area is tiled and the toilet is fitted back on, it will create a seamless and professional looking base.
So, now you know that it is important to get down to the flange area, you can start prepping those tiles.
The Problems With Not Removing The Toilet
When cutting tiles try not to cut corners by not removing the toilet. Instead remove the toilet so you can tile properly. Even though there is a way to cut tiles without moving the toilet, it is always recommended to do so – unless you really cannot get that toilet to budge.
Most of the time, by not removing the toilet first can create a lot more work to do. If you are already unsure of how to do curved cuts on the tile, well, keeping the toilet in place will only mean cutting more curved tile.
You will also need to use grout or silicone caulk to create a seamless bond between tile and toilet base.
Even though this does not look bad, it means that if you come to replace the toilet in the future, you will need one that has the exact same base shape. That means you cannot change to a square toilet if you had a circle base, for example.
Even the same shaped toilet can be smaller in size. It just is not worth the hassle!
Also, over time the toilet seal will likely need to be replaced. Even though you may have time to do this, if you just tile with the toilet removed, you will not even have to consider doing this in the future.
Before You Start
Make sure any of the tiling in the rest of the bathroom is complete and fully dry. If they are not, you risk ruining them during this process.
Below you will find two different, but easy, methods of tiling. One is around the toilet and the other is around the flange. Both can be adapted.
Cutting The Tiles Around A Toilet – Straight Line
Measure out the width of tile that you need and mark where that is on the tile.
Placing the tile glossy side down on the tile cutter bed, firmly press the scoring wheel until a straight line has scored upon the tile.
Lift the handle whilst applying pressure on the score line at one of the ends – but refer to the instructions of the manual tile cutter for reference. If it has scored properly, the tile will snap. If there are rough edges, sand them down.
That’s it when it comes to the cutting, the next step is to apply the tile around the toilet.
Alternative DIY Method To Cut Around The Flange
Cut a piece of tracing paper or construction paper the same size as your tile, and then cut several 5-10 mm slits the length of the part of the tile that comes into contact with the flange.
Fold the slits back that come in contact with the flange and using a pencil or marker, trace around the curve. Remove the paper and this is the tile size. Cut along the line you have just made.
Place the paper back into position to make sure it fits correctly. If correct, trace the outline of the paper onto the tile.
Using a tile scribe, etch into the tile line you drew causing a scratch so it is more likely to cut cleaner once removed.
Using a tile nipper, carely take off small bits of tile, one-by-one. Keep doing this until you reach the line.
Once there, use very fine sandpaper to make it smooth. Now all you need to do is place the tile where it will go and make sure it fits.
Avoiding Common Problems When Cutting Tiles
When it comes to ceramic tiles, they can be extremely fragile. As a novice, you may lose a few during the cutting process, so you may want to buy more than you originally planned to. However, there are a number of things you can do to avoid this happening.
Keep up with the maintenance of your tools making sure they are sharp and in working order. If you need to replace parts of them, do it, otherwise cutting tiles may become a struggle.
Investing in good equipment will help the tiles to cut better. If you plan to do it on a regular basis, then a wet saw will be a good option when cutting curves. Avoid anything like manual saws and keep cheap cutters to a one-off only – they also make cutting tiles take longer.
There are many ways to cut tiles depending on your initial experience with tools and what you have to hand. It is always best to remove the toilet, but if you cannot, there are ways to make it look professional – just there is more work to do.
It does not have to be a difficult thing to master. With the right tools and the knowledge, you will be tiling your friends’ bathrooms too!