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How to Tile Around Curve

Jen Anderson

In many tiling jobs, you will have to make your square tiles fit around a curve. This may seem like a difficult task, but with the correct tools, the task is straightforward and manageable. You can cut the tiles to fit into the curve and then lay the tiles as you would the rest of the tiles in your project.

Always wear eye protection when cutting tiles and wear respiratory protection if you are using a power tool.

  1. Lay a piece of paper on the surface around the curve. Mark and cut away the paper until it fits around the curve as the tile should.

  2. Lay out your tiles and then lay the piece of paper on top. With a pencil, mark the tiles around the edge of the paper curve.

  3. Cut away the extra tile, using the appropriate tool.

  4. For soft ceramic tile, use a hack saw with a rod saw blade. Hold the tile firmly in place with the parts to be cut away hanging over the edge of your work surface. Saw with gentle, steady strokes.

  5. For hard ceramic tiles, use a nibbling tool to cut away the excess tile. Take small bites with the nibbling tool since cutting away large pieces may shatter the tile.

  6. For stone, use a wet saw fitted with a diamond blade to make straight cuts around the edge of your curve. Set the wet saw on a worktable or on two sawhorses. Be sure to keep the saw's water supply filled as you work. The waterworks of different wet saws will work differently, so be sure to check your owner's manual. To make angled cuts, adjust the cutting fence to the correct angle, turn on the saw and slide the tile forward towards the blade. Be careful not to cut away more tile than intended. Tiles cut with a wet saw must dry completely before being laid.

  7. For all other tiles, use a rotary cutter. Lay each tile on top of two pieces of wood (like miniature sawhorses), with the parts to be cut away in the space between the wood. Turn on the rotary cutter and cut away the excess tile freehand.

  8. Dust off the tiles and lay them around the curve the same way you lay the rest of the tile.

  9. Tip

    If you only have a few tiles to cut, you may be able to use tile-cutting tools at your hardware or tile store instead of buying the tools.