How to Cut Glass Tile

Installing glass tile can be tricky, but cutting it can be even trickier. People are always asking how to cut small glass tile without chipping it, cracking it, having the pieces fall into the wet saw trays groove or having it shoot out of their fingers when they cut it. From over the years of installing glass tile I have learned a few tricks. One of the most simplest is to make sure the smaller glass tile that are mesh mounted have a solid backing under it when you pushing it through the wet saw. Another thing you want to make sure you do is to have the glass tile held down so it doesn’t move around while cutting it.

Glass tile once wet on mesh sheets or paper backed glass tile sheets start to soften the glue, once that happens they start to fall off. Sometimes that isn’t a bad thing when you want to put them in one at a time, but can be annoying when trying to install a row of them mounted. In the first picture below you can see the wrong way and the trouble you will have by just sitting the glass tile sheet on the wet saw tray.  The glass tile once cut will drop down into the opening for the blade, it also chips when not supported 100% as it is being cut. If your wet saw has an adjustable head/motor you can raise it up and use a scrap piece of plywood to support the small glass tile.

In the rest of the pictures you can see my trick for cutting small glass tile with a mesh backing and trying to get a bunch very small pieces all the same size. I use a scrap ceramic tile or whatever field tile you are using on your tile project. I then blue tape the small glass tile securely to the backside of the ceramic tile. Then I make my cut mark on the tape and use blue painters tape since you can see through it and know right where the mark is on the glass tile. Then align up the mark to the blade on the wet saw and make the cut. The glass tile mesh barely gets wet but there is enough water on the blade to make a clean cut. After the cut I remove the tape to see my precise cuts that are dry and still attached to the mesh backing, ready to install into the modified thinset I am using to set the glass tile on the waterproofed shower mud floor.

Glass tile is becoming more popular in the areas like Tampa, St. Petersburg, Sarasota, Orlando, Clearwater, Brandon, Bradenton & other largely populated area’s in Florida and other U.S. cities with homes that are stylish and keeping up with current bathroom, kitchen & backsplash tile trends.  People are having glass tile installed in the bathroom on the walls as an accent band, as a deco, on shower floors, back splashes and in pools. I wouldn’t suggest a opaque or paper face mounted glass tile install for a DIY job, glass tile is tricky and there are certain rules you need to adhere to from the glass tile manufacturer. One being the use of a highly modified white thinset.  Some require a crack anti fracture membrane, while some will scratch with the use of a specific type of sanded grout. And by all means Do Not Use Mastic or Premixed Thinset.

You also want to make sure you use the proper sized notched trowel or you could ruin your glass tile install with too deep of a trowel and thinset coming up through the grout joints, or not deep enough of a trowel and the tile not adhering or bedding properly to the substrate and becoming loose and ruining the installation. I would highly suggest you read up on glass tile or find a tile contractor that is familiar with glass tile, it’s special installation requirements, has done a fair amount of glass tile installs and has references.

The glass tile used in this install was Hakatai TA810 M China Blend

If your looking for an estimate in Florida on a glass tile project you have coming up, please Contact Us for a Free Estimate.

17 responses to “How to Cut Glass Tile”

  1. I really appreciate you posting this blog. I was having a hard time cutting small pieces and couldn’t figure out how to hold them or stop them from chipping. Your method worked great. they was no was for me to hold down the small tile, I tried holding it with pliers and the tile still broke. Once I taped it down to a old scrap tile and cut them it worked great!
    thanks again 🙂

  2. amazing… I can’t stop reading your blogs, there is huge amount of information.
    Thanks for the wonderful website!

  3. I wish I had read your blog before I ruined quite a few glass tile. Thanks for the info, I can now finish my bathroom project with a little more confidence.

  4. Hi Sherry,

    this is why I like to write blogs so it can help people “trying” to do their tile or make customers understand why it’s good to hire a professional that understands glass tile is different then regular tile.

  5. Great blog! I just have a quick question for you (I see this was posted over a year ago) But I have just installed glass subway tiles in my shower and need to drill a hole to put up the rod for the shower door is there a specific bit that should be used? Also what do you recommend for temporarily marking glass tile (so I know exactly where to drill)

    Thanks for any suggestions you can give,

  6. Hi Dave,

    they make Glass Drill Bits for glass tile, a web search should show them or try a hardware store.
    as for the marking a Sharpie will do the trick.

  7. My husband and I are thinking of installing a glass tile backsplash in the kitchen. The tiles we like are a mosaic grouping on mesh, each tile being approx 1.4 in by 2 in. My husband thinks it won’t be necessary to get a wet saw to make the cuts we need because of the size of the tiles… Is he right; will a glass cutting tool do the job?

  8. you can probably do it with a glass cutting tool and glass nips.
    as long as you don’t need to make an “L” cuts.

  9. pre-mixed thinset or mastic doesn’t dry correctly behind the glass tile since air cant get to it. thinset mortar drys with hydration and doesn’t need air but does benefit from it. and mastic or premixed thinset shouldn’t be used in a wet area like a shower.

  10. Is there any way to polish or smooth the edge of a glass tile once it’s been cut? I am putting up a backsplash and the individual tiles are only .65″ x 1.85″. Some of the cuts I’ve made (just practicing) are not quite perfect. Can I polish them or at least gently round the edge?

  11. Hi Katie,
    It’s very hard to polish a cut piece of glass. They do make profile wheels that can bullnose then. Its better to buy a metal or plastic tile edge.

  12. I used on this project a slightly used MK Hot Dog blade for this glass tile.
    On more delicate glass tile I switch to a MK-215GL Glass Diamond Blade.

  13. The info on cutting small mesh mounted glass is invaluable. Can you use the same cutting method with a table mounted blade versus the overhead mounted blade you show in your photos?
    We are using a 5/8″ random stone and glass 12″X12″ mesh mounted tile. Is there something special I need to consider since the tile is a mix of stone and glass?

    Thanks in advance, Tom

  14. Hi Tom,

    its all in the blade and amount of water that hits the blade when cutting.
    Your mixed mosaic probably wont have a problem. The travertine will cut easy but you need to worry abut the glass tile if its a painted back. The back coloring might flake of when cutting and you could try cutting the sheets upside down to stop it.

  15. Thank you SO MUCH for this post! We have been racking our brains on how to cut our 1′ x 1′ mixed mosaic tile sheets (glass, travertine, other stone, etc.) for our back splash in our kitchen. Unfortunately, the directions with the tiles did not say to “avoid using premixed thinset”…how much of an issue will this create? The tiles themselves are extremely small (similar to what you show in your picture)…what kind of issues might we run up against? Again, it is a mix of glass and stone.

    Thanks for any info in advance!