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How To Cut Tile and Manage Time (Video)


When you cut tile for an installation project, do you spend much time thinking about how you manage time?

If you're a professional, chances are that you constantly think about how to manage your time - aka time management. After all, your time is money.

How well you use that time affects how long it takes you to complete tile installations, the quality of your work, and how many client projects you can commit to.

This is true even when you cut tile.

How to Cut Tile & Manage Time

How You Cut Tile Takes Time

So let's go deeper on cutting tile.

Time management matters in the tile industry so installers can be more efficient and also do high-quality work. At the same time, it's an issue and it crops up repeatedly during the hands-on portion of the Certified Tile Installer program test.

In fact, it's such an issue that you'll find a full section on Time Management in the Become a Certified Tile Installer Training Videos!

>> See the Time Management Chapter Video (7 minutes)

As Scott Carothers explains in the video below, cutting tile is a staple of what tile installers do.  Installers have options for cutting tile and knowing which is most time-efficient is a big deal, especially in time-constrained situations.

Which Option for Cutting Tile is Better?

Given the following two instruments, which do you consider better from a time perspective for cutting tile:

  • A wet saw
  • A snap cutter

Both devices do the job.

Both have a cutting guide so you can make repetitive cuts.

1. The Wet Saw

To use a wet saw, you will want to get suited up with Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) like glasses and ear protection.

Once you cut the tile on the wet saw, you'll need to place it in a drying rack so it can air dry.

Or, you can take a cloth to dry the face of the tile. 

Ideally, you'll also need to wipe the back of the tile off to get that moisture away from the tile surface because that's a bond breaker.

Wet Saw Time Tally: 1 minute plus

As Scott demonstrates in the video below, cutting the tile, adding protective gear, and wiping down the tile takes about 30 seconds.

To use the wet saw, you need to leave your workstation (or CTI module during the test). That's approximately 15 seconds over to the wet saw, and 15 seconds back for a total of 30 seconds.

If there's a wait for the wet saw, that's more lost time standing in line.

2. The Snapper

The snap cutter, on the other hand, can be right next to you at your workstation. That means no back and forth away from your work.

Snapper Time Tally: 4 to 5 seconds

The snapper itself takes four to five seconds to cut the tile.

Do the Math on Cutting Tile

Take this example just a bit farther to the entire installation project.

In the one minute on the wet saw, you can cut 12 times as many tiles with the snap cutter without leaving your knees.

You're still at your work area where you're making your cuts and you've saved considerable time.

That's just one example that Scott shares with you in this Time Management #TileTip video:

How Do You Cut Tile?

As a tile installer, everything you do is about time management. If you can do your installation faster with equal or better quality, you're in a better position. That's true when cutting tile.

It shouldn't come as a surprise that the hands-on test for the Certified Tile Installer program places a great deal of attention on time management and how you plan out the various elements of your installation. 

>> See Grading the Toughest 25 Square Feet of Tile You'll Ever Install (Video)

What have you found helps you save time? Let us know in the comments.

Thanks for reading!

Learn More About Becoming a Certified Tile Installer Click Here to Download the CTI Kit. 


Note: We originally published this article on 05/19/2020 and have updated it.