Tiling Guides Tools and Equipment

Tools You Need When Tiling

Several of the tools you might need when tiling can be found in the most basic of tool kits, but there are also a whole range of specialist tools which you will need to consider buying if you haven’t done any tiling in the past.

Chinagraph Pencil

Used for marking tiles to be cut. You can use a normal pencil, but a chinagraph pencil will create a clearer mark. You should never use a felt pen to mark on the back of tiles as the ink can penetrate the back of the tile and actually show through the glaze.

Tile Saw

Tile saws usually consist of a multi-directional tungsten blade, set into a deep metal frame. The blade is round, like a rod, and toothed all the way around. This allows for sharp changes of direction and helps to make cutting accurate slots in tiles easier. The deep frame allows you to cut right through a tile without being obstructed by the part of the frame parallel to the blade.

Tile Scorer

Tile Scorers come in a variety of styles, but usually consisting of a short handle and a hardened cutting tip or blade. You can buy scorers which combine a blade and a set of jaws to break the tile after it is scored. If you have a lot of tiles to cut, or if using thick tiles (up to about 10mm), it is worth buying, hiring or borrowing a Platform Tile Cutter.

Platform Tile Cutter

Modern ceramic tiles are much stronger than they were in the past. As such, you might find that cutting them safely and accurately is a problem if just using the traditional score and snap method. A platform tile cutter allows you to score and cut the tile in a much more controlled way. The lever with which you pull the blade can be used to exert varying degrees of pressure on the tile.

Tile File

Used to shaping or smoothing the edges of cut tiles. Useful if you have to remove a very small amount from the edge of a tile.

Tile Nibbler

Mainly used to remove very narrow strips from the edge of a tile. You will need to score the tile first, and then use the Tile Nibbler to carefully snap of slivers from the edge. Tile nibblers can also be useful for cutting individual mosaic tiles.

Tiling Gauge

A straight piece of wood marked to show the size of your tiles and used to help you work out where the tiles should start and finish on a wall. You will need to make a new tiling gauge each tile you start a different tiling job, unless the tiles are exactly the same size.

Tile Spacers

These simple plastic X’s are essential to getting a good finish on your tiling project. Spacers, as the name suggests, are used to create even space between each tile. They are available in a variety of sizes for different tiling applications (wall tiles, floor tiles, etc).

Adhesive Spreader

A notched, plastic blade used for applying tile adhesive to the wall. The notches create ridges of adhesive which are compressed when the tile is applied, helping to avoid the problem of too much or too little adhesive. You can also get adhesive spreaders which have a straight rubber blade on the back which is used for grouting.


Not essential, but useful for cleaning up excess grout and for applying small sections of grout between the tiles. Most tubs of grout now include a flexible rubber blade for application.