How to Cut Glass Backsplash Tiles

Installing a glass tile backsplash can add a beautiful, modern touch to any kitchen. However, cutting glass tiles requires special tools and techniques to get clean, precise cuts without damaging the tiles. Here is a step-by-step guide on how to properly cut glass backsplash tiles for your project.

Gather the Necessary Materials

Cutting glass tiles is best done with a wet saw designed specifically for glass and tile. You’ll also need:

  • Glass cutting blade – Use a continuous rim diamond blade designed for cutting glass. This will provide smooth, chip-free cuts.
  • Water – The reservoir under the cutting tray should be filled with water to lubricate and cool the diamond blade.
  • Eye protection – Wear safety goggles to protect your eyes from flying chips and debris.
  • Ear protection – The whirring blade will be loud, so wear earmuffs or earplugs rated for noise reduction.
  • Gloves – Wear thick work gloves to protect your hands when handling the glass tiles and metal cutting table.
  • Respirator mask – Use a N95 respirator mask to avoid inhaling glass dust particles.

Prepare the Glass Tiles

Before cutting, inspect each tile for defects or cracks that could cause it to break during cutting. Also:

  • Clean the tiles thoroughly to remove any dirt, grease or grime.
  • Remove any backing mesh or paper from the glass tiles.
  • Dry the tiles completely so they don’t slip around on the wet saw cutting table.

Adjust the Blade Settings

Refer to the wet saw manual for proper blade settings. In general:

  • Set the blade depth just deeper than the thickness of the tile. For most glass backsplashes, a blade depth of 5/16″ to 3/8″ is sufficient.
  • Reduce the blade speed. For glass tiles, the ideal blade speed is around 2,500 RPM. Faster speeds can overheat the glass and cause cracks or chips.
  • Set the cutting table at a 20-30 degree diagonal angle to the blade to prevent chipping on the underside as the blade exits the cut.

Make Straight Cuts

  • Place the tile on the cutting table, lining up the desired cut line with the guide line on the table. Use squares or rulers as guides if needed.
  • Hold the tile firmly in place, putting gradual downward pressure as you slowly push it through the blade. Do not force or twist the tile.
  • Make gradual plunge cuts for holes or notches rather than trying to cut outbound from an interior cut.
  • For longer cuts, support the off-cut portion of the tile so it doesn’t vibrate or chip.
  • Check that cut edges are clean and smooth. Use a sharpening stone to lightly hone any small chips or rough spots if needed.

Make Curved, Angle Cuts

  • Draw the desired curved or angled cut line on the tile with a permanent marker.
  • Use a straightedge as a guide to follow the line as you slowly cut the tile, pivoting the tile rather than the saw.
  • For intricate curves, cut just outside the line then use a grinding stone bit in a rotary tool to refine the edge to your line.
  • Make relief cuts strategically on the waste side for tight curves rather than trying to cut the curve all at once.

Cut Holes

  • Mark the hole size and location on the tile.
  • Drill a 1/8″ pilot hole inside the marked area.
  • Using a tile nipper, nibble out the hole gradually making small bites around the perimeter.
  • Use a diamond pad in a rotary tool to smooth and refine the cut edges of the hole.
  • For a neater finish, make a series of straight plunge cuts in an X pattern from the pilot hole to the perimeter rather than nibbling.

Employ Safe Practices

Cutting glass tile can be dangerous if proper precautions are not taken:

  • Wear safety gear at all times – gloves, goggles, respirator mask, and ear protection.
  • Keep hands well clear of the blade. Use blade guards, holders, clamps or sticks to cut small tiles.
  • Never cut glass tile dry. The water lubricates the blade and keeps dangerous glass dust under control.
  • Work slowly and deliberately. Rushed cuts can crack tiles and lead to accidents.

With the right tools and techniques, you can get professional-looking cuts in glass tile for an elegant do-it-yourself backsplash project. Always focus on safety and precision when working with glass.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the best glass tile blades to use?

Continuous rim diamond blades designed specifically for cutting glass provide the smoothest, chip-free cuts. Brands like Alpha Professional Tools and MK Diamond Products make high quality glass tile saw blades.

Can I use my circular saw or angle grinder to cut glass tiles?

It’s not recommended. The fast spinning blades on standard power saws lack water lubrication and can easily chip and shatter glass tiles. Stick to a proper wet saw with a diamond glass blade.

How can I cut small or thin glass mosaic tiles?

Use glass tile nippers to nibble small detailed cuts. Or firmly secure mosaic sheets to a cutting board and run that through the wet saw. Remove backing mesh prior to cutting.

What speed should I cut glass tiles at?

Around 2,500 RPM is ideal. Cutting glass tile at the full speed of 4,000+ RPM of most tile saws will overheat the glass and cause cracks or chipping. Adjust your saw accordingly.

How do I smooth rough edges after cutting?

Use a diamond rubbing stone or sanding/grinding pad for glass to carefully smooth any small chips or uneven spots along cut edges. Take care not to over-grind or you can damage the tile.


Cutting glass backsplash tiles allows you to achieve custom shapes, intricate patterns and a seamless design. With some patience and the proper wet saw setup, glass tiles can be accurately cut without damage. Always wear protective gear, work slowly, and employ techniques like relief cuts or edge grinding when necessary. The result will be a stunning, professional-looking glass tile backsplash you can install with confidence.