How to Cut Glass Tile Backsplash with Wet Saw

Installing a glass tile backsplash can add a beautiful, modern touch to any kitchen. Glass tiles create a glossy, elegant look, but they can be tricky to cut and install. Using a wet saw is the best method for accurately cutting glass tile to fit your backsplash design. With some careful planning and the right tools, you can create a stunning glass tile backsplash in your kitchen.

What You’ll Need

  • Glass tile sheets – Choose smaller mosaic tiles or larger subway tiles in your desired color and style. Glass tiles for backsplashes are commonly 1/4″ thick.
  • Wet saw – A tile saw with a water reservoir to keep the glass tile cool while cutting. The water prevents overheating and cracking.
  • Diamond blade – Designed specifically for cutting glass. Ensure the blade diameter matches your saw.
  • Eye protection – Safety glasses to prevent eye injury from water and debris.
  • Ear protection – Glass tile cutting can be loud. Wear earmuffs or plugs.
  • Dust mask – Glass tile dust is harmful to breathe. Wear an N95 mask.
  • Gloves – Protect your hands from sharp tile edges. Opt for rubber gloves.
  • Tile adhesive – Choose an adhesive suitable for glass tile and your wall type.
  • Grout – Pick an unsanded grout for a smooth finish with glass tile.
  • Grout sealer – Seals the grout and prevents staining.
  • Tile spacers – Keep proper spacing between tiles for even grout lines.
  • Trowel and float – For spreading the adhesive on the wall.
  • Grout float – For applying and finishing the grout between tiles.

How to Cut the Tiles

1. Mark the measurements. Lay out your tile sheets and use a pencil to mark the cuts needed according to your design. Account for uneven walls and edges.

2. Adjust the saw settings. Set the blade depth so it just cuts through the tile. Position the fence to support the tile while cutting.

3. Feed the tile slowly. Put on all safety gear. With water running over the blade, hold the tile firmly and feed it through the saw at a steady pace.

4. Make precision cuts. For intricate cuts like L-shapes, notch the tile from both sides for clean corners. Use the fence as a guide.

5. Smooth the edges. File any rough edges with a carbide sandpaper block. Bevel the cut edges slightly to help adhesion.

6. Dry and inspect the tiles. Wipe tiles dry with a clean cloth and inspect for any cracks or chips before installing.

How to Install the Glass Tile Backsplash

1. Prepare the wall surface. Clean and dry the wall area thoroughly. Seal porous drywall with primer. Apply any needed wall leveling for a flat surface.

2. Spread the thinset adhesive. Use a notch trowel to spread a thin layer of adhesive on the installation area. Apply only enough that remains sticky to the touch.

3. Set the tiles. Place the glass tiles firmly into the adhesive with light pressure. Use spacers between tiles for consistency.

4. Check alignments. As you go, verify the tiles are evenly spaced and aligned. Adjust as needed before the adhesive dries.

5. Allow the adhesive to cure. Let the tiles set undisturbed for at least 24 hours. Refer to adhesive instructions for exact time.

6. Mix and apply the grout. Prepare unsanded grout with a latex additive for flexibility. Spread over the tiles and fill all gaps.

7. Clean excess grout. Wipe away any grout on the tile surface before it dries using a damp sponge in a circular motion. Rinse the sponge frequently.

8. Seal the grout. Once dry, apply grout sealer to the grout lines following the product directions. Allow time to cure completely.

9. Polish and seal tiles. Use a soft cloth to polish the tile and enhance shine. Apply a quality glass tile sealer for added protection.

FAQs About Cutting Glass Tiles

What are the best glass tiles for backsplashes?
Clear, frosted, or iridescent glass tiles in smaller mosaics or 3×6 subway sizes are popular. Textured glass tiles add visual interest. Choose a thickness of 1/4″ or higher.

How do I make angled or hole cuts in glass tile?
Use a tile nipper for small angled cuts up to 1/4″. For larger holes or curves, drill a pilot hole and work up to the desired size with the nipper. File the edges smooth.

What causes chipping on the cut edges of glass tile?
Feeding too quickly through the saw, using a dull blade, or pressing too hard can lead to chips and cracks. Slow, steady passes with the proper blade reduces chipping.

Should I use oil or water with the wet saw when cutting glass?
Always use water. Oil can stain the tiles. The water keeps the tile temperature cool to help prevent cracking during cutting.

What can I do about rough glass tile cuts from the saw?
Rough edges can be smoothed using a fine grit diamond sanding pad or carbide sandpaper block. Bevel the edges slightly so they won’t be as noticeable when installed.


Installing a glass tile backsplash is an intermediate DIY project that can take your kitchen from basic to beautiful. With careful planning, precision cutting, and attention to detail when setting the tile, you can achieve stunning results. A glass tile backsplash adds a touch of luxury and modern elegance. Just take it slow and steady. Don’t force cuts and allow adequate drying time. Use the proper materials and tools, like a quality wet saw with a diamond glass blade, to make the job much easier. With some patience and persistence, your new glass tile backsplash can be a focal point you’ll enjoy for years.