How to Cut Tile Around Doorways

By Robert Sylvus

Large gaps between the cut edge of tile and a doorway make the entire tile job look amateurish. When a professional tile setter lays tile in a doorway, the cuts fit tight against the doorjamb. Tile cuts in a doorway typically have an L- or U-shaped appearance. The cut pieces of tile slide under the casing trim surrounding the wall sides of the doorjamb, the doorstop surrounding the inside of the doorjamb and the baseboard trim covering the walls.

List of Items Needed

  • Oscillating tool
  • 3-inch wood and metal flush cut blade
  • Handheld rotary tool
  • Diamond wheel accessory
  • Pencil
  • Carpenter's square
  • Safety glasses
  1. Cut the doorway's casing trim and doorstop trim 1/4 inch above the sub-floor with a oscillating tool equipped with a wood and metal flush cut blade. A 1/4-inch gap leaves enough room for the tile and its setting mortar to slide under the trim during installation.

  2. Lay out the cut on the tile's surface with a pencil and a carpenter's square, using the doorway as a guide.

  3. Put on safety glasses and set the tile on a solid surface.

  4. Score the tile's surface along the layout lines with a handheld rotary tool equipped with a diamond wheel accessory. Run the blade across the pencil marks until the blade cuts completely through the tile's glazed coating and starts to form a groove in the tile's ceramic or porcelain body.

  5. Cut completely through the tile at the center of each score mark, using back-and-forth cutting motions. Extend the cuts from the center of each score mark toward the corners and from the center toward the place where the score mark reaches the edge of the tile. The blade's round shape will not cut completely through the tile at each corner.

  6. Flip the tile over and place the tile's glazed side on the solid surface. Complete the corner cuts from the reverse side of the tile.

  7. Test-fit each cut piece of tile in the doorway. Trim the tile as needed.

Tips and Warnings

  • Use a tile cutting bit in the rotary tool to cut curves and intricate designs in the tile.
  • Wear protective eye gear when using power tools or cutting tile.
  • Wear a dust mask when cutting tile with a power tool.

© Demand Media 2011