notch a ceramic tileCeramic tile work is like putting together a jigsaw puzzle one piece at a time…and it is straightforward until you get to an obstruction. This happens a lot when tiling a shower wall. You will tiling away and then run into a shower valve handle sticking out of the wall. So, you have to go around this by notching the tile. That is fancy talk for cutting a section out of the tile. This will be hidden by the escutcheon plate for the handle.

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The key is to make the notch big enough that it fits around the penetration, but not so big that it can’t covered by the escutcheon.

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The best tool for this is a wet saw. Before you cut, you can lay out the markings on the tile. You can hold the tile up to the penetration and make some boundary lines on the face of the tile. You can use a pencil or a wax pencil for this.

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Lay the tile on the bed of the wet saw. I make the stop cuts first and then nibble away the interior of the notch. The wet saw makes quick work of this. You can cut the far left cut first, and then the far right or vice-versa. Then slowly nibble away from left to right, or whichever direction you feel comfortable with. The last sliver will likely break off, but you can clean up the bottom of the notch by running it against the blade along the series of cuts. When you have the notch finished, you can dry off the tile and mortar it to the wall.

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