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I had a tiler company who has put me through hell and back on multiple occasions with my bathroom remodel. I've had them back here multiple times to fix their screw ups. The next issue I just discovered to add to the litany of problems is that the tile they placed around the recessed hole for the medicine cabinet is too small. I can't fit the medicine cabinet inside. What tool can I use to carefully grind away the exposed edges of the tile so that I can place my recessed medicine cabinet inside?

I'm so sick of the tilers and I don't want them in my house any longer. I just want to grab the horse by the reins and do this myself.

Suggestions please?

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    What size is the tile (overall) and how much do you have to remove? Does your medicine cabinet overlap the cut edge? Do you have access to an angle grinder and experience to use it? Aug 20, 2022 at 0:17
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    If the hole is too small, the tiles are too big, not too small, in my view of the world. You're not cutting them to make them bigger, you are cutting them to make the hole where they are NOT bigger.
    – Ecnerwal
    Aug 20, 2022 at 0:56
  • Sadly, you can see that there are a number of simple fixes. Sorry to hear that you managed to find such cruddy workmanship. Better luck next time!
    – FreeMan
    Aug 20, 2022 at 20:30
  • Thanks for the input. The tiles themselves are porcelain and they are 12"x24" white tiles. I don't need to remove much. Probably 3/16 at most in two areas. I can't fit the bottom inside snugly but the top right corner fit and I don't want to force it. I'm afraid of damaging the tile.
    – Adrien
    Aug 21, 2022 at 12:55

4 Answers 4

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A diamond blade in a small angle grinder is my preferred approach to this problem. There may be other tools to drive a diamond blade that I haven't bothered with (i.e. I see that the currently trendy oscillating saws have diamond blades available, and might be less intimidating to use than a 13,000 RPM grinder...)

I find a circular saw (yet another possible tool with a diamond blade) awkward to manage for wall work though they can be OK for diamond blade floor work.

Mask up (hey, more uses for your N95s) and vacuum throughly.

If things are really quite close, an inexpensive hand-powered silicon carbide masonry grinding "brick (with slots)" might do, but I would not want to try to remove much tile at all with one.

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  • Use some masking tape to tape where you'll be cutting and draw your cut lines.+
    – JACK
    Aug 20, 2022 at 1:17
  • Unsure whether Dremel do a diamond blade. That would be far more manageable than an angle grinder.
    – Tim
    Aug 20, 2022 at 9:55
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    Dremel does make a diamond wheel, good for tile work.
    – blarg
    Aug 20, 2022 at 21:49
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  • Using a fine-point marking pen and a straight edge, draw the lines that mark where you want the new edge of the tile to be.
  • Using a straight edge and a glass/ceramic scoring tool, score the lines.
  • Snap the tiles along their score lines.

This is how you'd cut them if they were on a workbench prior to installing, so this will work fine for the bits hanging in the air over the medicine cabinet opening on the wall.

A scoring tool:

simple scoring tool
All images/links courtesy of lowes.com. No recommendation of brands or retailers implied or intended. Click to embiggen

Alternatively, you could use a tile nipper to cut away the bits of tile that are hanging in the air.

Tile Nipper

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    Caution about score/snap: if there isn’t much tile stuck to the wall, the snap process might lever the whole tile off. Aug 20, 2022 at 12:32
  • Score/snip is pretty easy and can be practiced on spare tiles. If there isn't much stuck to the wall, an angle grinder might also do more damage than desired. Maybe that's a good thing? If you have loose tiles that pull off easily, find and repair them in the process.
    – jay613
    Feb 26, 2023 at 17:56
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If it's just a few mm (say 1/8") the easiest way is to file them by hand.

Tile files are either diamond, tungsten carbide, or silicon carbide coated. Even coarse emery cloth can be used on a sanding block. Ideally you'd work wet.

Mark out first with a Sharpie or other permanent marker (any marker residue can be removed with alcohol).

This works better than the score & snap method if you have to remove very little, especially when the tile is already mounted and can't easily be replaced.

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I had a similar project and I found that my Dremel tool with a diamond tile bit did a great job. May be a bit slower than an angle grider but you get precise control. I always draw an inside line mask off with some frog tape. Wear safety glasses and put down a little plastic and shut the drain.

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