Common Tile Questions


Having spent this weekend doing tile, I thought It would be a good call to go ahead and answer a few simple questions that you may have with your own DIY tile project. If you have any other questions, feel free to leave a comment at the bottom of the page.

What Tile Layout is Right For My…?

This is always a matter of personally preference and skill set. However keep the grout lines in mind. Having vertical grout lines in a shower for instance will be more likely to get dirt than a diagonal grout line (Gravity folks). All the dirt will be routed into said grout lines and will need more cleaning. Consider a darker color grout if you want a pattern like this.

What Size Spacers Do I Pick? / Do I Need Spacers?

Having some modicum of space for grout is a smart move. The grout seals the tile, and if you cannot get the grout between the tiles, then it will not seal. I advice spacing the tile out. How much is once again a matter of preference. However keep in mind that if you have 1/2″ grout lines with 3″ tile, it will look fairly ridiculous.

How Do I Get Thin Set Mortar off of Tile?

This depends on what type of mortar you picked up. Pre-mixed thin set usually comes up with a stiff sponge and some mineral spirits, however tougher mortar (Like that you mix yourself) may require an acid of some kind (Sulfuric may be a bit much, consider muriatic acid). This isn’t for the typical weekend warrior, so consider calling a professional. Read the instructions of all packages before doing anything.

Sanded or Smooth Grout?

Once again, this usually comes down to preference, however if you have really thin grout lines, you may have an issue getting sanded grout into the spaces.

Should I Cut the Tile Myself or Buy Smaller Tile.

This is one where I myself, had an issue with overconfidence this past weekend. I planed on doing a pinwheel pattern and cutting the 12″ by 12″ into 3″ by 3″ squares. However when you cut these tiles down so small, any small chip is magnified. A small 1/8″ chip doesn’t matter much over a square foot, but it becomes huge on a smaller tile. Without professional grade tile saws, which can cost you a couple hundred dollars, a perfect cut is almost impossible to created over and over again. While these may become expensive (Smaller tile usually costs more) is will be easier to get professional looking results if you spend the extra cash.

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