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Laying tile is a complex project that requires specialized equipment to get the job done correctly.
If you’re starting your first DIY tiling project, learn about the essential tile tools you’ll need to complete your home tiling project.
1. Tile Cutting Tools
Although there are many ways to cut and size your tiles for your home tiling project, a wet tile saw and tile snap cutter are the two most common choices. The one you choose depends mainly on your budget and how much time you have to complete your project. Both are suitable for the most common tile materials available, such as ceramic, porcelain, or stone.
The wet saw is the more expensive option but is most suitable for large projects such as flooring, where you may need to cut lots of tiles. A tile snap cutter is a slower, manual tabletop tool, better suited for smaller projects like backsplashes or countertops.
2. Grout Float
The grout float is a staple of every tiling project, a quintessential masonry tool used to lay and apply grout evenly under every tile. There are different types of grout floats; the type you need depends on the hardness of your tiles and the type of grout you’re applying. For most ceramic tiling jobs, a standard molded rubber grout float is ideal. Metal grout floats are suitable only on hard surfaces because they can scratch ceramic or stone tiles.
If you use epoxy grout, always use an appropriate epoxy grout float. These floats employ a specific type of hard rubber designed to avoid bonding with the epoxy, which would quickly gum up regular rubber floats.
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3. Grout Sponge
Grout sponges resemble the stereotypical yellow kitchen sponge but feature rounded edges and are much denser. The purpose of a grout sponge is critical yet straightforward: You need it to clean the excess grout that forms at the edges and on the faces of your tiles after applying them. It is also helpful for smoothing your grout joints and wiping off small quantities of spilled grout to give your tiling project a professional finish.
4. Notched Trowels
Notched trowels are indispensable for applying and spreading tile adhesive onto your working surface. There are two main types: square-notched trowels and V-notched trowels. Depending on your tiling project, you may need both.
Square-notched trowels are suitable for applying thin-set mortar on the floor, whereas V-notched models are ideal for tile adhesive on the walls. Each trowel is different, coming in many different sizes; follow your adhesive manufacturer’s guidelines to find the right notched trowel for your project.
5. Tile Nibbler
A tile nibbler, also known as a tile nipper, is a small but helpful hand tool resembling a pair of pliers. The purpose of a tile nibble is to help you cut tiles into odd and irregular shapes, which regular tile saws and tile cutters can’t do.
Tile nibblers are necessary when you need to lay tiles near the edges of your flooring project, matching the tiles to the shape and orientation of your walls. Although you may not need them on every tiling job, you should still have one in your toolbox.
6. Leveling Tools
All tiling projects depend on perfectly traced square lines. If the lining is off, the entire floor risks being off as well. To avoid mistakes, tilers rely on leveling tools. There are two main types: the chalk line and the bubble level.
Chalk lines are an inexpensive method for tracing straight lines on the floor; all you need is chalk powder, and the system lets you trace temporary lines on your working surface before starting your tiling project. A bubble level is essentially the wall counterpart of a chalk line. With the aid of a pencil, a bubble level lets you trace horizontal, vertical, or diagonal lines on your walls before tiling them.
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7. Tile Leveling Spacers
When installing your tiles, it’s important to use tile leveling spacers, also called tile spacers or cross spacers, to ensure the tiles are perfectly aligned and at the same distance from each other.
A tile spacer is a small, cross-shaped plastic piece designed to be installed between your tiles. After setting your tile adhesive and adding your tile, place your spacers on each side, ensuring they are straight and upright. The larger the spacer, the farther apart your tiles will be from each other.
If you’re mixing your own mortar and grout, you need a set of dedicated buckets. Although the standard plastic bucket is a staple of any DIY or construction project and can do the job just fine, consider investing in a set of hardened rubber buckets instead. Although slightly more expensive, they are more durable than their plastic counterparts and are easier to clean.
Get the Right Tools for the Job at Contractors Direct
Contractors Direct is dedicated to providing DIYers, contractors, and small retailers with the best selection of tile, stone, and concrete tools. We offer high-quality equipment at an affordable price to help you get the job done right the first time!