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Tiling Tools - Guide to the 9 Basics

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Buy These 9 Tiling Tools Upfront and Make Your Project Go Smoother
Tiling Tool Essentials

Tiling Tool Essentials

Copyright Lee Wallender; Licensed to About.com
It's no fun to start your tiling project by cobbling together sub-standard tiling tools or trying to "make do" with tools that aren't really made for tiling. If you plan to take on a significant tiling job DIY (which I define as one or more rooms of wall or floor tile, but not partial tile projects like a tub surround or kitchen backsplash), it's definitely worth investing in these 9 tiling tools before you open that first bucket of thinset.

1. Wet Tile Saw

Bite the bullet and do it: buy that wet tile saw before you start trying to cut your tile with maddeningly inferior tools such as a snap tile cutter. A wet tile saw zips right through ceramic, porcelain, and natural stone tile, reducing breakage. Downside is that a wet tile saw has no auxiliary use beyond cutting tile. So, when your tile project is done, it will likely gather cobwebs on a shelf.

All that said, I strongly urge you to invest in a wet tile saw. Consumer-level tool manufacturers like Ryobi and Skil offer wet tile saws in the $100-$200 range.

See Review of Ryobi 7" Wet Tile Saw

2. Grout Float

The term "grout float" is almost a misnomer. A float does anything but float. Once the tiles are applied, mortar is pressed into the seams between the tiles by, you guessed it, the grout float. It's like a trowel with a hard rubber base. Indispensable: there is no substitute or improvisation for a grout float.

See Article: How to Use a Rubber Grout Float or Video on grouting tile.

3. Grout Sponge

Deceptive, because it looks like you wouldn't have to buy a grout sponge. After all, you've got scads of sponges laying around your house, right? Yet those sponges are hardly adequate for sloughing off lingering tile mortar. For that, you need a big, thick, dense-celled sponge. In other words, a grout sponge!

4. Pointed- and/or Square-Notched Trowels

Trowels are used for spreading the thinset mortar (for flooring) or mastic (for walls). The notches are important: they provide a controlled delivery system for the adhesive, making sure that exactly the right amount is left on the backerboard surface. Generally, you will use a 1/4" x 1/4" square-notched trowel for large tiles on flooring;

See: What's the Difference Between a Square-Notched and V-Notched Trowel?

5. Tile Nibbler

This inexpensive tiling tool (sometimes called a tile nipper) helps you make irregular cuts (like semi-circles) that the wet tile saw cannot. It is possible to finish a tiling job without needing a tile nibbler, especially when the project has a lot of open space without obstructions like pipes.

Compare Prices - Tile Nipping Tool

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