A Simple Guide to Choosing the Correct Tiling Tools
Having the correct tools is not only essential for a successful DIY project, but also makes tiling easier. Unless you’ve tiled before, you probably won’t have the right tools. Luckily, all of the tools you’ll need can be found at most hardware stores or at floor tool and product suppliers, such as FloorsHQ™.
Tools for Installing Wall and Floor Tiles
Before you start tiling, make sure you have the correct tools for the job. We’ve listed 8 must-have tools you’ll need to have to get started.
1. Tile Saw or Tile Cutters
For most DIY home tiling, tile cutters or dry cutting blades will do just fine, but if you’re taking on a large tiling project, such as redoing all the tiles in your home, you may want to consider renting a wet saw to cut your tiles. If you are using a tile saw, continuous cutting blades are your best bet for chip-free and accurately cut tiles. These blades are suitable for cutting glass, stone, marble, granite, ceramic and porcelain tiles. For an affordable yet effective option, we recommend Razor® Blades Continuous Cutting Blades (Hot Pressed) or Turbo Cold Pressed Diamond Cutting Blades. You may also use a tile cutter to score and snap ceramic, glass, and porcelain tiles along the scored line.
2. Mixing Paddles
Hand mixing bags of dry tile adhesive or tile grout with water often leaves material partially mixed or lumpy. Hand mixing is also time consuming, reducing the amount of working time or “open time” of the product. Tile grout and tile adhesive should be mixed using the appropriate electric hand held stirrer or mixer.
We would recommend using one of the following ROX® mixers:
- ROX® Twister-180™, for tiling professionals.
- ROX® Twister-120™, ideal for DIY enthusiasts and home improvement contractors.
3. Grout Floats
Grout floats are a must-have when it comes to tiling, since no other tool can achieve the same results. They have rubber bases much like masonry trowels. A grout float is used to press grout into joints and scrape it flush with tiles.
FloorsHQ™ stock a range of grout float for wall and floor grout application:
- ROX® Non-Marking Grout Float – Contractors Range, this non-marking grout float is ideal for grouting marble, porcelain, granite, travertine, and other lightly coloured tiles.
- ROX® Gum Rubber Grout Float – Contractors Range, best suited for grouting floor tiles.
- ROX® Foam Grout Float – Eco Range, used for grouting wall tiles.
4. Tile Nippers
Tile nippers feature plier-like grips and biting jaws that trim tiles. Tile nippers are a convenient tool for producing unique cuts that a tile saw or a tile cutter can’t. Admittedly, this tool isn’t essential, especially if you’re working with a limited budget.
5. Tiling or Adhesive Trowels
Tile trowels are used to spread tile adhesive. Square-notched trowels are used for most tile adhesives. As tiles become larger the need for a larger square-notch is required. Bigger tiles need more tile adhesive to set them for multiple reasons.
- 3x3x3 mm trowels, used to install mosaic tiles.
- 4x4x4 mm trowels, used for wall tiles 150 x 150 mm.
- 6x6x6 mm trowels, used for wall tiles 200 x 200 mm.
- 8x8x8 mm trowels, used for wall tiles 250 x 250 mm or bigger.
- 10x10x10 mm trowels, used for floor tiles 300 x 300 mm.
- 12x12x12 mm trowels, used for floor tiles 400 x 400 mm or bigger, including most natural stone and quarry tiles.
6. Tile Adhesive
There are many reputable manufacturers of tile adhesives and tile grouts today. Please remember you get what you pay for. All tile adhesives are manufactured from cement. What makes one tile adhesive more expensive than another is the amount of cement and polymer additives in the product. Better quality adhesives often have shorter drying times, increased flexibility, reduced shear and improved bond strength. It is important to choose a quality adhesive. Applying too little adhesive by using the incorrect tiling trowel size will reduce the bond strength of the tile adhesive proportionately. All of these factors help to reduce tile failure. Stoneshield Marble Glue is a high quality adhesive that can be used for marble travertine, limestone, granite, and engineered stone tiles and floors.
7. Spirit Level or Carpenter’s Level
If you occasionally tackle minor home repairs, you presumably have a spirit level or carpenter’s level in your toolbox. It is used to check the level of flooring during installation. This is done to ensure that the floor surface is horizontal, and that there are no sloped sections that need to be built up.
8. Rubber Mallet
A rubber mallet is used to help bed down and position tiles during installation. Rubber mallets are available in black and white rubber. The main advantage of the white rubber mallet is that it does not leave rubber marks on the surface of the tile, which may be very difficult to remove. Only use a white rubber mallet when installing natural stone, marble, travertine and certain porcelain tiles. We recommend using either a Rox® Black Rubber Mallet (should only be used on appropriate surfaces) or a Rox® White Rubber Mallet, from FloorsHQ™.
The experts at FloorsHQ™ can supply all your tiling, grouting, and flooring supplies, and advise you on the best products and correct tools for installing wall and floor tiles.