Tile FAQ’s

The list below contains some of the most commonly asked questions I get about tile and installation methods. For each one I have included a (very) short answer.  I already have, or will have in the future, a post about every one of these. If that post already exists there will be a link at the end of the answer.

I will continue to add to this page as the questions come up. If you have a question just leave a comment at the bottom and I’ll include it on this page.

Just click on the question to view the answer.

Grout

What type of grout should I use for my tile?

It depends on the tile and the size of the grout lines. Read this: Using the correct type of grout

How large should my grout lines be?

It depends on the tile size and the look you want. Read this: How large should grout lines be?

Can I fill my cracking grout with more grout?

Maybe. Read this article for a more complete answer: Filling grout lines with more grout

Are there any “magic” products available to remove stains from your grout and tile?

No there are not. One of the closest things to magic that you can buy is oxygen bleach. It is not bleach! It's a slight misnomer. This is the main ingredient in products like oxyclean. It works very, very well to clean grout. More information: How to clean grout

Does grout help stabilize tile, hold them in place, or make them stick better?

No it does not. (Epoxy grout is different) Read this: Does grout stabilize tile?

Are tile, stone or grout waterproof?

No they are not. Read this: Is tile waterproof?

Can I install my tile without grout lines?

No, you should not. Read this: Tile with no grout

Miscellaneous

Can I install floor tiles on my shower walls?

Yes you can. Read this: Floor tiles on a wall

Sealers

Will sealing your tile and grout make it waterproof?

No! It absolutely will not.

Should I seal (or re-seal) my tile and grout?

If you would like it to be easier to clean then yes, you should.

Setting Materials

What should I use to set my tile?

It depends on where you are installing the tile. Read this: Proper setting materials for tile

Are mastic and pre-mixed “mortar” acceptable to install tile on a floor or in a shower?

No they are not. Read this: Proper setting materials for tile

Substrates

Does my floor have to be level before I install tile?

No it does not. Read this: Does my floor have to be level for tile?

Do I need a waterproof membrane for my shower walls?

Yes, a membrane of some sort is required. Read the article for the different types. Read this: Preparing a shower wall for tile

Can I simply stick tile to the drywall in my shower or the plywood on my floor?

You can but it won’t last – so no. Read this: Preparing a shower wall for tile or this: Installing backerboard for floor tile

Transitions

Should I use grout or caulk in the corners of my shower?

Technically? Caulk. Realistically? It depends. Read this: Caulk or grout in corners?

If you have any suggestions or questions please feel free to leave a comment.

JD

Hi – I just hired a tile installer to do some grout repair. Our toilet leaked and caused the grout around it to crack and flake off. While using the grout color samples to find an appropriate color, the installer said the final dry color was always lighter than the sample stick showed. So, he chose the next darker color, and I believed him, not having any grout knowledge myself. Well, after drying for 4 days, it is much darker. What can I do to lighten the new grout?

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Steve

Hi Roger,

What are your thoughts on installing a Schluter niche, then installing 1/2″ cbu (with 1/16″ to 1/8″ gap between niche and cbu), silicone gap and once silicone is cured, Redgard the entire substrate including the niche. Will I have problems with movement between cbu & niche if I don’t apply the Kerdi band that’s called for or is the Kerdi strictly for waterproofing? Thanks

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Please Delete

I can’t see the comments.. I’m typing one to see if I can see them once submitted. Please delete this comment.

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Don

Applied thin-set, 1/4″ backer-board (screws every 5-6 inches O.C.) – allowed to dry. Applied thin-set over backer-board, laid tile, then placed cement bags, boxes of tile, etc. on tiles. Was this a bad idea?

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zema

This is in regards to the remodel of small bathroom. We picked a tile project for our contractor that we initially didn’t think was too difficult. It is an L herringbone pattern. He has had so much difficulty in getting the grout lines to line up….to the point of taking them down and doing them over. Surely there must be some trick to this! No matter what he does, he says it “grows”. He suggested applying them with no grout line but we have read this is a big no-no. He has become very frustrated as are we. He has drawn it on the wall and it still grows the taller he gets the tiles. These are pictures. It looks pretty good when finished, but he still is frustrated and not happy. Can you tell us if there is something we are overlooking?

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David

Roger,

Being from Colorado, I’m hoping you can clarify something for me. How do you go about installing a poured pan in a basement with “floating walls”? In the standard process for a poured pan and tiled walls, I can’t figure out how to leave any room for movement.

Thanks!

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Darius

Hi Rodger & David,

I have the same question for building a shower in the basement in Colorado with a floating wall. It seems that without leaving a massive expansion joint in the tile, a floating wall wont work.

Thanks,

Darius

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