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.

Jane Stewart

Have you installed the European kind of drains in showers that are less visible than the regular ones in the middle? The ones I’ve seen are expensive, but if I lowered the floor of the shower just a little below the floor of the bathroom and put a horizontal drain next to the bathroom floor, then you would not see it. What do you think?

Jane Stewart

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Jane Stewart

What do you think of the NEW vinyl tile that is being touted now? I forget the letters that go before it like LVD or something like that. Is it as durable as porcelain? Do you recommend it for any kind of flooring use? Some of the vinyl tiles look more like wood to me than the porcelain tiles that are supposed to mimic wood.

Thank you!

Jane Stewart

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Matthew

PayPal does not work for me. I would like to purchase your books. Is there another way to buy ?

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jackey

Hi, I brought the Kedi Waterproofing Bundle and the Tile Tips and I didn’t know the Kedi Waterproofing Bundle has the Tile Tips in it. Can I get a refund on the Tile Tips?

Cheers,
Jackey

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Marsha Wani

I need your contact email urgent
My tile project is going on
And o want to make sure why they dif mot use spacer in installing 9×36 tile porcelain
Please help
Do you have phone as i have few questions before its too late
Thanks

Reply

Chad

Hello and great site.

I am building an outdoor fire table 47″ diameter with a 19″ donut hole in the middle for the fire pit.

I’ve cut 3/4″ plywood into the donut shape using a router and jig and glued two halves together. Now I have a 1.5″ maple circle and it turned out great.

My plan is to use mosaic glass tiles on the top and sides. My thinking is to use Ditra on the top and cut a 1.5″ strip of ditra for the side. I will have a seam on the top which I will use Kerdi band to seal. Along the edge perimeter I plan to use Kerdi band around the outside and folded over onto the top. This will create some creases but seems like it will work.

I live in chicago so freeze thaw is a reality. Does this installation sound good to you? Do you have any other ideas?

Thanks and great site!

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Gord

Awesome site Sir Elf, I’ve learned a lot and want to thank you for all the effort you’ve put in.

I’ve bought a Carrera imitation porcelain tile to do the tub surround in my bathroom remodel.
The tile has a thin plastic covering on it, slightly thicker than plastic wrap used in the kitchen.
Is this protective covering only for shipping and should be removed before installation or grouting?
OR is this covering to protect the tile from the sanded epoxy grout I plan on using (Spectralock Pro Premium), and should be left on until the grout is swabbed in?
The plastic in some areas ends exactly on the top edge of the tile and overlaps the sides in some areas.
I was considering that clean up would be a breeze if I could simply lay in the grout, and the pull up the plastic removing any grout from the surface.

Any advice given (while sober or otherwise) will be most appreciated.

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Steve

Hi. I.m using the Topical method for my shower floor. Could you tell me what the model number of the kerdi drain you recommended.
Thanks

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Joe Jazz

What are your impressions of TEC Power Grout 550?

Reply

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