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.

joe

Hello,
Just finished removing all my ceramic tile, ~400 square feet, from my plywood floors. It was disastrous, exhausting, and not very pretty. I tried in vain to remove most of the thinset but a lot of it is still on. I am going to put down 1/4″ hardibacker board on top of versabond thinset in the hopes of having a good substrate for my new 6″X24″ porcelain wood looking tile planks. I will be using flexbond to adhere the tile to the backerboard. The tile is 9 mm thick. Can anyone tell me how many inches to remove from the bottom of my door trim and jams to safely place the tile and backer board underneath?

Reply

Cedric

Roger,
When installing Hardie Backer on my bathroom floor, do I need to use thin-set under the backer board. Using a 4 ft level, my floor is within bubble in all directions and as flat as (I want to say pancake here, but I have never seen a flat pancake, lets just say flat).
Would appreciate your thoughts.

Thanks,

Cedric

Reply

Kevin

Roger, I’ve got the weirdest situation. I’ve got 2″ marble mosaic tile in 1 foot square mesh-backed sheets for my floor. I did a dry layout on my 5′ x5′ floor and they appear to be NOT square. I’m lining up the blocks perfectly with 1/8″ spacers – the same as the joints. So what I’m saying is that when I lay these out 5 feet by 5 feet in a perimeter square shape (no sheets in the middle), the sheets do NOT line up, forming a trapezium(?) This has nothing to do with my floor (which is mildly out of square). I could do the same 5′ x 5′ set up on the middle of my living room floor and the same thing would happen. It ends up being a slight trapezium shape — not lining up by about an inch and a half. This will throw off the whole look of the floor with the grout lines not matching up! Has this ever happened to you? It’s as if the little square mosaics were not positioned properly on the mesh.

Reply

Roger

Hi Kevin,

They may not be square on the mesh, it happens more than you think. You can square up the sheets as you lay them (the mesh will stretch and contort a bit) or you can lay them one at a time. Yes, I’ve done it. And yes, it’s a pain in the ass. :D

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Kevin

Ok thanks dude! I figured that.

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Chris

I’ve got a question on my floor tiles again. This will be 2″ x 2″ white marble mosaic floor (white grout) with white 4″ x 4″ wall tiles (white grout) on a 5 by 4.5 foot bathroom floor. I want to leave full tiles, where you notice it most, at the threshold and tub perimeter which is on the right as you come into the bathroom. This would leave just less that a 7/8″ sliver on the left wall of the floor, but this whole side will be obscured by a toilet and a pedestal sink. Between the these 2 items will probably be a small trash can. Is this something you would do or should I cut the tub side tiles to even the cut tile widths on both sides?

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Roger

I would center it, but you can do either if the wall is going to have the toilet and sink on it.

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Chris

My Man!! Could not do this without you.

Questions:

1.) I just want to make sure it’s considered normal in appearance to place the wall tile on top of the wall-edge of the floor tile. In other words, so that this far edge of the floor tile is covered by the full thickness of the wall tile (selection “C.” on my diagrammatic question on your Facebook page).

2.) When I lay the floor tiles should I leave an a.) 1/16″ or b.) 1/8″ gap between the perimeter edge of the floor tile and the wall for expansion? This would be the gap covered by the 1/4″ thickness of the wall tile in the scenario described above. Or do I need a space there at all?

3.) I’m going to use Fusion Pro grout on the 2″ x2″ marble floor tiles. I want to maintain the expansion gap described above and not fill it with grout. Should I caulk the perimeter gap between the floor tiles and the wall and tub before I grout or should I fill the gap with foam backer before grouting and remove backer after grout dries and caulk the remaining gap before I put on the wall tiles?

Thanks Roger!!!

Reply

Roger

Hi Chris,

1. Yes.
2. Either.
3. Caulk first, then grout.

Reply

Kevin

Thanks!!

Reply

Amy

Hi,

I am about to install shower tray and am using the Schluter pre sloped tray. I was dry fitting the shower drain and realized that their drain will not fit the 2″ white pipe that is screwed to the floor. ( I am guessing this is the old drain.?) I simply took off the metal cover. So I guess the guys that help demo the walls and floor tiles didn’t remove the old shower pan? I don’t know. I am abandoning using the Schluter drain because the flange wont fit into my 2″ pipe.

My question is how do I add a drain and continue to install the pre sloped shower tray and continue tiling the floor. I know I need to add something to the pipe to add height to a shower drain that I will install over the pipe. I found a simple shower drain at Ace Hardware.

Does this make sense? I wish I could send you a picture.

Thanks in advance for taking my question.
Amy

Reply

Carl

Interesting I am about to route and dry fit and new shower install today and will look at the 2″ drain as well, but if anyone has already done this please chirp in ….thanks :whistle:

Reply

Roger

Hi Carl,

I’ve done it hundreds of times. Whaddya wanna talk about? :D

Reply

Roger

Hi Amy,

It doesn’t make sense to me. It sounds like you have a normal 2″ pvc drain pipe, the kerdi drain should fit right onto it. You can upload a photo here.

Reply

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