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.


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


Can I install floor tiles on my shower walls?

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


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


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


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.



I am flipping a old house (1955).
As some bathroom tiles are cracked, I was thinking of re-tiling the walls.
The old tiles are mounted on cement supported by a metal lath screwed to the joists. It’s one inch of solid support and removing it it’s going to be a hard job.
I was wondering if I can tile over the old wall tiles, using the proper mortar and after scratching them to get a better adhesion.
Is the idea crazy? Any suggestion?
In particular, what use to cover the old bull nose tiles?

Thank you!





Hi Lorenz,

Not crazy at all, and yes, you can do that. Mud walls are a bitch to remove. :D


Grant Wright

Hi Roger, I’ve read a lot about three different kinds of adhesives: mastic, thinset and epoxy. I’m looking at a pre-mixed product that is just described as an “adhesive” for tiles up to 20X20″. I don’t think it is a mastic because the cojpany sells a separate pre-mixed product labelled as “Mastic”. The product’s data sheet says that the base is “Acrylic Latex”. Can you tell me what this product is and if I can use it like a thinset mortar?



Hi Grant,

It is mastic. Thinset is sold in powdered form and mixed with water. Any pre-mixed one component adhesive is mastic, epoxy is a two or three part adhesive that must be mixed. Mastic should not be used in wet areas or on floors. Thinset is always the best option, epoxy is only required in specialized circumstances.



While scraping thinset up from my grout lines one of my 2 x 8 Slate border tiles decided to shed a layer. A piece about 1/8″ thick just popped off. Is there any way to fix this, or do I have to replace the tile. I am still pre sealer and haven’t grouted yet.



Hey Rob,

It’s called cleaving, there is no way to repair it. The tile will need to be replaced.



Hi Roger,
My shower has been done for a year now. I used porcelain 12×12 tile gray stone look and the colored granite gray grout {Ultracolor Plus Ultracolor Plus – Mapei.}

i am getting some light brown staing on grout and some tiles near the floor.

what do i use to clean and disinfect this shower?

how often?


sorry just realized i was in caps . thanks for everything ! :rockon:



Hi Steve,

Soft scrub normally takes all that off. It’s usually just build-up of soaps, etc. A weekly cleaning and a monthly scrubbing are normally sufficient.



Hello ,I have some floor tiles that need ripping up.Ok after ripping them up what’s the best way to get up the floor tile adhesive ,by hand ?or machine ,if so what hand machine ,I was thinking a multitool ,or a recipicating saw ,or can I leave it down and put slc over old adhesive to cover ,dreading it ,not the pulling up of the tiles just the adhesive which its on etc , then if floor is pretty flat would you still use slc ? Thankyou

Steven Savage .



Hi Steven,

SLC is definitely an option. Normally the easiest as well. The best way to remove it is to get a scarifying wheel on a grinder.


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