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.


Hi Roger,

I’ve been reading lately on rectified tile and wanted to make sure I understand the term. This applies to porcelain and ceramic tiles only (manufactured tiles), and means that after the tiles have been cast/baked/created??? they are “trued-up” to be an exact dimension?
Additionally, natural materials are “rectified” by default since they are cut as part of the “creation” process?




I’m sorry, I did a search in your library, and found the answer afterward. It sounds like I was pretty much correctly understanding the definition. I should have looked first! Thanks for all you do for the rest of us!



Hi Mike,

That is correct. Well done! :D



Thanks Roger. Just to make sure I absolutely understand (at the risk of beating a dead horse)… If I’m using a 10″ tile and 7″ fits on the back wall, I should “wrap” the 3″ piece to the side wall?




Not necessarily. You want to begin with a full and half tile on the outside edge of the side wall. If the smaller of the two tiles in the corner happens to be three inches then yes, but it may be a bit smaller or larger. If your side wall is 30″ then your smaller tile will be five inches – not three. The point is to have the smaller tile in the pattern butted against the large tiles in the corners.



Roger, that makes sense now thanks!

I installed the tile on the back wall of the tub surround and it came out great. No problems at all with 1/16″ grout line. Thanks for all of the advice!



I’m still trying to nail down how I’m going to layout the tile for my tub surround. I’m considering 1/3 overlap running bond. Your explanation / diagram on p76 of your layout book has me confused. It looks as though you have two different sizes of tile, but I’m not sure that’s what you meant – check out the right side of the back wall where it meets the side wall. Can you clarify?

Also, do you think 1/16″ grout line is too ambitious for an amateur?




Hi Josh,

It is all the same size tile – though not in the diagram. I stretched the tiles in the corner to emphasize that you want 1/2 tile against a full tile (or a smaller against a larger) where they meet in the corner. That’s all that is.
1/16″ is fine provided you take your time and pay close attention to your grout lines.


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