Substitution is a time-honoured tradition in cooking that can allow for a successful and delicious recipe even if you don't have the right ingredients. The same, however, cannot be said when trying to substitute tools during a tile installation.
Tile cutters and other tile installation tools are designed and optimized for specific uses during the installation process. Trying to swap them out for other tools will, at best, increase the amount of time you spend on the project. At worst, it can result in damage to the tool, tile, or yourself. This does not mean you need every tile installation tool and system under the sun—only that you should make sure the tools you are using actually match the task at hand.
Top Tools for Tile Installation
An obvious must-have if you ever want to cut your own tile, tile cutters come in numerous sizes and it is essential to match the size of the cutter to the tile. Especially with the move to larger format tiles these days, make sure that if you’re cutting a 24”x24” tile, your tile cutter can accommodate it.
Tiles are held in place by an adhesive applied over the floor or on the underside of the tile. An adhesive trowel is the best tool to use for this when installing new floor tiles since it comes with both a straight and notched edge. The straight edge helps spread the adhesive and the notched edge ensures even distribution of the substance. The notch also leaves grooves that let air escape when the tile is eventually pressed into the adhesive, thus preventing bubbling. Some companies also advise using specific trowels for certain adhesives.
Since tile naturally expands and contracts in response to temperature, floor tiles shouldn’t be installed right next to each other, there should always be a small space between tiles for the grout line. Tile spacers can be used as part of a floor tile installation system as a way to make sure that tiles get placed close—but not too close—to one another, and evenly spaced.
Whether to move a shifted tile back into place or to properly bed floor tiles into the adhesive without pockets forming, sometimes you need to give the tile a good and proper whack. A rubber mallet lets you apply the force you need without risk of damaging the tile.
Most forms of floor tile are known to be resistant to moisture, so it may seem odd to recommend testing for it. However, sub-floor surfaces can be affected by lingering moisture, which in turn affects how well they can support your tile during and after installation. We personally recommend the Wagner Rapid RH Concrete Moisture Testing kit to quickly assess any relative humidity within concrete sub-floors, but other products are available as well.
A dense, rounded foam sponge that lets you wipe off excess grout without leaving grooves and can also be used for cleaning grout and tile after the installation is completed.
Get Your Tile Installation Tools and More
A worker is only as good as his or her tools, and finding the right one is extremely important. Centura Tile has been a leader in flooring since 1933, and that includes all forms of tile installation systems. Our experienced staff can help you pick out the best tool for any tiling job so your floors will turn out as amazing as possible. To learn more about tile installation tools or other tiling queries, feel free to contact us or visit a Centura Tile dealer near you.