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How Do I Choose the Best Tile Trowel?

Jodee Redmond
Jodee Redmond

To choose the right tile trowel, a consumer needs to consider tile size and placement. Turning the tile over and examining it carefully will help the user determine which trowel is best for applying the mortar and for spreading grout over the surface after they have been positioned on a surface. Completing a tiling job will require several types of trowels, and each one has a specific purpose.

Margin tile trowels are available in a number of sizes and are a versatile tool to use when applying this type of building product. They have a handle and a flat surface and can be used to pick up a portion of mortar and place it on the surface to be filed before spreading it out. This tool can also be used to remove excess materials from the surface of the tile during application.

Woman holding a book
Woman holding a book

When laying tile, care should be taken to choose a tile trowel which can cover the surface being tiled quickly and easily. The process involves applying mortar to an area which can easily be tiled in a few minutes and then setting the tiles in place. Using a trowel which is too small means the tiler will have to use multiple strokes to apply the mortar, which will take up valuable time. A notched tile trowel or a margin trowel can be used for this purpose.

For some types of tiles, applying a small amount of mortar to the back of the tile surface is the best way to ensure a good application. If this type of "back buttering" is used, the tiler will need to make sure that the mortar is spread on the tile in an even coat. Some tiles have deep impressions on the back, which means that a tile trowel with a larger notch should be used to ensure even application of the mortar.

Once the tile is in place, a thin layer of grout is applied to the entire surface. To ensure that the grout is applied evenly between the tiles, a specific tile trowel called a grout float is used. This tool's surface is made from foam or rubber so that it will not scratch the surface of the tile during this part of the application process.

Trowels for applying tile are available in a number of styles and at various price points. A consumer who is looking for an item which will be used only once or twice may want to consider buying a plastic one. A better choice for multiple jobs is a higher-end product which will be more durable over time.

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