One of the fundamental aspects of tiling is, first of all, choosing the type of trowel to use for a particular tiling project. After all, the last thing you want to do is purchase the perfect tiles for a job, that cost quite a lot of money, and then ruin their aesthetic when you come to apply the adhesive by using an unsuitable type of trowel. Essentially, you need decide onthe correct trowel for the size of tile that you are using.

Tile sizes

Tiles are now available in a range of sizes, from very small to extremely large. This means that there are tiles available to meet the requirements of a variety of customers and are suitable for different applications, and interior or exterior uses. It is essential to get the right amount of adhesive on the back of the tile,no matter what the size of the tile, to ensure the tiles stick to the wall or floor.As a general rule, the larger the tile, the larger the notched trowel you would use to fix them.

The smallest type of tiles are mosaic tiles, which are usually about 1-inch square and come on a sheet covering approximately 12 x 12-inch square or 300 x 300mm. The largest tiles can be up to 1.2 metres long or1200mm x 600mm wide.

What size trowel for tiling

Trowels should be used alongside an appropriate size tile. For example, mosaic tiles would require a 3mm square notch trowel, while larger tiles would require subsequent larger sizes. Smaller trowels produce thinner beds of adhesive, which ultimately means that there is less chance of the adhesive getting onto the tiles when fixing them in place.

Trowels are available in the following sizes:

3mm square notch

6mm square notch

8mm square notch

10mm square notch

12mm square notch

20mm square notch

A general rule when deciding what size notched trowel for wall tiles and floor tiles

If you would like to refer to a rough guide when selecting the correct notch trowel size to use, you can opt to abide by the following rule:

The mm size of the notch roughly equates to the inches of tile being fitted, plus another 2 inches.

For example,

6mm notch = 6-8inch tile

8mm notch = 8-10inch tile

10mm notch = 10 -12inch tile

12mm notch would be used for any tile over 12 inches.

However, it is important to bear in mind that this is a general rule and things can change due to the flatness of the surface you are tiling onto, so this information is for general guidance only.

Choosing a notched trowel when the surface is not flat

If the surface you are tiling onto is not flat, you can abide by the general rule but should increase the notch to the next size up.

For example, you’d use an 12mm notched trowel when tiling 10-inch tiles on an uneven floor.

It should be noted also that, for floor tiling, a minimum of 10mm trowels would be used to ensure there is enough contact on the back of the tile to make sure there are no voids.

Tips when tiling with your notched trowel

When trowelling your adhesive onto walls and floors, you must make sure you trowel at an angle of 45 degrees and press hard. You should ensure that you are scraping the wall or floor, only to leave a notch of adhesive.

When placing a tile, move it out 5mm, then back again, to make sure your adhesive gets good and full contact with the tile.

Tiling Courses

UK Pro Tiling Training courses can show you the correct methods of tile application. We offer fast track professional tiling courses which gives you the correct methods of application and, also the background knowledge to do the job correctly.