How to Use a Notched Trowel

A notched trowel is basically a thin piece of cold rolled steel or stainless steel that has a handle made of wood or vinyl. Notched trowels are used in hardwood floor applications, as well as for tile installations and are specifically used to spread the tile adhesive.

While the back and one side of the notched trowel are smooth surfaces, used for flattening out any surfaces, notch trowels additionally feature notches on the front and one side of the trowel for spreading. The notches are V-shaped, U-shaped and square, depending on which type of notched trowel you choose.Why use a notched trowel for tiling?

What a notched trowel is used for: Notched trowels are used in various tile installations. You should choose the appropriate notched trowel, depending on the task in hand.

Choosing the appropriate type of notched trowel

V-shaped notched trowel:Best used when a solid bed is required when laying tiles. V-shaped notched trowels are available in various sizes.

U-shaped notched trowel:Best used when a solid coverage is not required, a U shaped trowel usually covers about 70% of the tile. These come in various sizes from 6mm up to 20mm

Square notched trowel: Used in all types of tiling installations. 1.27 cm (1/2 inch) square notched trowels are essential when laying larger natural stone or quarry tiles.

Selecting the right notch trowel size

There are multiple sizes of v-shaped notched trowels and square notched trowels. These sizes are: 4mm, 6mm, 8mm, 10mm, 12mm and 20mm. In order to select the correct trowel size, you should select the trowel where the mm measurement roughly equals the inches of tile you fit, plus 2 inches.

For example,a 6mm trowel would fit a 6-8 inch tile.

Exceptions to the sizing rule: Mosaic Trowels

This pattern of selecting the right notched trowel size can be applied to all trowels, except the mosaic trowel, a type of 4mm square notched trowel.

The 4mm mosaic trowel, specifically designed to tile intricate mosaics does not allow a thick enough bed of adhesive to come through the mosaics.

When tiling with any sized trowel you should always ensure that you trowel at a 45-degree angle against the wall or floor.How to use a notched trowel

Follow the following five steps when applying tiles using a notched trowel:

  1. Apply the adhesive
    How to apply tile adhesive to wall or floor:
    Use a bucket trowel to scoop out and apply the adhesive to the notched side of trowel
  2. Comb the surface
    Use the notched side of the trowel to comb the surface at a 45-degree angle until the notches reach their full depth.
  3. Apply the tile
    Slide and twist the tile into position, ensuring you have applied enough pressure for the adhesive to contact the whole tile.
    Continue with this method until you have tiled the whole area.

Contact UK Pro Tiling Training for any further information about how to use a notched trowel

If you need any further information about using a notched trowel, please contact us at UK Pro Tiling Training. Were happy to help. Website: