5 Favorite Tools for Tile Projects
Great gear for an easier job and better results.
Every editorial product is independently selected, though we may be compensated or receive an affiliate commission if you buy something through our links. Ratings and prices are accurate and items are in stock as of time of publication.
My margin trowel is in constant use throughout every tile job, so I spent a few bucks extra on this high-quality model. I especially like the soft rubber-coated handle, which doesn’t get slippery when wet and doesn’t give me blisters. Get tons of tile tips from our pro tile setters!
Mini Tool Pouch
Tile work usually means constant kneeling and bending—so carrying tools in pockets or a tool belt isn’t practical. For my latest tile job, I finally got a small pouch, perfectly sized a few essential tools. And since it’s inexpensive, I don’t care if it gets caked with adhesive or grout. Plus: See how to install backer board like a pro.
Smooth Cap Kneepads
Every tile setter has a different opinion on kneepads. Here’s mine: Go with smooth, hard plastic rather than textured rubber or fabric. I like being able to slide along—rather than crawl—as I work. Better yet, wiping thinset or grout off of them is easy. Considering a tile floor? Here’s how to do it, start to finish.
When a large tile is set too deep or tilted, a suction cup is a lifesaver—it lets you lift the misaligned tile without disturbing the others. There are special suction cups designed just for tile work, but I’ve always used a cheapie. Keep in mind that suction cups don’t work well on rough surfaces like slate. Believe it or not, you can tile over existing tile without tearing up the old stuff.
Tile Leveling System
On large tiles (12×12 or larger), uneven edges are a huge frustration, so many pros now use clips that lock edges in plane. These wedge-style clips can be used with special pliers, but I found that inserting wedges by hand works fine, too. Video: How a tile-setting veteran gets perfect grout on every job.
Disclosure: This post is brought to you by The Family Handyman editors, who aim to highlight products and services you might find interesting. If you buy them, we get a small share of the revenue from the sale from our commerce partners. We frequently receive products free of charge from manufacturers to test. This does not drive our decision as to whether or not a product is featured or recommended. We welcome your feedback. Have something you think we should know about? Contact us, here.