Trowels 101


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    • #3003

      Hi Steve and Jeff,

      The more I watch videos, the more confused I get about trowel size.   Are there any advantages over one type of trowel versus another?  For example, V notched trowels versus U notched trowels.  Why do some trowels have different size teeth on the same trowel? For instance, 1/4” x 3/8” trowel. I will be using 12” x 12” porcelain tile on my shower walls over Kerdi board and band.  How do I pick the trowel size for that job?


    • #3006
      Steve White

      Hey Kayse,

      Great question

      Trowel size depends on a few factors

      • Size of tile
      • Thickness of tile
      • Coverage of thinset (transferred to tile when spread;100% being the goal)

      Smaller tile require less thinset to achieve full coverage and makes things eaiser, and  if the thickness of thinset doesn’t exceed the thickness of tile it help prevent too much thinset from oozing out of joints when setting (mostly pertains to smaller mosaic tiles on a sheet)

      For installing membranes, the size trowel will be specified by manufacture

      •  Schluter Kerdi – 1/4″ x 3/16″ V-nothch or 1/8″ x 1/8″ square; or the official Kerdi trowel:
      • Schluter Ditra – 5/16″ x 5/16″ V-notch or 3/16″ x 3/16″ square; or the official Ditra Trowel:

      Generally, I like using these trowels for installing these sized tiles:

      • 2″ x 2″ tile – 1/4″ thick –        1/4″ x 1/4″ square notch
      • Subway tile and tile under 8″ x 8″ –  1/4″ x 1/4″ square notch
      • Most mosaics and borders – 1/4″ x 1/4″ square notch
      • 12″ x 12″-18″ tile –  1/4″ x 3/8″ square notch
      • 12″x 12″ stone/travertine –  1/2″ x 1/2″ square notch
      • 12″ x 24″ porcelain on wall-1/4″ x 3/8″ or Euro trowel
      • 12″ x 24″ floor tile – 1/2″ x 1/2″ square notch or euro trowel
      • Plank floor tile – 1/4″ x 3/8″ square notch

      I typically use a bigger trowel on  a floor so that you have a better ability to eliminate lippage and compensate for any uneven floor areas

      A  bathroom does typically require a few trowel sizes to accomplish things

      If you use too large sized trowel for the membranes…you will end up with a lot of build up making it tough to flatten out, so I would suggest sticking with the manufactures recommendation

      Hope this helps




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