Toolipedia: Notched Trowel

Toolipedia: Everything you wanted to know about notched trowels

A notched trowel with a blue handle | Construction Pro Tips

What is a notched trowel?

A notched trowel is used to spread adhesive and thin set. It differs from a regular trowel in that it has notches, usually on two sides of the blade. Running a notched trowel over adhesive or thinset leaves behind rows of the product. How much adhesive is left behind depends on the size of the notches; the larger the notch, the more material is left behind. The proper size notch depends on the size of the product being installed. Larger notches are required for larger tiles, while smaller notches are more commonly used to install small tile, flooring products like linoleum, and paneled products. Tile and flooring installers use notched trowels.

How is a notched trowel used?

While spreading adhesive or thin set with a notched trowel, it’s import that the trowel stays in contact with the substrate (wall, floor, etc.) so that the only material left behind is what flows through the notches. This will ensure a consistent application. It’s also important to create a pattern that runs in just one direction. Creating a checkered pattern will create air pockets, which will prevent full contact between the adhesive or thin set and the tile.

What are the different types of notched trowels? 

  • V-notched – Small tile, flooring products and panels, usually used with adhesive
  • Square-notched – General use, the type/size of the product determines the size of the notch
  • U-Notched – General use, the type/size of the product determines the size of the notch
  • Notched margin trowel – For tight spaces
  • Interchangeable handle – Requires less space for pros who need to haul a bunch of trowels

What makes a good notched trowel?

  • Some prefer U-shaped notches to square because there is less chance for creating air pockets
  • Rubber handle that feels comfortable

Rubi makes high quality trowels. 

Trowels hooked onto the edge of a bucket | Construction Pro Tips

Notched trowel tip

Trowels are bulky. If you have a bunch of them, consider storing them like this in a bucket.

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