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5 Favorite Tools for Tile Projects

Great gear for an easier job and better results.

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1 / 5

Margin Trowel

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!

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2 / 5

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.

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3 / 5

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.

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4 / 5

Suction cup

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.

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5 / 5

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.

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