Pick a Large-Notched Trowel for Big Tile
Tiles as large as 2 ft. square have become more popular, and these monsters require a deep layer of thin-set to allow for adjustments. To get the right amount of thin-set, use a 1/2 x 1/2-in. notched trowel for tiles up to 16 in. square, and a 3/4 x 3/4-in. notched trowel for larger tiles. Don't forget: Using large notched trowels means you'll need a lot more thin-set. As a general rule, a 50-lb. bag of thin-set will cover about 40 to 50 sq. ft. using a 1/2 x 1/2-in. notched trowel, and about 30 to 40 sq. ft. using a 3/4 x 3/4-in. notched trowel. When you use large notched trowels like this, look for thin-set labeled “medium bed,” “large tile” or “large format.”
Cut Without Cracking the Tile
You'll need a diamond wet saw to cut large porcelain tiles. It's a good idea to rent a contractor-quality saw for about $60 per day rather than buying a cheapie. But even with a saw like this, tiles larger than about 8 in. square have a tendency to crack before you finish the cut, often ruining the tile. You can help prevent this by pressing the two pieces together as you near completion of the cut. Holding the tile like this stabilizes it and dampens vibration, resulting in a cleaner cut.