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Thin-set for Tile…Do’s and Don’ts

What’s the best way to apply thin-set for tile?

Today you’ll learn perhaps some of the most important tips ever when it comes to setting tile.

Sal DiBlasi, who’s been a tile setter for over 32 years, is going to give you great tips. Sal and I partnered on today’s tutorial because there’s nothing worse than seeing failed tile jobs.

If you don’t properly set tile in thin-set it could fall off the wall, mold could build up behind the tile and you might have to redo your tile.

Needless to say, we think our tutorial is a must for anyone tiling a bathroom.


Getting Started…Choose the Correct Trowel

What type of trowel should you use when tiling?

Well, most of the time that will be dictated by the size of tile.

Choosing an undersized trowel will lead to poor bonding between the tile and substrate.

For example, in the picture below I’m holding a KERDI trowel on the left. It has 1/8 inch by 1/8 inch square notches.

Trowel Size

You would never EVER use this trowel to set tile. It’s only meant to install KERDI or KERDI-BOARD.

The trowel on the right is a 1/4 inch by 3/8 inch by 1/4 inch square notched trowel. This kind of trowel is more suitable for setting certain tiles in thin-set.

Watch Sal’s video on how to pick a trowel…it’s pretty awesome.

The Do’s and Don’ts of Thin-set for Tile

Sal and I love YouTube.

We both enjoy teaching and that’s why we make videos.

But there’s also a lot of garbage on the internet. Especially when it comes to tile setting.

One of the biggest problems is seeing folks incorrectly set tile in thin-set.

Here are some BIG Don’ts

  1. Globs of thin-set on tile or substrates
  2. Inadequate trowel size for the tile
  3. Circular application of thin-set to tile or substrate
  4. Not adhering to TCNA (Tile Council of North America) Guidelines
  5. Improper back buttering

We tackle all these Don’ts in our video and then share the proper way to apply thin-set.

Sal and I encourage you to watch this video before setting tile

What’s Next

If you’re looking for more tiling tips I encourage you to subscribe to Sal’s YouTube channel.

If you’re doing a bathroom remodel and need help, join one of our online courses – they’ll make your bathroom renovation much easier!

Let me know if you have any questions and I’ll do my best to help.



Schluter Thin-Set