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Having the proper size trowel is the primary prerequisite for having smooth, standard, and aesthetic tile work done.
Like any other tile, a 20 x 20 tile also requires a specific size of the trowel.
So, what size trowel for a 20×20 tile or what type of trowel you need is the primary question you might ask before setting up the tiles.
What Size Trowel For 20×20 Tile?
The ideal trowel size for a standard installation of 20 x 20 tile is a square-notched “1/2 x 1/2” inch. Usually, a bigger size is always better.
But having a 3/8 x ¼ trowel also does the job if you have swift hands. Overall, it all will depend on the tile size, surface, and mortar thickness.
Available Trowel Size For A 20 X 20 Tile:
|Small||3/8 x ¼ inches||Square-notched|
|Big||1/2 x ½ inches||Square-notched|
How To Choose The Right Trowel Size:
Knowing the thumb rule solves half the problem for you. If you are working with mosaic tiles, you should use a tile trowel with a V-notch.
On the other hand, if you are working with huge tiles, you should use a tile trowel with a square-notch.
But there is a secret that only a few people know. In actuality, the amount of mortar your trowel can cover is more important than the trowel size in the first place.
On the other hand, the mortar coverage thickness is affected by the surface where you will install the tile. So, the factors that will affect the size of the trowel are:
- Trowel size
- The needed mortar coverage
- The surface of tile installation
Measure The Trowel:
Tile trowel size is determined mostly by the teeth’s size and spacing.
When you spread the thinset out, the towel size indicates how much of it will be left behind on the substrate by the trowel.
Put simply, the teeth’s size and spacing of the trowel determine how much thinset, after setting the tile, there will be between the substrate and the tile.
We usually have two major types of trowels (U-notched and Square notched). We measure them using the same technique.
- The first number tells you about the notch width
- The second number tells you about the notch depth.
Trowel With Square Notches:
The equation for a one-measurement trowel is very simple. Here, 1/2 x 1/2 indicates that both the measurements are equal.
A square-notched trowel of 1/4″ x 3/8″ will leave thinset ridges on the substrate that are 3/8 inch high and 1/4 inch wide.
Meanwhile, between each ridge, the space will be 1/4 inch.
So, if you have a 3/8 x ¼ inches trowel, you know what it means. So, carefully inspect and see if the thinset amount is appropriate or not.
Trowel With U Notches:
Trowels with U-notches almost never have more than one number. So, this indicates both the depth and width.
You will get half-round ridges with this trowel. So, it is clearly not suitable for a 20 x 20 tile installation.
Mortar Coverage Is The Most Important Consideration:
It is critical to ensure that each tile has the appropriate amount of mortar underneath it.
The back of each ceramic tile must adhere to the ANSI installation guidelines for ceramic tiles, which stipulate that there must be a minimum amount of mortar coverage.
It doesn’t matter if you’re working with a manual trowel or a trowel machine; the same standards apply to both.
So, according to the American National Standards Institute, the minimum requirement for mortar coverage ranges from 80% to 95% based on the concerned space.
|Description of the space||Minimum mortar coverage|
|Considerably dry areas||95%|
|Natural stone tiles||80%|
For instance, if you are installing tiles in your shower or bathroom, you just need 80% mortar coverage.
Now, you apply the specific type of trowel and see If you get this desired coverage or not.
So, you can roughly guess what size trowel is going to do your job. But when you inspect the mortar coverage, you be certain of the size of the trowel.
How To Test The Mortar Coverage:
- Apply the mortar very carefully. Then, place one of the tiles over it.
- Pull the trowel back up immediately.
- Now, inspect the back of the trowel. Check the quantity that was distributed on the tile backface.
This is the most effective method for determining whether or not the tiles are gaining the appropriate coverage.
Your trowel is not creating enough coverage if the distribution of the mortar is not uniform.
A blank space of 15% in the backface also refers to the uneven distribution. Even a 5% blank space in the wet condition is critical.
Consider The Surface For Installation:
The surface of the space plays a critical role here. When laying tiles on a floor that slopes, you need to use mortar that is far thicker than you would normally use.
When the surface is flat and tight, a little less amount of mortar can do the job. So, consider it all to determine the mortar level and trowel size.
Give Preference To Your Personal Choice:
It is your home or office space. So, your personal preference should have a say.
The sort of tile trowel you choose for a particular installation will depend on your personal choice as well.
Larger tiles require larger trowels. Always use a bigger trowel than necessary. A little additional thinset is okay, but not enough will disrupt the installation.
FAQs About Trowel Size For 20×20 Tile:
Can I Use A 3/4″ X 3/4″ Trowel For 20 X 20 Tile?
No, you should not use it. It is too small for a tile of 20 x 20. So, the mortar distribution will be poor and you will require a lot of time. Ultimately, a poor installation will be the result.
What Happens If Thinset Is Too Thick?
The bond between the substrate and tile will be very poor. An uneven surface, oozing between tiles will be the least of the problems for too much thinset. To ensure that the tile is firmly attached to the subsurface, only use the needed amount of thinset.
Is Thinset A Must For 20 X 20 Tile?
No, using mortar is the most ideal option for the installation of a 20 x 20 tile. Just ensure the uniform distribution of mortar to get a quality installation.
So, knowing what size trowel for 20×20 tile does half the job for you. The type of the trowel also has a considerable impact.
The rest depends on how well you utilize your equipment.
But if you don’t have the needed trowel, no amount of effort or expertise will save the day.
Always keep in mind that nothing matters more than the perfect size trowel for a top-notch and flawless tile installation.