Even if you’re a beginner, you probably know that there are different sizes of trowels for various types of tiles.
But what size trowel should you use for the 3×12 tile? Many people ask this question, but this question’s answer isn’t always clear.
When it comes to tile, one size does not fit all. Different thicknesses, sizes, and shapes of tile require different-sized trowels.
This article will help you figure out the right size trowel for your project.
What Size Trowel For 3×12 Tile?
for 3×12 tile, the most common trowel size is a 1/2-inch square notch. This size will allow you to apply enough mortar to the back of the tile so that it will adhere to the surface you’re tiling. To work with a different size or type of tile, select the trowel that best suits your project.
Recommended Trowel: RTC 1/2 x 1/2 Inch Square Notch Stainless Steel Tile Trowel
Trowel Size Chart for 3×12 Tile:
|Trowel Size||Tiles Size|
|3/16″ to 1/4″ V-notch||Mosaics tiles up to 4-1/2″ glazed wall tile|
|1/4″ x 1/4″ U or Square notch||4″ to 8″ tile|
|1/4″ x 3/8″ U or Square notch||8″ to 16″ tiles|
|1/2″ x 1/2″ U or Square notch||16″ and larger|
How Is Trowel Size Calculated?
Not all trowels are created equal. The size of the trowel you need depends on the tile you’ve chosen.
You’ll also need to consider the thickness of your mortar bed, as well as the size and depth of your tiles.
There are two basic types of trowels: The square-notched and U-notched are two different types of notches.
They’re both identified by their size, shape, and number of notches. Below we will give you how to calculate the size.
The square-notched trowel has evenly spaced notches along both sides and one end. The depth of the notches is usually 1/4 inch.
This type of trowel is good for small to medium-sized tiles, as well as for larger tiles that have an irregular surface.
Besides, using a 1/2″ x 1/2″ square-notched trowel will produce 1/2″ ridges of thin-set on the substrate with 1/2″ gaps between each ridge.
A tile trowel with only one measurement implies that both the width and depth of the notches are the same.
On the other hand, with a 1/4″ x 3/8″ square-notched trowel, you’ll create 1/4″ wide by 3/8″ high ridges of thin set on the substrate, with 1/4″ gaps between each ridge.
A U-notched trowel has deeper notches on one side and shallower notches on the other. The depth of the notches is usually 3/8″ inches.
When you apply a thin set with a U-notched trowel, it creates half-round ridges on the surface.
Now that you know the basic types of trowels, you’re ready to calculate the size you need for your project.
To do this, you’ll need to know the thickness of your mortar bed (not including the tile) and the size of your tiles.
As an example, if you have a 1/4″ x 3/16″ U-notched trowel, then it will leave 1/4″ wide thin-set ridges with 3/16″ gaps between them.
A U-notched trowel is preferred for large format tiles or those with an irregular surface.
With either type of trowel, you can create deeper or shallower notches by using different strokes.
For example, a shallow notch is created by using only the very tips of the notches, while a deep notch is made by dragging the entire length of the blade across the surface.
Now that you know how to calculate the size of the trowel you need, you’re ready to start your project.
It’s always best idea to follow the manufacturer’s instructions for the best results.
Most Common Trowel Sizes And Uses
1/8″ x 1/8″ notch
This size of the trowel is used in small mosaic tiles. Also, it is used for thinner set beds, such as those used with heated floors.
1/4″ x 1/4″ U notch
It is one of the most common size trowels in the tiling industry.
This size is used on walls for shower surrounds, tub decks, or any area where there will be light to moderate foot traffic.
3/16″ x 3/16″ square notch
Used most often in areas with very heavy foot traffic, such as commercial kitchens or pool decks.
1/2″ x 1/2″ square notch
It is a smaller size of the square notch trowel, It is used in often areas where a thinner bead of thin-set is desired, such as with glass tiles or small mosaic tiles.
1/4″ x 1/2″ square notch
The deepest of the square notched trowels, this size is typically used in areas where an extra deep bead of thin-set is desired, such as with large format tiles or those with an irregular surface.
Slant and euro notch
These trowels have a slanted or beveled edge rather than the traditional square or U shape.
They are most often used in areas where a very thin bead of thin-set is desired, such as with glass tiles or small mosaic tiles.
When choosing a tile trowel, the two main factors to consider are the size and shape of the notch and the depth of the notch.
The size and shape of the notch will determine the amount of coverage you get with each pass of the trowel, while the depth of the notch will determine how deep the thin-set ridges will be.
Tips for Successful Tile Installation with the Correct Trowel Size
Proper tile installation is a meticulous process that involves several critical steps. Using the correct trowel size is just one aspect of this multi-faceted task.
Preparing Your Surface
The foundation of successful tiling is a smooth, clean surface. It’s vital to eliminate all dust and debris.
In cases of an uneven surface, applying a leveling compound and allowing it to dry is essential before proceeding with the tiling.
Achieving Full Coverage
Attaining full coverage is paramount to ensure the tiles adhere correctly. This involves applying adhesive with a trowel of the appropriate size, spreading it uniformly while maintaining the trowel at a 45-degree angle. A firm press on each tile into the adhesive is necessary.
Navigating Obstacles and Edge Work
Encountering obstacles like pipes or the need for precise edge work requires special attention. Accurately measuring and marking the tile that necessitates cutting is crucial.
Depending on the type of cut, one may use a tile cutter for straight edges or a tile nipper for curves, with safety glasses being an essential precaution.
How Do You Know What Size Trowel To Use On The Tile?
Finding the perfect size trowel for your tile installation project may seem like a daunting task, but it doesn’t have to be.
The size of the trowel you use is determined by the size of the tile you are using.
For example, if you are using a 3/8″ square-notched trowel, you will need to make sure that the tile is at least 3/8″ thick. If not, the tile may crack when you try to set it.
What Size Notched Trowel Do You Need?
Notched trowels come in a variety of sizes. The most common sizes trowel we have given in above. The size you need will depend on the thickness of your tile.
When you are using a 1/2″ thick tile, you will need to use a 1/2″ x 1/2″ square-notched trowel.
If you are using a 3/8″ thick tile, you will need to use a 3/8″ x 3/8″ square-notched trowel.
What Happens If The Thin-Set Is Too Thick?
If the thin set is too thick, it will not adhere properly to the tile and will not provide a strong bond.
Also, The use of a thin-set may induce an uneven surface, ooze between tiles, and create a bad connection between the tiles and your substrate.
This can cause the tile to crack or come loose over time. It is important to use the correct size trowel for your tile so that you do not run into this problem.
What Happens If You Put Too Much Mortar Under Tile?
Applying too much mortar under the tile can cause several problems.
First, it can cause the tiles to become uneven, which will create an unsightly appearance.
Second, it can increase the chances of the tile cracking or coming loose over time.
Third, it can make it difficult to clean the excess mortar off of the tile before it dries.
Finally, it can create a safety hazard if someone were to slip on the wet mortar and fall.
We hope this article helped explain what size trowel to use for your tile installation project.
Now, as you know that the size of the trowel you use is determined by the size of the tile you are using.
So, make sure you choose the correct size trowel so that your tile installation will be a success.