Do I Need Spacers For Floor Tiles?

If you’re considering starting a new tiling project, thousands of questions may pop into your head before you get started. Surely, you may have heard the word “Tile Spacers”, while learning about tiling installation. Hence, you may be asking yourself specifically what they are and do you need spacers for floor tiles. 

We guess your curiosity has brought you here. Hence, we are here not to disappoint you and going to give you a clear concept on spacers for floor tiles. 

A tile installation project can be successful when the tiles are lined perfectly and maintain a standard distance between them. And this is only possible with the help of tile spacers. It’s a must thing to have while you are thinking about floor tiling.

Do you want to know more? Of course you do. So without further ado, let’s explain the whole thing in detail.

Do I Need Spacers For Floor Tiles?

Do you need spacers for floor tile?

Typically, warm weather causes pressure in the room. The pressure increases significantly for a certain period. For that reason, the cracking and expansion of tiles happens. 

However, a gape between the tiles can simply solve the problem. That is why you need to put spacers between tiles to avoid this situation. Because of spacers, 

  • The tiles stay straight and even.
  • The tile floor will get symmetry and a professional finish.
  • It helps to maintain the exact distance between tiles
  • protects the tile floor’s integrity
  • It creates a separation point when floor tiles meet the wall.

Since most subway tiles have grooves on the sides, a 1/16′′ grout line is automatically created. So, subway tile without spacers are not a problem but other tiles can be totally damaged or crooked if there are no spacers.

Therefore, neglecting these little tiny things can bring a great loss of money and safety.

Do I Need Spacers For Floor Tiles?
Do you need spacers for floor tile?

What to use instead of tile spacers

As alternatives to tile spacers, in the 1950, professional tile installers used nails, sticks, screws, ropes. At that time, tile spacers were not even invented. Nowadays, match sticks, pennies, and cardboard are also passable as substitutes for tile spacers.

You just need a little bit of crafting and a few steps to follow before setting them on the floor. In case of using cupboard, you have to follow the following steps,

Step 1: cut the cupboard into strips about 15 mm wide and 25 mm long. 

Step 2: Then place them at each end of the tile and one at the top to get the side spacing. 

If you want to use coins instead of spacers, just set them on every side of the tile. Additionally, using coins is easier and saves your time too.

Do I Need Spacers For Floor Tiles?
What to use instead of tile spacers

What size spacers to use for tile

The size of the tile spacers might vary widely. Based on this, some standard measurements have to be considered. Look throughout the given table to get a clear idea of the suitable size of spacers according to the tile types. Throughout the table, you also get few answers to the similar question like, can I use 2mm spacers for floor tiles.

Types of tiles installation Size of spacersSpace need between tiles
Ceramic wall tile installation 2mm-3mm1/16”
Ceramic floor tile installation 5mm1.5mm-2mm
Porcelain 3mm2mm
Marbel 3mmNot more than ⅛’
Granite3mm1/16” 
Hexagon tile2mm⅛”
Do I Need Spacers For Floor Tiles?
What size spacers to use for tile?

How long to leave wall tile spacers in?

Tile spacers support tile alignment during installation. It also prevents tiles from moving while the adhesive cures. Therefore, they need to remain in the correct position for about 20 to 30 minutes.

Now a question may arise, do you leave tile spacers in? Absolutely not. If the tile spacers are left in too long, they can become attached to the adhesive, which makes them difficult to remove. 

FAQ

Can you lay tile without spacing?

No. When the room temperature gets high, tiles expand. If it doesn’t get enough space, it breaks out. So it needs space. If the tiles get proper space, they can easily expand. 

How long should thinset dry before removing spacers?

Thinset mortar takes 20-30 minutes to start getting dry before removing spacers.

How long should thinset mortar dry before grouting?

Before grouting the tiles, at least 24 hours should pass. You can see that the thinset at the borders  appears dry. Don’t let this fool you. The thinset behind the tiles isn’t entirely dried because it isn’t getting as much air as the edges. So you have to wait 24 hours to get it fully dried. 

Do you leave tile spacers in when grouting?

Not at all. Don’t ever leave tile spacers in when grouting. 

Can you tile a floor without spacers

Tiling a floor without spacers is not a wise decision. Several things can happen. Due to the absence of spacers, tiles will be set too near together. Consequently, when they expand, they might get chipped or dislodged. In that case, spacers offer a more stable, long-lasting surface.

Verdict

Hopefully, you have the answer now whether you need spacers for floor tiles?”. Yes, after reading the article, you should now know everything possible to complete your tile installation job. 

Although the installation process with spacers may be challenging, the outcome will be really worth it. However, if you don’t skip any of the mentioned steps to set the tile spacers, be sure that your ceramic floor tiles will last for many years.

You can learn more why do my feet stick to the shower floor?

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