No spacers on the floor! [Archive] - Ceramic Tile Advice Forums - John Bridge Ceramic Tile


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Tile Tiki
10-28-2008, 02:24 PM
When we lay floors,people are always asking why we arent using spacers.There is nothing more irritating than having to explain over and over how spacers arent NECESSARY whe laying floors!To me true journeyman tilesetters grid the floor.Does anyone agree?

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10-28-2008, 02:27 PM
we dont use spacers we chalk lines out. we may use spacers to establish what grout line we want to use though.

10-28-2008, 02:28 PM
Hi Tiki!

No argument here. Grid for floors is the way to go for sure. I'm not even a tile pro but I have read John's fine Tile Your World book and grids make sense. :D

Lots of good company hereabouts, please add a name to your signature using the User CP function. Might want to introduce yourself a bit in the Pro Hangout as well. :)

10-28-2008, 02:30 PM
Yes I agree, if you are very careful about laying out your grid, don't have many door openings to go through and the tile is fairly consistant. The last floor I did with a grid, my helper had difficulty staying with it and I had to take up several rows to reset. I then swore off using a chaulk line to grid floors and went back to spacers.

Rd Tile
10-28-2008, 02:37 PM
I do both and nothing wrong with it, reference lines and spacers.:)

And use spacers with stone almost all the time.:)

10-28-2008, 02:44 PM
I almost never totally grid off a floor. A nice square cross hair on the floor where I need it to begin, and from those control lines, I'll measure off to a straight edge as I go. I do use spacers in the field and I think they work great.

Spacers keep you running square and prevent your tiles from getting cocked.
Keeps everybody behaving. :)

Spacers are good.

10-28-2008, 02:49 PM

when i first started laying tile i used to come off my line all the time but its been awhile since ive gone down that road especially if you must finish with a full tile if you start full then its a different story.

Dave Gobis
10-28-2008, 04:49 PM
My response on floors has always been "I don't need training wheels no more".

10-28-2008, 04:51 PM
And this is coming from a guy with a trike in his avatar. :yeah:

10-28-2008, 04:52 PM
well you have them on your motorcycle.... :lol1:

10-28-2008, 05:19 PM
And use spacers with stone almost all the time.
I could not agree more, with a stone or tile that is very size consistent I feel more confident

10-28-2008, 06:23 PM
I use chalk lines on all my floors. The floor will be just as square and straight as your lines. Get your lines on the money and the floor will be too. Unless your tile is precise in size, the spacers will let the floor walk off. If you pop lines then any differences in tile size will be made up in the joint. If you have a couple large tiles together, the joint will close up a little but the floor will remain straight overall. :)

10-28-2008, 06:54 PM
My response on floors has always been "I don't need training wheels no more".
So, which are the "training wheels", the spacers, or the grid?:shrug:

I use the grid. Spacers are inaccurate, and too slow. I'm slow enough as it is.:D

10-28-2008, 06:56 PM
Come on now Davy all tiles are the same size and square :lol1:

10-28-2008, 07:13 PM
I usually snap a couple of reference lines to get me going straight and then I do mostly use spacers as I go......I use the tavy's and have found that they have saved several floors if somebody walks on it when their not supposed to--
I have done the grid method, but most of my work is really cut up and almost impossible to grid out... I've seen guys that don't use spacers laying in different baths in the same house and have a lot of differences in grout lines too.... I guess whatever method you are most comfy with

Dan Kramer
10-28-2008, 07:22 PM
I agree. No spacers on the floor. Spacers (tilespikes) are for wall use only.

10-28-2008, 07:32 PM
On floors, gravity is good. Walls, gravity not so good.:)

10-28-2008, 07:35 PM
on walls i use spacers but they arent always the same size so i use wedges to fine tune my spacers this really makes installs sweet.

irish tileguy in michigan
10-28-2008, 07:42 PM
Same here , no spacers on floors, but use tilespikes ( the greatest invention since beer ) on walls.

Scottish Tile and Stone
10-28-2008, 08:16 PM
I usually just toss the tiles on the floor like I'm playing cornhole, or pitching horsehoes.. so far works pretty good.

10-28-2008, 08:22 PM
Please, Spacers will just slow you down on any floor. I have not yet worked with a tile that is perfect. spacers make it so you can't adjust for any differences in the tile. Plus it slows you down. I learned this on my very first tile job 12 years ago. I saved time even on that job.

10-28-2008, 08:31 PM
I have not yet worked with a tile that is perfect.
Peronda brand tile is about as consistent size tile that I have ever seen. Just did a 400 ft entry with the stuff. Not one chipped or cracked tiles out of the carton and everyone was the exact same size. really nice stuff.

10-29-2008, 06:11 PM
I started in the trade using spacers.In the southwest most homeowners ask for tile in halls,closets,pantries,etc.,everywhere and to make things easy,they request starting full tile somewhere in the entry of the house.For many years using spacers,I had to set one course into the hall,into the hall bath,into the closet,into the bedrooms and work my way out and walk in and out carring tile and thinset in a foot and a half of hall.Very annoying and stressful.Nowadays,with layout,thank God.I hardly touch the cutter.I lay it out ask my helper to dry cut the area I want to start.Spread and set all day,no cutting at all.I can start anywhere working my way out with no clutter behind me.My two cents.I recomend it to anyone using spacers.

10-29-2008, 06:15 PM
I forgot to mention,with spacers you always have to wait for the helper to get you the cut.If you have to take some out cuz it didnt fit,send out the helper again and wait some more.Also got alot of cramps behind my legs trying to keep my toes up to avoid moving the tiles.

10-29-2008, 06:31 PM
Come on now Davy all tiles are the same size and square
I was waiting for that.

homeowner/handiman: "I don't want to pay an installer, so I'll do it myself.
I want to save money so I buy HD tile for 1/sf.
After all, I'll just use spacers...."

even if their tile/stone is somewhat symmetric, their layout usually sucks, to they uniformily keep repeating the same mistake, over and over and over...

10-29-2008, 07:23 PM
I don't think it's a one or the other proposition. For me it depends on the size of the room (no way you can lay out and chalk lines in a 150 sf chopped up master bath faster, I'll be half done before you mix thinset :) ) and whether or not I have a second set of hands on that day (chalking lines is easy with two people, a little more time consuming with one).

10-29-2008, 07:56 PM
Really doesn't seem to be much of an issue to me. A small bath floor I do a couple of quick measures to see roughly how the tile will fit, slap down some mud and spacers away, done . go home.
Larger area, more features, more concern about how the lines will fit to cabinets doors etc for visual effect- I lay out some tile on a flat part of floor- with spacers to get the sizes. You know, a tile that is 11 and 13/64 with a 3mm joint, now what do 23 of those add up to? I just lay them down with spacers and measure. Then we grid if we are staring in different rooms or snap a boss line and use spacers. It is true that on the occasional very rare time you will find tile that are slightly different sizes (yes that's a joke), but the fact is they tend to be consistently inconsistent and with the same space they will tend to work out. A little tile spike here and there- no problem.
Like Nathan-san said- it just depends. I think some people snub spacers as a DIY thing, who cares if it works.
Now this 24 inch Chinese slate we're doing- think I'll grid that.

10-29-2008, 08:13 PM
You guys like em? Seems like everyone does except for me. They fall out of walls too easily and they make it so I can't feel my corners. But my boss loves em so I'm curious about any tips out there.

crow wing
10-29-2008, 08:30 PM
Did 1000 sq ft with laser square and sharpie, three closets two baths kitchen and bed room and you can look at it from any angle or doorway its all square.

wedges are best for walls, I always start from level screed boards and then its easy to go to town!

10-29-2008, 09:38 PM
You guys like em? Seems like everyone does except for me. They fall out of walls too easily and they make it so I can't feel my corners. But my boss loves em so I'm curious about any tips out there.

I hate 'em too. :twitch:

Northwest Tile Guy
10-29-2008, 10:52 PM
I use taveys on floors sometimes and other times it is snap a line and go. It all depends on what you are doing.

10-30-2008, 07:17 AM
we switched to the horseshoe spacers for the walls they allow full viewing of the corners.

Dave Gobis
10-30-2008, 09:30 AM
The trike is for bad knees. Too many years of grid work.

10-30-2008, 06:11 PM
Sure it is. :yeah: I'm fine unless i do a large mud floor,maybe 2000 ft.or the weather dips below 50,then my knees rust up. :bow: