• January 30, 2024
  • by Ricky Attard
  • 37

You’ve chosen your tiles, and now you’re ready to start with tiling, right? It’s easy to know how many tiles you need, but one small detail many people could forget when doing their tiling projects is making sure you have enough tile spacers. So, how many tile spacers do you actually need? 

The amount of tile spacers needed depends on how many tiles will be laid and the size of the tiles. The easiest way to calculate how many tile spacers are needed is by multiplying the number of tiles you have by the amount of corners on each tile. Try using our chart to calculate how many spacers you’ll need.

Read on to find out how utilising tile spacers ensures that your bathrooms, kitchens, and all things tile-related turn out perfectly. Let’s get to it!

Why Must I Use Tile Spacers? 

Tile spacers are the tool that can make all the difference between whether a tiling job looks professional or not. They do this by keeping a consistent pattern when laying down tiles and are all equidistant from each other when the grout is being applied. Using tiling spacers can also give you an extensive range of design options for tiling projects. 

What Size Tile Spacer Should I Use? 

The size tile spacers will determine the width of the grout lines – which will be a strong feature of the overall design. So when it comes to choosing the size of the tile spacer you use, it will usually come down to your personal preference. 

For those who are tiling their own place, you can choose whatever size you want. When you’re tiling for a customer, ALWAYS get your client’s opinion to ensure the design and grout lining is what they want. 

In order to ensure tiles have enough stress relief, it is a common practice that tile spacers should be: 

  • 2 – 3 mm for wall spacers
  • 3 – 5 mm for floor spacers

What different types of tile spacers do I need?

There are five different types of tile spacers that are used for tiling jobs.

  • Cross spacers (x-shaped)
  • TAVY spacers
  • T-shaped spacers
  • U-shaped spacers
  • Wedge spacers

How Do I Use Tile Spacers?

Tile spacers are relatively easy to utilise and when used correctly, they can give your tiles a really professional look. Here’s how to use your tile spaces to get your desired outcome. 

  1. Pre-test your tiles and tile spacers – before you even consider placing down the tile adhesive and grout, always do a trial run of your design. This will allow you to see what the finished job is going to look like. This will also allow you to see if there are any unusual sections that might impact your design so you can adjust accordingly. 
  2. Start at the centre – Find the centre of your room or area where you are going to lay down your tiles (using the length and the width of the area of the place). Next, you can go ahead and use a laser level or chalk lines to create your gridline for the tiles – this step is important as it ensures your tiles and spacers will be aligned correctly. 
  3. Lay your first tile – ensure that when you’re laying tiles, the first one is in line with your reference point (using the chalk line or laser) when you put down your first tile. 
  4. Add your tile spacers – once the first tile is laid, place a tile spacer flush on each corner. To ensure your tiles are laid level, you should use tile levelling clips, which hold the tile in place to eliminate warps and lippage.  
  5. Add the next tile – place your next new tile snugly against the spacers of the first one and continue to place more spacers flush against each tile that you lay. Repeat this process until all the tiles are laid.
  6. Remove the spacers – after 20 – 30 minutes, once all the tiles have been laid and before the adhesive fully seals, remove tile spacers (using either needle-nosed pliers or your fingers). The amount of time may vary depending on the brand of adhesive you use, so check the manufacturer’s information on the package for accurate drying time. 
  7. Time to grout – once all the spacers have been removed, and you have your grout lines, you can start grouting to fill in all the gaps and bond the tiles together tightly. 

Tips and tricks for tile spacing

  1. Planning is pivotal – especially when it comes to the spacing of your tiles because mapping out your tile design before using adhesive and grouting will help you see if it’s going to fit the way you want it. Once it’s all in front of you, you’ll see if there are any unusual sections and what it’s going to look like in the end. So, if your design needs to be adjusted in any way, it can be before anything is fixed. 
  2. Use chalk lines or lasers – the way to ensure precision is to always line up your tiles, either using chalk or lasers.
  3. An extra mm of spacing won’t hurt – not all walls are always going to be equidistant, and not all rooms are completely square; this means that sometimes adding a larger spacing between the tiles can save you from needing to make those small cuts. It also minimises the impact on the job, especially if the discrepancy is an issue.  
  4. Don’t go below 2 mm spacing for wall tiles and 3 mm spacing for floor tiles – all walls and floors have a minimum space requirement for stress relief. This is due to them being subject to movement caused by the change in climate conditions and other circumstances. Without the minimum space for stress relief, this could cause your tiles to buckle or crack.
  5. Smaller rooms need smaller spacers – if you want to give the impression of a larger space for those smaller rooms. Keep to using smaller spacers, as this allows you to use more tiles.

Final Thoughts

Using tile spacers is a sure way to give your tile installation a precise and professional look that most people want in their homes – so tiling doesn’t have to be left to the professionals if you know how many tile spacers you need and how to use them. The amount you need will be specific to the space you’re tiling as well as the size of the tile you’re using, so always check our graph before going ahead. But now you’ve got the tools, materials and know-how, so happy tiling!