Properly installing tile requires the use of tile adhesive, grout, and caulk. To use each of these materials properly, follow these simple rules:
- Use tile adhesive to glue tile to walls and floors.
- Grout the spaces between tiles on a flat surface.
- Use caulk where floor tile reaches the wall, in corners, and where backsplashes meet the wall.
These guidelines will make all of your tilework durable, long-lasting, and able to withstand the stress of everyday use.
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What Do You Put Between Tile and Wall?
When installing tile, spread thin-set adhesive on the floor or wall. Use this tile trowel to spread the adhesive so that it is grooved. Then, press your tiles into place. Make sure to use spacers to leave gaps for tile grout and caulk.
- Use thinset adhesive to adhere tiles to your wall or floor.
- Spread thinset adhesive with a special tile trowel.
- Press tiles firmly into place on top of adhesive.
- Use spacers to keep tiles uniformly spaced.
- Make sure to leave spaces at corners and edges where tile meets the wall.
It’s essential that you do not install your tile flush with the wall when installing floors. Also, if you are installing tile in a shower or kitchen backsplash, leave a 1/8 inch (3 mm) gap in the corners. Do not press tile up against another tile in corners, as this leaves no room to properly caulk corners.
When to Use Grout vs. Caulk When Tiling
When tiling, make sure the tiles are set and grout all the spaces between tiles on a flat surface. Use caulk in any corners and wherever tile meets another surface. This means caulk should be used where tile meets a fixture (such as a showerhead), in corners where there is tile on both walls, where tile meets another surface (either a wall or a bathtub), the gap between a baseboard and tile floor, and wherever tile ends and a wall begins.
- Only use grout between tiles on a flat surface.
- Use caulk in corners, around fixtures, and where tile meets a wall.
- This color-matched silicone caulk can be used to make caulk nearly indistinguishable from grout.
When caulking gaps where tile meets walls, fixtures, or other surfaces, use silicone caulk. Silicone caulk is waterproof. Plus, it can be found in clear varieties, as well as colored varieties that match nearly any shade of grout. Color caulk allows you to seal the appropriate places without ruining the appearance of your tile installation.
How Do You Fill a Gap Between Tile and Wall?
Use caulk to fill a gap between tile and wall. In fact, where a tile floor meets a wall, there should be a 1/8 inch (6 mm) gap between the tile and the wall. This helps account for heat expansion and your house settling. If your tile is flush against the wall, a settling house can crack tiles or grout. Because caulk is flexible, it makes the perfect material for filling gaps between tile and walls.
- Leave a 1/8 inch (6 mm) gap between the tile edges and the wall.
- Fill the gap between the tile and the wall with silicone caulk.
- Use silicone caulk at the edges of backsplashes and shower walls to prevent water from infiltrating behind the tile.
In some cases, your tile surface will terminate partway up a wall, such as when creating a tile shower wall or a kitchen backsplash. In these cases, it’s essential to use caulk to seal the exposed top and sides of the tile surface. This makes your tile waterproof. Without this caulking at the edges of the tile, it’s possible for water to enter behind your tile, damaging your wall.
Do You Use Grout or Caulk Where Tile Meets the Wall?
Use caulk to fill gaps where tile meets a wall, fixture, countertop, or other surfaces. This is essential because grout used in these areas is prone to cracking and falling out, which can allow water to infiltrate your tilework and ruin your tile job. The flexible caulk you use will keep your tile waterproof and hold up to stress. To make caulking easier, leave a 1/8 inch gap between the tile and the wall. Fill this gap with a bead of caulk.