How to Lay Tile Without Grout Lines

Written by katie jensen
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How to Lay Tile Without Grout Lines
Marble floors are often laid without grout lines. (marble image by Empath from

Tile laid without grout lines looks more like a solid piece of stonework than individual tiles. Choose stone for the project, as ceramic and porcelain tiles have edges that are bevelled. There will be a slight dip between each of the tiles. Grout makes these slight dips barely noticeable. Marble and stone tiles are cut straight across without the bevelled edges and will butt up right next to each other.

Skill level:

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Things you need

  • Cleaning materials
  • Chalk
  • String
  • Hook
  • Carpenter's level
  • Thin set
  • Trowel
  • Tiles
  • Stone cleaner
  • Stone sealer

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  1. 1

    Clean the surface to be tiled by vacuuming and scrubbing it down with soap and water. Rinse the surface. Clean cement with muriatic acid, if necessary.

  2. 2

    Snap a straight line on the surface to be tiled using chalk and string. Rub the string with the chalk. When it's snapped against the surface, the chalk will transfer from the string to the surface. Attach the string to one end of the surface or have a helper hold it. Move the string until it is visually straight. Lay the straight edge of a carpenter's level against the line. The bubble should be in the exact centre of the level. Hold the string taunt and snap the string crisply against the surface. The line must be centred and exactly straight. Double check it with a carpenter's level from the beginning to the end. If the line is crooked, the tile for the entire project will be off centre.

  3. 3

    Mix thin set per the package directions.

  4. 4

    Butter the back of the tile with 1/4 inch of thin set using a trowel. Lay the tile on the surface butting up against the chalk line perfectly. Butter the back of the next tile and place it right up against the first tile with as little gap as possible. Continue until the first line of tile is laid. Check it with the carpenter's level to make sure it's straight.

  5. 5

    Lay the tile on the other side of the chalk line making sure the tiles are right next to each other. Again check to see if the lines are straight.

  6. 6

    Remove any thin set that extrudes between the tiles by gently wiping it with a damp cloth.

  7. 7

    Continue laying tile on the surface until the project is complete. Let the tiles set up in the thin set for 24 hours.

  8. 8

    Clean the tiles with tile cleaner to remove any excess thin set. Seal them with stone sealer to keep them clean.

Tips and warnings

  • Blow on the chalk line to remove the chalk rather than rubbing it, which just smears the chalk.
  • Patience is key. Because there are no gaps for grout, there is very little margin for error.

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