When do you remove the spacers when laying tile?

Updated February 21, 2017

Tile spacers are small pieces of plastic or metal that you place between tiles to ensure an even grout joint throughout the tiled space. Using uniform tile spacers when laying tile means you do not have to manually measure the distance between each tile before you lay it. You insert tile spacers between the tiles before applying the mortar. Removing the spacers is simple.

Apply the mortar or other tile adhesive to the backs of the tile. Hold the measuring portion of the spacer flush against the wall or adjacent tile, then tuck the new tile against the spacer.

Let the adhesive and tile spacers sit for half the drying time directed on the package.

Pull the spacers up and out of the grout joints. Removing them before the mortar completely dries will prevent them from getting stuck in the joints, but still allows enough time for the mortar to harden and secure the tiles in place.

Let the mortar dry for the rest of the directed time before applying grout to the spaced joints.

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Based in Richmond, Va., Dawn Gibbs writes about topics such as history, fashion, literature, crafts, alternative medicine and healthy living. Her work has appeared on and several style websites. Gibbs holds a Bachelor of Arts in history from Virginia Commonwealth University.