07:11AM | 05/07/04
Member Since: 12/25/02
18 lifetime posts
I have successfully just installed my first tile floor (all by myself, can you tell I am pleased?). Grouting will happen this weekend, but I am finding it impossible to remove the spacers! I used 1/4" hard plastic spacers. I have tried prying them out, and chiseling them out, with little success. I am afraid if I get too agressive with the removal I'll chip the corners of my lovely tile.

Are there any tricks to getting the spacers out, or alternately, am I asking for trouble if I leave them in place and grout over them? Should I have done something differently in the installation tohat would have allowed easier spacer removal?


Tracy in Dolores, CO


10:01AM | 05/07/04
Member Since: 08/27/03
255 lifetime posts
I would probably just grout over em if they are low enough. Usually instead if sinking them in to the tile grout area, I prop them up using just one side of the spacer, so all the other sides are above the tile.


12:51PM | 05/07/04
Member Since: 06/06/03
1250 lifetime posts
Hey Tracy and welcome back! If you're tiling, home ownership must be agreeing with you :)

Like Floorcraft, I've taken to using spacers vertically so I can remove them easily after tiling. But I've also made the same mistake as you.

First, I'd make sure to wait a full 48 hours at least before grouting--really let the mastic set up. If you're dealing with heavy floor tile (or the like) you probably won't chip tiles if you take care. If it's light duty stuff (like wall tile) take extra caution. I've had some success using small needle-nose pliers, as well as prying spacers up (gently) using a small nail, screwdriver, etc. Good luck, I bet you can get most of them out.

Speaking of pliers, weren't you the one we were putting that 'beginners tool kit' together for? We had a good time with that! (OK, probably at your expense!)

Best regards,

-k2 in CO

Moderator, Miscellaneous Forum


01:52PM | 05/07/04
Member Since: 12/25/02
18 lifetime posts
Placing spacers vertically! Good thinking! Will do that for sure next time!

I had been trying to chisel the spacers out with a screw driver and hammer, but will go to a nail instead....sounds like that could work a bit better. I have tried using needle nose pliers, but haven't had much success. The tiles are 15" square porcelian floor tiles...saltillo in appearance. I did chip a small bit on one corner twisting a spacer out with the pliers :-(

I installed the tile last weekend, so everything is bone dry at this point.

Yep, that was me asking about the newbie homeowner tool kit, which was very helpful btw, and I am slowly putting it together.

My next semi-major tool purchase is some type of electric sander.

Yes, home ownership is great fun, but I have more projects on deck than I can ever possibly finish (at least that is how it seems!)

Thanks for the great advice!



05:20PM | 05/25/04
Member Since: 05/24/04
2 lifetime posts
The spacers can be safely left in place. You definitely risk damaging the tile by attempting to remove them. They serve to keep the tile in place once installed.

Good luck with your project


07:52AM | 05/26/04
Member Since: 12/25/02
18 lifetime posts
I already removed the spacers using a nail and hammer. It worked great without any damage to the tile or the mastic.

About half the spacers seemed to be sitting up rather high, and I worried that if I grouted over them the grout would eventually flake out, as it would be less than a 1/4 inch thick.

Have you ever had that problem when you grouted over the spacers? Not removing them sure would save time and energy!

Anyway, spacers are already removed and I grouted last weekend. It looks great and I am quite pleased with myself :-)

Now I just have to seal the grout, replace base boards and door jams, and paint! I wasn't planning on painting, but now with the lovely tile the walls really need a frsh coat!



10:13AM | 05/26/04
Member Since: 06/06/03
1250 lifetime posts
Hi again Tracy,

I know what you mean, about all of the sudden looking like the room needs painting. It never ceases to amaze me how great tile looks after grouting!

Congratulations on the project!

Best regards,

-k2 in CO

Moderator, Miscellaneous Forum


06:14PM | 05/27/04
Member Since: 03/15/04
28 lifetime posts
People! People! NO NO NO...please do not advise anyone to grout over the spacers unless the spacers are specifically designed to be left in. I can't tell you how much repair work I've picked up over the years thanks to someone else leaving the spacers in a tile job. You can see a cracked little X at every intersection. I always recommend removing, even if the spacer says it can be left in. Thanks
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