a margin trowel being used to spread thinset adhesive onto a surface

Margin Trowel

Originally contributed by Jeff Butler • last updated 2/23/2021

Whether you’re redoing the backsplash in your kitchen or you’re laying new ceramic tile flooring in the bathroom, tiling can be both a difficult and rewarding job for even the most experienced DIYer. However, many of those difficulties can be avoided by making sure you’re using the right materials and tools. Everything, from the thinset down to the margin trowel, should be planned out accordingly to get the best results.

Definition

The term margin trowel refers to a specially designed hand tool that is typically used for both mixing and working thinset mortar into tight spaces and corners when tiling. It is one of several types of masonry trowels and is identifiable by its flat nose and V-shaped back. They are typically made from quality steel and have a wooden handle.

What Are Some Other Types Of Trowels? When Do You Use Them?

If you’re just getting started on a new tiling job, there are a few things you should consider before you begin spending your budget on tools and materials. One main thing to know is that there are various types of trowels available for a range of different projects from tiling your bathroom to laying a concrete pad. Choosing the right one just takes a bit of knowledge and possibly a bit of experience:

  • For beginners, there are three main categories of trowels: masonry trowels, garden trowels, and float trowels. Each category has several variations available for performing different tasks and, for the most part, it’s important to pick the right one for the right job.
  • There are some common variations of masonry trowels used in a variety of DIY projects. For example, the bucket trowel, with its wide blade, is often used for scooping mortar or adhesives out of the bucket; whereas, the gauging trowel has a rounded tip making it useful for measuring equal portions.
  • Pro-Tip: Keep a plastic bucket on hand for cleaning and transporting your trowels. Use the trowel handle to hang the blade inside the bucket. The remaining mortar or adhesive will run off into the bucket and make clean-up much easier. The bucket can also double as a carrier.
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