Previous home owners tiled around a vanity, then the vanity needed to come out. Now this void approximately one inch deep is left, and we want to fill it and retile so we can use a wider variety of vanities. How do we level the floor under the tile, then what do we use immediately under the tile?

Bonus question: what is the best way to hide this new install? I was thinking a single row of rectangular tile, and then some of the same hex tile (I think we have some of the original, uninstalled, but unknown how much).

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2 Answers 2


It turns out there is no additional tile of the same size/style/color available, so this idea has been scrapped. For those who may stumble upon it in the future however, I offer the following...

If we had tile to match, I could have gently removed the cut tiles, and replaced them with whole tiles, after filling the under-tile void, continuing the patterns as though the vanity (and void) had never been there in the first place. This would have avoided any design issues in terms of aesthetics, or inserting designs / masking transitions. The weakness in this plan would be the 'joint' created between the old mortar floor and the new thin-set. However, I believe the matching could be done without it becoming a problem, with some well-measured work.

As it stands, we plan to gently remove this existing floor, saving as many tiles as is reasonably possible. With this saved tile, we will have backups for the other tile floors in the house that match this older tile, while taking the opportunity to modernize this room. Hopefully this is a win-win.


A notched trowel bed of thin-set under cement-board, maybe 2-layers, will get you solid, waterproof and level while still getting the new tiles flush. You can either chisel out that front edge or semi-scribe the cement-board to it and just dump in thin-set to level.

I'd agree with your tile fix. Whatever the new vanity or pedestal doesn't cover should have the matching tile and any tile after that is good for being a filler. But, boxing or framing out the new fixture's footprint looks good too.

  • When you say "maybe 2 layers", do you mean two layers of cement board, or two layers of thin-set? Jan 18, 2018 at 3:15
  • Oh, and what size notching on the trowel? I've seen several... Jan 18, 2018 at 3:16
  • Yep, 2-layers of cement board. Like, a layer of 1/2" atop a layer of 1/4" cement board might be the recipe for that depth of a void...always dry-fit anything and everything before permanently setting it, it's a lot cleaner and therefore faster and easier to change or adjust. Trowel notching for the cement board would be best with a 1/2" trowel, but you'll be fine with the 1/4" (1/4 x1/4x1/4) notch used for the much smaller tiles, since the cement board should be screwed down. Back-buttering (troweling the board/tile itself too) the cement board will help make up for the smaller notch.
    – Iggy
    Jan 18, 2018 at 13:34

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