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I was replacing one kitchen floor tile which had been cracked. I removed the cracked title, cleaned the old thinset, applied new thinset, spreaded it with a 1/4” trowel and put a new title. Well, the problem was that the height of the new title was a lot lower than the other ones. I found out that the thinset layer of the existing tiles was thick — it was about 3/8”.

Does anyone know the best way of leveling with the thick thinset layer? Should I use a trowel with a larger notch? Or, does it make sense to put another mortar layer over the backerboard so that the gap is reduced? Then, leveling the mortar layer seems to be tricky. Any advice is appreciated.

  • Yep, use a 3/8" notched trowel, and "backbutter" (put a flat thin layer of mortar on the back of the tile), situate the tile accordingly, and remove excess mortar from the joints immediately. After drying, grout as normal. – stevieb Dec 24 '18 at 21:39
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    @stevieb put your comment in as an answer, it is correct and will get voted up. – Jimmy Fix-it Dec 25 '18 at 5:44
  • Is it ok to use 3/8” notched trowel? When a new tile is put and pressed, doesn’t the thickness of the thinset layer get reduced? – DSKim Dec 25 '18 at 7:13
  • Yes it does, but not a whole lot. Backbuttering helps with this. Just keep your trowel at a 90 degree angle to get as much height as possible. – stevieb Dec 27 '18 at 16:47
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Use a 3/8" notched trowel, and "backbutter" (put a flat thin layer of mortar on the back of the tile), situate the tile accordingly, and remove excess mortar from the joints immediately. After drying, grout as normal.

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