When laying tile on a large floor, I use rope in place of the usual plastic or rubber spacers. This shortcut saves time, plus I get straighter grout lines. I lay the first row using regular spacers; I prefer the U-shaped spacers shown in the drawing. Next, I trowel a layer of thinset for the next row of tile, and I place a length of rope the same thickness as the spacers against the tile I’ve just laid. I use spacers at the corners, straddling the rope, to space the tile in the other direction. In this manner, I work my way across the room, pushing the tile against the rope so that it’s sandwiched between the two rows of tile.
After running out two rows, I move the U-shaped spacers with me as I progress from row to row. I use 100 ft. of rope and weave it back and forth at the ends of each row. This technique also works well when laying wall tiles.
James Tidmore, Summerville, GA
From Fine Homebuilding 198, pp. 24
September 10, 2008