What to Use Instead of Tile Spacer? 20 Best Alternatives

  • By: Sam
  • Date: February 3, 2022
  • Time to read: 7 min.

What to Use Instead of Tile Spacer?

Have you ever tried to install tiles and found that the spaces between the tiles were too big or too small? This can be a real problem, especially if you’re trying to create a specific pattern with your tiles.

Thankfully, there’s a solution: tile spacers! These little plastic or metal devices help to keep the spaces between your tiles uniform, making for a much more professional-looking installation.

But what do you do if you don’t have any tile spacers on hand? Don’t worry – there are plenty of alternatives!

So, what to use instead of tile spacer? Several things can be used for this purpose. Pennies, plastic bottle caps, Copper wire, Pebbles (small rocks), rice, and beans are some of the most common things used instead of tile spacer.

20 Most commonly used Alternatives of Tile Spacer

There are several alternatives of tile spacer that we can use if tile spacers are not available, some of them are given below. You can any of them which are easily available for you.

Using Pennies

Pennies work just as well as tile spacers, and if you don’t have any tile spacers on hand to use while installing your tiles, you can always substitute them with pennies. Just stack up a few pennies (or other coins) until they’re the same height as the space between your tiles, and then use them in place of actual tile spacers.

Using Plastic Bottle Caps

When installing tiles, another great substitute for tile spacers is plastic bottle caps. The lids for plastic bottles usually have the same height as most tiles, so using one of these will work well in place of actual tile spacers. You can also use them to space your grout lines so that they’re even across your wall.

Using Cans of Soda

If you don’t have any tile spacers or plastic bottle caps on hand, but you do have some cans of soda in the pantry, these can work well, too. Open up the can clean out all of the sticky soda residue (you might want to wear gloves for this) and then press it into the gap between your tiles.

Make sure to cut it and make it flat so that it can be used easily. Once you’re done installing, remove the can and throw it away.

Using Empty Paper-Towel Rolls

This one may seem like an odd idea, but empty paper towel rolls work very well in place of tile spacers. They’re usually about the same height as most tiles, and they can be stacked to the same height as your grout lines (or other tiles).

Using Drinking Straws

If you don’t have any paper towel rolls or soda cans on hand, but you do happen to have some drinking straws in your pantry, these can also work well.

Just make sure they’re empty, and then stack them up until they’re the same height as your tiles. You can also use these in place of grout spacers if you want.

Using Pipe Cleaners

If none of these substitutes seem to work for you, another option would be to use pipe cleaners in place of tile spacers instead. They’re also about the same size as most tile spacers, and you can easily shove them into the grout lines of your tiles if needed. Plus, they’re usually easy to find in craft stores or supermarkets.

Using Toothpicks

If you don’t want to spend any money on materials (assuming you haven’t already), then another option would be to use toothpicks in place of tile spacers.

Just like with the straws and pipe cleaners, these are also about the same size as most tile spacers, and you can easily shove them into grout lines if needed. Plus, they’re usually easy to find in any grocery store – no need to go to specialty stores to find these.

Using Rocks

Another great alternative to tile spacer is rock. This works best if you’re planning on using this for a larger surface area, such as when installing your backsplash or kitchen countertop.

Just make sure all of them are roughly the same height and then use these in place of actual tile spacers. This is also one of the least expensive options, so it’s a great way to go if you have some rocks on hand but no money to spend.

Using Coffee Stirrers

Another good option for those who don’t want to buy or find something outside their home is coffee stirrers. These are usually about the same size as some tile spacers, so they can be used to fill in grout lines or create a space between tiles.

Just make sure you have some empty coffee stirrers on hand before going this route.

Using Plastic Straws (Cocktail Stirrers)

If you don’t want to use coffee stirrers (or don’t even have those on hand), one alternative would be to use plastic straws instead. Just like the coffee stirrers, these are about the same height as most tile spacers and can be used either for grout lines or between tiles.

Using Wooden Dowels

Another option is to use wooden dowels in place of tile spacers. These are usually about the same height as some tile spacers, so they can be used to fill in grout lines or space your tiles apart. Plus, these are usually pretty easy to find at hardware stores or home improvement stores like Lowes or Home Depot.

Using Tooth Picks with Sugru

Another option is to use toothpicks with Sugru. Just cut a small piece of Sugru, roll it up into a ball, and then stick it onto the end of a toothpick. You can then insert this into your grout lines or use it between tiles as necessary.

Using Pencils

Finally, if you don’t want to use any of these other options, then you can always use pencils in place of tile spacers. Just make sure that they’re clean before using them, otherwise, you’ll end up with dirt or debris stuck on your tiles after installation is complete.

Using Plastic Wrap

Plastic wrap can also be used in place of tile spacers. This isn’t an ideal option, though, as it won’t provide you with the spacing that tile spacers are intended to give you.

However, if it’s all you have around your home or if none of these other options are convenient for you, then feel free to give this a shot.

Using Rice / Beans

Rice, beans, legumes, or other types of grains can also be used in place of tile spacers. Just make sure you choose a dry variety so it doesn’t expand or get ruined by moisture. Also, only use whole types of these – don’t break them down unless necessary.

Using Flour / Corn Starch / Potato Flakes

Another good option is to use flour, corn starch, or potato flakes in place of tile spacers. These are all roughly the same height as some tile spacers, so they can be used for grout lines or to fill spaces between tiles. Plus, these are usually dirt-cheap and probably found in most homes already.

Using Dried Pasta

Dried pasta is another good option. Just make sure it’s not the type that expands when water is introduced to it (like some macaroni types). You can break this down into smaller pieces if needed.

Using Porridge / Cream of Wheat

Porridge or cream of wheat is also a good alternative. These are usually around the same height as some tile spacers and can be used to fill grout lines or space tiles apart if such is needed (just like rice, beans, etc.).

Jumbo Paper Clip

If you’re looking for an alternative to tile spacers, then a jumbo paper clip may be a good option for you. Just make sure that it’s big enough to fit in between your tiles without being too tight or too loose. And, if needed, you can always break it down into smaller pieces.

Copper Wire

Another great option is to use copper wire in place of tile spacers. Most types of copper wire will work here, too, as long as it’s not a particularly soft type (which would be hard to separate). Just make sure the wire isn’t flimsy and bendy, as that won’t do at all.

Best Alternative of Tile Spacer

If you’re looking for an alternative to tile spacers, then the best option would be to use something like coffee stirrers, plastic straws, wooden dowels, or toothpicks with Sugru.

These are all about the same height as most tile spacers and can be used for grout lines or between tiles.

Although the best alternative of tile spacer will vary depending on your specific needs and situation.

However, these alternatives can be the best in most cases. So, if you’re looking for a good option that isn’t tile spacers, then one of these other choices may work well for you.

Conclusion

There are several different things you can use in place of tile spacers, depending on what’s available to you and what works best for your needs. We’ve listed 20 different alternatives here, so hopefully, you can find one that will work well for you.

If not, feel free to experiment with a few different options until you find the perfect fit. Just make sure that whatever you’re using is roughly the same height as your tiles and will give them enough room to expand or contract without causing any issues to your grout lines.

In most cases, these alternatives should work well for you and will keep your installation neat and professional-looking.

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