August 26, 2014

Hart Quick-Tatch Trowel System - Review

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I'm no pro tile guy, but in my recent/current/never-ending renovation I've tiled four bathroom floors, two tub surrounds, a shower, a kitchen backsplash, and 500 sq/ft of basement floor. So I've come to understand a a decent amount about tiling. Of all this accumulated knowledge, one of the most annoying things I've learned is that trowels are very, very difficult to store.

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If you do any significant tiling, you'll likely end up with five or six of the things and a grout float too. I've collected about eight trowels and at the moment I have them arranged hanging off a tool bag. When you think about it, each one takes up the real estate of a beefy size 12 shoe. That's a whole lot of space dedicated to something that I like to have around, but don't use that often.

In comes the Hart to save the day. Their Quick-Tatch system is an ingenious little creation. It's a modular trowel system based around a universal handle. So all you need is one handle and whatever flat trowels that you're going to use. It's a whopper of a good idea.

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You can buy the individual pieces as stand-alones or get one of two combo kits. The first kit is a basic "I'm only doing one or two small tile jobs" set with the handle, a 1/4 x 1/4 x 1/4 trowel and a grout float. The larger kit has four trowels, the float, the handle, and a nice storage box.

The box deserves special mention. The inside has slots that the trowels fit in, so when stored they sit on end and don't touch one another. This means they can be put away wet and dry nicely in the box. To add to this blast of good thinking, the underside of the box is perforated, so any water can escape. Wait, there's more...one of the trowels can be used as a lid, so the universal handle acts as a handle to the box as well. It's all very, very smart.

I tested them out some and it all works as advertised. The connection between the handle and the trowels seems sturdy and it's nice to be able to shift the handle position up an down the trowel. You can also flip the handle to switch the notched side. Working along the edge of a room or up a corner of a tub surround is where this is going to really come in handy.

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My first thought was that the trowel spine (the part the handle attaches to) would completely gunk up with thin-set and mortar and cause all sorts of problems. It certainly gets stuff in there, but Hart has designed the whole system to be very easy to clean, so it's not really an issue. Plus, if you're the type of person who isn't meticulous about the cleanliness of their trowels, then it doesn't matter what system you're using, you're going to have problems.

There is also a small set screw that adjusts the tension of the clamp mechanism, so if is weakens a little over time, you can tighten it up a little.

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The only way I could see this idea being improved upon is if they imprinted the dimensions of the trowel on each one. During the renovation, I used the Schluter shower water-proofing system (as well as their Ditra underlayment) and those required specific trowels. Because I'm only a part time tiler at best, I don't know the dimensions by sight, so I always had to take a couple minutes to figure it out with a tape measure. It's sort of no big deal, but it would be a nice little touch.

But, let's face it, this seriously minor quibble just gets washed away when compared to the benefits of this item. Thanks to Hart, for most standard tiling needs, there is no reason to stock up on bulky, difficult to store items. Just get one box, or get them piecemeal and go from there. It's perfect for the weekend DIYer or the full time tile guy.

The cost is right on the mark too. The handle is $5 and for the most part the trowels are $8. The big kit is $40 and the little kit is $20.

I'm looking forward to seeing this line grow. I'd guess that mag float and other gear for flatwork is next. We'll see though.

At Home Depot

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Posted by Doug Mahoney at August 26, 2014 8:19 AM

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Recent Comments

It is definitely an impressive system. When our mutual friend Jason brought it to my shop this summer it struck me as an incredibly good idea. All my various tile and concrete trowels hang off the rim of a 5 gallon pail and takes up just too much space.

I'd buy a separate set of concrete tools (if they end up making them) just to get an additional handle.


Posted by: Jeff Williams at September 4, 2014 10:11 AM
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