Tiling Tips

Looking to add that extra something to your kitchen? Hate the 70s-style tiles overtaking all of the bathrooms in your new home? You might want to consider renovating by installing new tiles in the rooms of your choice. Anyone can tile a floor or backsplash with a good attitude and some patience. A good Do-It-Yourself project can even be fun once you’ve figured out the right tips and tricks. There are a bunch of tips, so here are a few to get you started:

To Start: A Good Foundation

You must first prepare the surface you wish to tile. You should definitely tile on an even, flat surface free of bumps and waves. Tiling on an uneven surface will stop your tiles from appearing straight and polished, and you’ll be left with a surface which appears lumpy and rough—you don’t want your tiles looking like you did the job in your sleep. Make sure your sub-floors are done properly, or else you’ll end up with more work down the road when you have to repair tiles which have lifted, cracked, or moved around. Concrete floors are great for tiling because usually the surface is already smooth—if not, you can buy a self-levelling compound which you can mix yourself.  Want to tile over floorboard? You’ll want to lay and screw down a minimum of 12 mm thick plywood for your sub-floor. If you are going to be tiling walls, you might want to consider having them re-skimmed with plaster; this evens everything out and creates a perfectly smooth surface to work with.

Plan Ahead!

Make sure to create a floor-plan—you need to think ahead and imagine how you want the floor to look. Take into consideration the corners on your floor or on your wall—tiles will have to be cut and shaped accordingly. If you simply start from one end and work your way to the other, your tiles will probably end up looking obviously misaligned. Make sure you buy tile spacers to measure the distance perfectly between each tile while laying them down. Try to avoid starting at the edge of the wall or floor perimeters.

Laying Down the Tiles

Use tile adhesive (there are various types available) to stick the tiles to the sub-floor. Adhesive dries fast, so be sure to work with small sections at a time and lay down the tiles accordingly. When it is completely dry, use grout to fill the even gaps between the tiles. Grout is an important thing to consider—it comes in different shades. Darker grout is usually recommended for floors, as it fades slower and does not show as much dirt and grime as a lighter shade would. Because grout discolours, it is a good idea to buy a sealer and stain in one which matches the colour of your grout. Furthermore, if your local water is high in minerals or calcium, then consider using filtered or distilled water for mixing your grout, because the calcium can created white spots on darker grout. Grout lines less than 1/8th of an inch wide? Use un-sanded grout. Look into some more tips and ask for advice before you begin, and you should be on the right path!