The idea of installing tile may be somewhat intimidating, but it is not as difficult as some may believe. If a traditional setting pattern is all that is desired, installation can be accomplished by the homeowner with the right tools and some instructions. If a more ornate pattern is desired, a professional installer may be needed, but not necessarily. A homeowner generally knows their own capabilities.
Installing new floor or wall tiles can completely transform a room from dated and humdrum to shiny, new, and exciting. Aside from bringing a whole new atmosphere to an area, new tile will also raise the value of a home significantly, especially if the existing tile is damaged in any way.
The first steps are to make a plan, decide which floor or wall will be retiled, what style of tile will be used, and in what fashion the tiles will be laid. This is the fun part because the possibilities are limited only by one’s imagination.
Wall tile comes in 300 X 600 or 100 X 300 sized pieces and can either be purchased with a rectified edge or a rolled edge. The rectified edge tile is one where the edge of the tile is cut so as to butt up against the tile next to it. The rolled edge tile is where the edge has been curved over. These tiles are used on the edge of a tiled surface area so as to give the border a finished look as it transitions from the tile to the wall surface.
Floor Tile can be purchased in either 40 X 40 cm, 60 X 60 cm, 100 X 300 mm, 300 X 600 mm, or 45 X 45 cm sizes. These are also available with either the rectified or rolled edge, depending on the need.
In addition to the larger tiles above, the homeowner may opt for sheets of smaller tile. These are more decorative, making them great for accenting features or tiling countertops or backsplashes. These can be purchased in either stone or glass or a combination of both. They are available in many different styles, including the natural stone paved look or a more modern rectangular tiled look.
Once the plan has been made and the tile chosen, the homeowner will need to purchase some tools and materials to help get the job done. Grout and adhesive will be needed in addition to some specialized tools such as a trowel, grout sponge, tile saw, and spacers. A chalk line would be helpful as well to ensure the first piece is perfectly square with the room. Grout may be purchased in either sanded or smooth varieties and is available in many different colors. If large tiles will be used on a wall, a suction cup will make lifting and positioning the tile much easier.
Generalized Floor Tile Installation Tips
With a few tips and generalized instructions, anyone can successfully tile a surface. Since floor tile is the most common project to attempt for the first time do-it-yourself, installing floor tile will be covered here.
Many people do not realize they must lay the first tile in the middle of the room. It seems strange, but to walk into a room where one side of the room begins with whole tiles and the other side utilizes half tiles makes for a strange appearance. The most difficult part of tile installation is making sure the first tile is square with the room. This is where a carpenter’s square and chalkline come in handy.
Once the proper position of the first tile is found, adhesive should be spread using a specialized trowel that leave grooves in the adhesive. This allows the adhesive to bond better. The directions for using the tile adhesive should be followed closely. Some tile adhesives require a waiting period between when the adhesive is spread and when the tile may be laid.
Once the first tile is positioned properly and laid, the remaining tile can be installed easily using the position of the set tile, spacers, and chalkline as reference points to ensure straight lines. Once the project reaches the wall, tiles will probably need to be cut to ensure proper fit. Once the tile adhesive has been given the proper amount of time to cure following the directions on the package, the spacers may then be removed and the grout applied.
Once the homeowner gets a taste for how easy it is to tile a floor and what a dramatic change it makes to the look of the home, it is only a matter of time before other projects are planned.