10 Tips for Perfect Tiling

Tiles provide a tough and durable finish to floors and walls, and can make a tired kitchen or bathroom look much better. Tiling is a skill that any keen diy-er should have, but it certainly takes a bit of practice to become proficient. Here are 10 guides which cover many aspects of tiles and tiling, and which will teach you the skills you need to make any tiling project perfect.

1. Preparing Walls and Floors for Tiles

Learn how to prepare walls and floors for tiles. Tiling can be daunting to the novice DIY-er. It can seem like a far more complex task than hanging wallpaper, for instance. With tiling, as with most DIY tasks, good preparation is the key to success. Having a stable surface to work with, ensuring that you know how to plan and mark a field of wall tiles, and understanding how to cut and shape tiles correctly will all help to make your tiling project run smoothly. Before tackling any tiling, be sure to follow these simple rules.

2. Cutting and Shaping Tiles

There are several ways to cut tiles correctly, depending on what type of cut you are trying to achieve. Straight cuts are best done with a tile cutting jig. This is a purpose made device which makes it easy to hold and score a line in a tile. Once the glazed surface has been scored, the tile should snap along the line easily by applying pressure on both sides. You can, of course, cut tiles in the same way without a tile jig. Simply score the tiles with a handheld scoring tool and place the tile on a piece of flex stretched out on a bit of wood (with the score line running along the flex). Pressure on either side will snap the tile cleanly in two.

3. Tiling a Wall

Tiling a wall is one of those DIY jobs which is fairly easy for anyone to do, but more difficult to do well. Preparation, as with most DIY jobs, is the key here. If you don’t have a solid and flat base for the tiles to adhere to, getting a good finish is going to be a lot more difficult. You also need to plan properly, working out where you will start tiling and how many tiles you will need to complete the area.

4. How to Lay Mosaic Tiles

Mosaic tiles can create a great finish in both kitchens and bathrooms. Mosaic tiles come in large sheets on a mesh backing to hold them all together. This makes it much easier and quicker to lay the tiles and allows you to buy ready-made patterns. Mosaic tiles are also much easier to fit around obstacles such as sockets and switches.

5. Tiling a Concrete Floor

Although a well laid concrete floor provides a stable and solid surface, it isn’t the nicest thing to look at or walk on. Even when used outside, it is often covered by decking, gravel or slabs. In rooms such as kitchens and bathrooms, a smooth concrete floor provides just about the best possible surface to tile over. Tiles are hard-wearing and easy to keep clean. They prevent spills from soaking through to the sub floor and, if laid correctly, will not harbour germs and stains (nor the smells they can produce.)

6. Replacing Cracked or Broken Tiles

Although tiles provide a generally hard-wearing finish, a hard knock (when moving furniture for example) can crack or chip them. Replacing a single or even multiple tiles is a fairly simple task. Hopefully, when you laid the tiles, you kept a few spares for just his sort of situation. If you didn’t lay the tiles, or don’t have a spare, you will need to try to buy a matching replacement. Once you have removed the broken tile, take a piece to your local tile specialist so you can accurately match the colour and finish.

7. How to Remove Tiles

If you are planning on redecorating a kitchen or bathroom, it is likely that you will need to remove some (or all) of the tiles. It is perfectly possible to paint over tiles or even fix new tiles on top of old, but if you want to paint or wallpaper your room, knowing the best way to remove tiles without damaging the wall too much is useful.

8. Tiling Awkward Areas

With all the correct tools, and a little bit of patience, tiling flat walls is a fairly simple job. Tiling around corners, pipes and other awkward areas can however be tricky if not tackled correctly. The most important thing to take into consideration when tiling these awkward areas is cutting the tiles. Make sure you have a good quality Tile Cutter and Tile Saw before you start. It is also worth buying a tile Template Former or Profile Gauge.

9. Common Tile and Grout Problems

Tiles are generally very hard wearing, but as they are often used in damp and dirty areas, there are certain problems which might occasionally occur. Treating these problems quickly and correctly can stop more damage being done.

10. Tiling a Splashback

A tiled splashback usually consists of one or two rows of tiles on the wall directly behind the sink or washbasin and is designed to stop splashed water soaking the plaster and ruining the wall. The easiest way to create a splashback is to use only full tiles, extending them slightly past the edge of the fixture. This way, no cutting is needed and the job can be completed quickly and without fuss.