10 Tips for Perfect Tiling

10 tips for perfect tiling. Tiling is one of those jobs that seems easier than it actually is. Almost anyone can lay tiles, but it takes time and practice to lay tiles well!

DIY Extra is full of guides and tips for anyone thinking about tiling a wall, floor, splashback or any other area of their homes.

Here are 10 guides on tiling, each of which are full of useful tips, and will help you to improve your knowledge and skills when it comes time to crack open the tile adhesive and refurbish that bathroom or kitchen.

How to Lay Ceramic Tiles

Laying ceramic tiles 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.

Preparing Walls or 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.

Tiling Awkward Areas

With all the correct tools, and a little bit of patience, tiling flat walls is a fairly simple job. Tiling around pipes and other awkward areas can, however, be tricky if not planned and done 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.

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.

Tools You Need When Tiling

Several of the tools you might need when tiling can be found in the most basic of tool kits, but there are also a whole range of specialist tools which you will need to consider buying if you haven’t done any tiling in the past.

Making a Tiling Gauge Stick

One of the most important factors in making a good job of any tiling project is careful planning. It is not always the best idea to just start in the corner with a full tile and work up or across from that. This method might leave you with a very small and unsightly row at the top or side of the wall/floor.

To avoid this problem, make yourself a Gauge Stick before you start.

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.
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.)

How to Lay Mosaic Tiles

Mosaic tiles can create a great finish in both kitchens, bathrooms and, if used creatively, many other areas of your home. Mosaic tiles are now normally bought in large sheets, with the tiles arranged in a grid and attached to a mesh backing material. This makes it much easier and quicker to lay the tiles and allows you to buy ready-made patterns because you can simply attach a full sheet to the wall or floor. Mosaic tiles can also be much easier to fit around obstacles such as sockets and switches.

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.

Tiles in older houses are often stuck down with cement mortar which is difficult to completely remove. In this case you may have to have apply a skim coat of plaster before you paint or paper the wall. Tiles in newer or more recently redecorated houses will probably be attached with tile adhesive. This is far easier to remove than cement mortar, but you may still end up pulling away chunks of the underlying plaster. In this case you will, at the very least, need to use filler to make the wall good before decorating.