No matter where they are located in a house, tiles can always draw attention. Whether it’s on the floor, a back-splash in the kitchen, or the walls of the bathroom, a bad tiling job can destroy the intended effect of carefully planned colour and style selections.
Tiles can be made of concrete, ceramic, porcelain, glass, or metal, and offer the homeowner a wide variety of colours and designs to fit into any decorating scheme. Although the finished product may seem like an impossible task, most people can achieve professional results by following the simple steps below.
Do the Math
The first step in any tiling job is to know the surface area for the intended installation, along with the size of each tile. Carefully measure the dimensions of the installation surface, calculating the square centimetres to be covered. Now do the same with the tiles to be installed, and divide the surface area of the floor by the surface area of the tiles. This will provide the number of tiles it will take to cover that area. Add an extra 10% to the number of necessary tiles to allow for any damage during installation and provide for the extra space needed for the grout between tiles.
Plan out the Pattern
Starting in the centre, plan the first row, including the spacers. Lay out the tiles carefully so as not to damage them, and then repeat for the next row. Continue until the entire area is covered. This will ensure that enough tiles have been purchased, and any cutting can be done at the same time. If there are any patterned tiles to be included, this will give the homeowner a chance to make sure that the final appearance conforms to the plan, and make any necessary changes.
A Little at a Time
Apply the tiling adhesive to the floor where the first tile is to be placed. Only cover a small area with adhesive at any one time. The next step is to “butter” the back of the tile with the adhesive, to make sure it bonds properly with the adhesive on the floor. Carefully lay the tile in place and apply light, tapping pressure until it sticks. Use a small level to make sure it is properly seated, or the edges will not be flush with the adjacent tiles.
No tile job can be consistent without using spacers to keep the edges far enough apart to allow for the grout. Spacers come in different sizes to accommodate variations in tile dimension and layout. To use the spacers, simply insert them firmly between tiles to make sure the spacing is even. When the adhesive has dried, the spacers can be pulled out to allow for grout application.
Tiles are secured with adhesive, and all adhesives need time to set. If the glue is not set properly, the tiles could become loose and damaged, ruining the desired effect and resulting in time-consuming and costly repairs. Allow at least 24 hours for the adhesive to cure before applying the grout.
Additional Tiling Equipment
Most tile installations will require some tiles to be cut by hand. To cut tiles to fit around pipes or other obstructions, a tile saw or cutter will be needed. There are different types of cutters available for different tile types.
- A notched trowel is necessary to apply the adhesive properly to the surface being tiled, as well as the back side of the tile.
- Safety goggles should always be worn when cutting tiles. Fragments of tile can easily become airborne and cause damage to the eyes.
- A dust mask will keep the fine dust particles created by cutting the tiles from entering the airway.
Shopping for Tiling Equipment on eBay
Tiling equipment can be purchased at building supply stores, or by shopping on eBay. On the home page, there is a search bar that will allow the buyer to access the Home & Garden category, or the DIY category. Drop down menus will allow a more detailed search for the desired tools or equipment. Once the appropriate equipment has been found, there are two options for completing a purchase. Buyers may place a bid on an auction, and if the bid is successful, payment will be made by PayPal or credit card before the seller ships the product. The buyer can also immediately pay the seller’s asking price by clicking on the “Buy It Now” button. The shipping details for “Buy It Now” purchases will remain the same as those for bids. Always check a seller’s shipping and return policies before completing a purchase.