Tiling Tips

Tiling Tips

I’m happy to give away some trade secrets, tiling is a skilled job and takes years of practice to perfect, however if you fancy giving it a go yourself, I hope you find the following tips useful.  Of course, I would recommend having your tiling project undertaken by a professional as the years  of experience and correct tools for the job will prove their worth in the finished article.  If you are forking out hundreds of pounds on expensive tiles and materials, the last thing you want is to make a mess of laying them!

Floor Tiling

When tiling a floor its good to bear in mind that the cost can change greatly due to what surface you are tiling on, whether a solid conrete base or a timber suspended floor.  If you are not sure, give the floor a firm knock, if hollow sounding the chances are it’s a suspended timber floor, if a solid thud, you may be in luck as concrete floors are the easiest and cheapest to prepare and tile.  When tiling concrete floors I always use a rapid set powder adhesive and normal grout is usually fine.  A suspended timber floor on the other hand can be a different story altogether!  The main issue we have to overcome with suspended floors is movement.  Tiles are brittle and do not flex, if there is movement in the floor cracks will appear in the joints, or the tiles become dislodged, or indeed crack!  If you have traditional floorboards, firstly you will need to sheath them in plywood (anything from 12-22mm can be required) to combat the flex in the floorboards.  The ply should be screwed and glued in positionwith staggered joints screwed every 200mm square.  Be aware that by laying the ply you are raising the floor level and its always wise to check plumbing connections to ensure there is enough flexibility as the sanitary ware will go back in slightly higher.  Also  be sure that all plumbing and electrics running in the floor void are accessible from elsewhere (either neighbouring room of from ceiling below) as once the floor is tiled, lifting a floor board to gain access is no longer an option!  Once the sheathing is down you will need to use a flexible adhesive and flexible grout as a certain degree of movement is inevitable in a suspended floor.  Bank on paying approximately 30-50% more for these over regular adhesives and grouts.  Corner cutting at this point is highly unadvisable if you want to protect your investment and guarantee a professional finish.

Wall Tiling

As with floor tiling the wall construction will be influential in your choice of tile, adhesives and grout.  A solid brick or block wall, as with concrete floor, offer the easiest tile fitting as they are unlikely to move.  A regular bucketed wall adhesive is adequate for this situation and regular grouts.  If tiling onto a plasterboard wall however I would again recommend  a flexible adhesive and grout to compensate for the possible movement in the walls.  I carried out a re-installation a few years ago following the previous tillers mistake of using the incorrect adhesive.  A regular wall adhesive was used on a plasterboard wall in a shower cubicle and tiles had dislodged themselves, one falling from the wall and cracking a £900 shower tray!  Needless to say, the tiler footed the bill for a new shower try and the customer refused to let him re-tile the shower, an expensive mistake for the sake of the right adhesive!  If tiling a in a wet area, for example a shower cubicle, the right products are important to ensure a water tight end product, some adhesives and grouts are waterproof and essential in these areas.

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