Laying your own tiles is a cost effective and relatively easy way to remodel a room. Here are some tips to assist you in getting the best results. If you already have a tiled surface in good condition which could do with a face-lift, why not try tiling over the existing tiles?
Level the Floor
If your floor has any cracks, broken concrete or deep pockets, mix up some floor leveling compound and pour it into the cracks or low spots. The most common problem experienced with floor leveler is an incorrect consistency. People tend to mix it too thick but it actually needs to be fluid enough to allow gravity to draw it into the low spots. It should only be slightly more viscous than water. When it begins to set, smooth out the edges with a flat trowel.
Use the Right Tools For Laying Tiles
As with any DIY job, having the right tools can make a project significantly easier and less time consuming. There are four important tools to any tiling job. Knee-pads – These spongy pads strap onto your knees and provide you with some cushioning instead of kneeling on bare knees for the day. A drill – not for drilling holes but for mixing tile cement, a cordless drill with an electronic speed control is best to get the low speed required for mixing. A slotted trowel – for scooping cement from the bucket, spreading it out on the floor and finally combing it out with the notched section. A wet cutting tile saw – for cutting tiles into sections and cutting sections out around doors, pillars etc.
Plan The Tiling Layout
As easy as it may be to follow the previous line of tiles, small errors made across a large room may result in tiles being skewed by a row or two. You need to plan the layout ahead and plot some chalk guide lines on the floor before you begin. Use a line laser to cast some lines down the centre of the room and mark them in chalk.
The consistency of your mixed adhesive should be similar to that of peanut butter. It should be easily spreadable but when combed it should stand up and keep its form. If the adhesive is mixed too watery, it is not able to bridge the gap between the floor and tile surface in lower spots which creates hollows under the tiles which are susceptible to working loose and tile cracking.
If you are tiling over an area which already has visible cracks or any wood base floor, chances are the floor is going to continue moving. Prevent cracks from showing up in your tiling work by painting down a bond-breaking product which acts like rosin paper under a wood floor. Simply roll it onto the floor like paint and wait for it to dry. After tiling over it, if any movement occurs under the tiles, the product releases itself from the base layer and prevents your tiles from cracking.
The last step to any tile job is grouting. One important tip to grouting is to replace the cleaning water often. It is much easier to clean excess grout away with clean water. Use a damp cloth and clean water for the best results.
Do you have any more tips or tricks for laying tiles? Let us know in the comments section below.