Tips For Tiling: Renovating Your Home

Whether it’s a bathroom, a wet room, a hallway, or a kitchen – tiling is a great way of mixing things up in your home.

Tiles create a uniformed and sleek look which can help modernise the feel of your room. Or, if you’re using more colourful and patterned tiles, they can allow you to add a splash of creativity and design to create a really special moment in your home.

In any case, they’re a fantastic addition to any household, no matter where they are. In fact, they can also increase the value of your home too!

Adding tiles rather than wallpaper or simple paint is a great way of driving up your home’s value.

Something which you should definitely consider if you’re planning on selling.

However, there are some issues and things to consider when it comes to using tiles.

It’s not as easy of a process as people think.

If you’re considering tiling your home, you need to do your research beforehand and make sure you really know what you’re doing.

So, what is some good advice everyone should know?

Continue reading to see what you should bear in mind before you start your tiling journey.

1. Tiles Are More Permanent Than You Think

This may sound rather self-explanatory or obvious, but it’s something that people don’t consider. Whilst tiles can be removed, and can be changed, this process is not as simple as it is with paint or wallpaper.

If you get halfway through painting a wall and realise you don’t like the colour, no worries! Just get a new one and paint over it. It’s no big deal.

However, tiles doesn’t work this way.

Once a tile is on the wall – it’s a lot more difficult to get off. Meaning, that before you start throwing tiles against your backsplash, you should really think carefully about the design.

Preparation is 70% of the job, after all!

If you’re going to be doing the work yourself, rather than a professional, then you need to measure and design the look beforehand.

Especially if your design is quite complicated. Whether this is on some paper or done digitally, designing how your tiles look before they’re up there can save you a lot of time in the long run.

Again, this may sound obvious to some. But you’d be surprised how often people don’t consider this.

2. Be Prepared To Do Some Maths

Whilst using tiles is an opportunity to allow you to be creative and really get unique with designs, there’s also going to be a lot of maths involved in the process.

It’s easy for a beginner, or an overly-confident person, to take a look at a wall and have a guess at how many tiles you’ll need.

Only, for you to get halfway through and realise you don’t have enough tiles. Next minute, you’re rushing out to the shops to pick up the rest.

So, how do you know how many tiles you’re going to need?

Simply, you need to calculate the area you’re decorating and subtract all the areas in the way.

For example, if you’re decorating a wall, you need to measure how wide and how tall that wall is. Get a tape measure and measure across the bottom and to the top. 

Let’s imagine your wall is 4.2m wide, and 4.8m high. 

If you multiply those two measurements together, 4.2×4.8, you’ve got an area of 20.16m squared.

However, your wall isn’t completely blank. You’ve also got a window in the way.

Now it’s time to measure your window and subtract that from your area. Remember to make sure your measurements are in the same unit!

Your window measures as 0.9m by 1.2m, giving you an area of 1.08m squared.

Now, you need to subtract this from your overall area. Meaning that the area is 19.52 metres squared.

Once you’ve got this measurement you can figure out how many tiles are going to be needed to cover the area based on the size of the wall. 

And, as a general rule of thumb, always buy 10% extra tiles than you need anyway. Just in case some of your tiles break.

3. Get Your Materials Right

The tools for decorating with tiles go way beyond some ceramic tiles and thinset.

There are several things you need in order to make sure that your work is a success, and that they won’t end up cracking or falling off your walls. Or, even worse, aren’t waterproof and start allowing in water. This is especially important when carrying out bathroom renovations, or using tiles in an area with a lot of water.

So, what tools do you need to know?

Thinset:

There are lots of different types of thinset mortar you can use when decorating your home with tiles. Thinset is what you use to apply to the substrate with a trowel, and is how you attach your tiles to your surface.

You can get standard thinset as a powder which you mix with water. As a great tip, try and get it to the consistency of mayonnaise or peanut butter. You don’t want it to be too watery that it runs, nor too thick that you can’t spread it. And, only mix enough thinset that you can use in 2 hours. It’s very quick drying, and you don’t want to mix too much and end up having to throw some away.

Trowels:

Well, you’re not going to apply thinset with your hands, are you? You need a trowel if you’re going to be laying down thinset. And, you need to make sure it’s the right type of trowel depending on the size of the tile. So, firstly, you need to be aware of trowel sizes. If your trowel measures 6mm x 10mm, it means that you will have 6mm ridges of adhesive, and 10mm spaces in between each ridge.

Else, you can use a u-notched trowel. Compared to the aforementioned square-notched trowel, these leave half-round ridges on the substrate. In any case, you need to determine what type of trowel is best for your tiles and your project. You don’t want to end up with a trowel that’s too small, meaning you have to do all the extra work.

Kneepads

Given that your average job will take around 16 hours for a beginner to complete, this is going to be more than a one-day job. And, if you’re going to be spending the majority of those 16 hours on your hands and knees, you’re going to want to make sure you’re comfortable.

Kneepads are a great way of protecting your knees and making sure that you’re not in serious pain halfway through your tile job. They may not be the most glamorous or attractive looking, but you’re certainly going to be grateful for it. 

4. Make Sure You’re Using The Right Saw

It’s extremely rare that you’re going to be decorating something that doesn’t require you to cut tiles. In fact, based on the size of whatever tiles you’re using and the size of the area, it’s almost impossible.

Because of this, you’re going to need to cut some tiles down smaller to fit in the awkward gaps and odd spots. And, the way to do this, is with a tile cutter or saw.

Depending on how experienced you are with cutting tiles, you may already have a tool to do this. But if you’re a bit more of a novice then you’re going to have to find out what tool is best for you.

A tile cutter is easier to use and can be less intimidating for newcomers.

The way it works is by placing a tile beneath it, scoring the tile, and then snapping it along the scored line. Because of this, the problem can be that this is difficult to do with thicker tiles.

However, other than this, they’re very easy to use. They don’t require a lot of knowledge or skill to be able to use them, and they’re portable and able to be carried to new sites or places.

On the other hand, you can use a wet saw. These are larger and use electricity rather than man power to cut tiles, and as such, can be easier to use. What’s more, they can also cut in curved lines whereas a tile cutter only cuts straight.

In any case, you can rent either of these tools if you don’t fancy purchasing them. And, only use tools that you’re comfortable or knowledgeable using.

Final Thoughts

Tiling a place in your home can be a great DIY or home renovation project. It’s a fantastic opportunity to get creative and create a special feature in your home.

However, if you’re going to be doing it yourself and not leaving it to a professional, there are some things that you need to bear in mind.

Once you know these tips and are aware of what to do, then good luck!

Get started on creating your tiling masterpiece!

If you’re the type of person who likes working with your hands, trying to fix the problems around your household yourself, and would much rather have a go at fixing the leaky sink than calling a plumber – have you ever considered that you may be in the wrong career? 

At Careers In Trade, we have several different types of courses designed for beginners and adult learners. Whether it’s training to become an electrician, studying to be an engineer, or learning how to be a plumber; our courses are fun, engaging, and designed to be completed in your own time.

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