There are a lot of things that tiles are – beautiful, durable, a great choice for the floors in your bathroom or kitchen. The one thing they are not though is as easy to lay as people tend to think they are. A good tiling job takes a lot more work to create than just slapping down a bit of tile glue and placing the tiles on top.
If your current floors have seen better days, or if you just want a change, re-tiling your floors yourself may sound like a good do-it-yourself project to wile away a spare weekend, especially if you are staging your home for sale. But before you head out the hardware store take a look at these – the top five mistakes that amateur tilers make – and make sure that you are confident that you have the skills and know how to avoid them:
Failing to Prepare the Sub Floor Properly – Some homeowners don’t bother to take the time to clean and sand the sub floor before they begin laying tile because they figure why waste extra time? – it will all be covered up soon anyway. Preparing the sub floor is not about aesthetics though – in order for tiles to stick properly they need to be laid on a surface that is as clean and smooth as possible. Badly laid floors are something that both buyers and a home inspector are more likely to notice than you might think!
Choosing a Cheap Adhesive – Some DIYers decide to save a few bucks by opting for the cheapest tile adhesive they can find. After all, glue is glue right? Unfortunately that is not the case and saving money by ignoring the tile salesman’s recommendations for an adhesive to use with the tiles you bought because you found something cheaper may sink the whole project. Tiles that are not stuck down properly turn into tiles that lift, chip and break, which will cost you far more money (and heartache) down the line than splurging on the right tile glue would have done.
Getting Tile Math Wrong – Go into almost any tile store and the salespeople will usually advise you to buy 5 to 10% more tiles than you have calculated you will need. Crafty, think some DIYers, trying to sell me more tile than I need, won’t have that. So they purchase the exact number of tiles they need, not even one more than they calculated. Then once they begin installing them a tile cracks while they are cutting it, or covering a tricky area takes more tile than they had expected. Those extra tiles would have come in very handy after all….
Not Removing Excess Grout – Seems like doing that should be a bit of a no brainer but you might be surprised by how many people do not bother to think about it until it is too late (ie the grout has dried rock solid) and they are left with a lumpy bumpy mess that will take hours to sand down.
Underestimating the Length of the Project – Small kitchen , five boxes of tiles, ten o clock in the morning – finished by teatime right? That is what too many homeowners think when they begin a weekend tiling project. Then all too often its 4pm, there are tiles everywhere, empty spots all over the floor and they cannot possibly let anyone in to cook because the place looks like a bomb hit it. Making sure you give yourself plenty of time to get your tiling finished will help ensure that you don’t end up frustrated with the whole thing and have to spend a small fortune on takeaways for two days.
If this all sounds a little more than you can handle (or even want to) there is no shame in calling in a tiling professional to do the job instead. It won’t cost too much more and you will get the great tiling job you are after every time.