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A quick guide to tiling from start to finish...

   If you have wildly considered doing your own tiling but then thought, better not, it'll probably all go wrong, well think again. These days the materials and tooling for tiling are so advanced and user friendly that with patience and care, any of us can tile our own kitchen or bathroom.

We have produced a quick guide below which outlines the main tasks involved in tiling, so why not take up a trowel and some adhesive and save money on the labour so you can get those tiles that you have dreamt of...

Step 1 - Measuring the area to be tiled

Whether you are tiling a kitchen splashback, bathroom floor or a small shower area the first step you must complete is to measure the area to be tiled. This can be done by taking a tape measure and working out the length and width of a wall or a floor area that needs to be tiled. You will have to multiply the length (m) by width (m) to work out the area which needs to be tiled in square metres. We can then workout how many individual tiles you will need depending on the size of the you choose, as there are very many different sizes of tiles. There are further details in our page, calculating the area for tiling.

Step 2 - What tile to choose
   When selecting the right tile customers need to consider various factors including the size, colour, finish of the tile as well as what type. In general most people are likely to pick bigger tiles for big areas and smaller tiles for smaller ones. For kitchen splashbacks 4 to 6 inch square tiles or bevelled brick tiles are the most common choices. Whilst for bathrooms rectangular medium size tiles for walls with matching square shaped tiles for floors have been the most popular option. It is fair to say that 4 to 6 inch tiles are 
preferred for areas up to 5m2, whilst medium sized tiles are preferred for areas up to 20 m2 and for areas above 30 m2 the biggest ones i.e. 30x60cm or 60x60cm are most suitable. 
  The colour of the tile depends on the colour scheme of the room that is being tiled. Most people prefer their tiles to blend in with the rest of the colours in the room or in some cases prefer a contrasting colour which will make the tiles stand out. In general, 
it is fair to say that most customers prefer a lighter colour on the wall and a slightly contrasting darker colour on the floor. Although in some cases exact matching wall and floor combinations have been preferred. The most popular contrasting combinations
have been cream and brown, white and grey/black or cream and black. Tiles come in various different finishes as well. You can find high-gloss, semi-gloss, matt-finished, textured tiles or even tiles with a texture which have a shiny finish to them. 
As previously with the choice of colour, most people try and find a finish which will correspond with the general look of the room. Glossy tiles tend to be slippery and easy to clean, although they pick up the dirt more easily. Whilst matt-finished ones do not 
have to be cleaned as often and tend to be non-slip. Most customers are divided on whetherto go for all shiny or all matt for walls and floors. However, it would be a good idea to go 50-50 on this decision. The reason being that shiny tiles would be good for wall areas 
as they are easy to clean and matt tiles on the floor as they are non-slip. However, some people have preferred the same finish for walls and floors to give a more uniform look. The last yet most important factor in choosing tiles is surely what type to buy. We stock ceramic, porcelain, natural stone, granite and mosaic tiles. Ceramic tiles are the cheapest in relation to the other types. You can find good quality ceramic tiles at reasonable prices. They are the most common type out there and you will find that they make up the largest majority of all types. Porcelain tiles in comparison are more expensive. The main reason being that 
the production costs are higher. They are, however, much stronger and therefore last for a longer period of time.  Natural stone, granite and mosaic tiles are unique as they are not manmade but instead extracted directly from a natural quarry. You will be able to see the natural veins, patterns and character of the stone which makes it so attractive for customers. 

Step 3 - Choosing the right adhesive

Once you know the exact metreage of the area to be tiled and also the exact amount of tiles, you have to pick the type of adhesive. This depends on the surface which you will be tiling as well as the type of tile you have chosen.

Floor Areas

If you are tiling your floor with ceramic tiles and your floor is concrete you will need Cement based Adhesive, fast set normal 20kg. Whilst if you are using porcelain tiles on concrete or plywood floors and/or you are using ceramic on plywood floors you will need flexible adhesive (fast set flexible or for slow setting CFTA flexible). Adhesive used to fix floor areas tends to come in powder form.

Wall Areas

If you are tiling plastered walls with ceramic tiles you will require the conventional ready-mixed wall tile adhesive (supergrip). Whilst if you are sticking porcelain tiles on any surface or ceramic tiles on plasterboard you will need to use flexible wall adhesive. This could be either ready mixed (multifix) or in powder for (fast set flexible).

Whilst natural stone tiles need to be fixed using flexible white adhesive (marblefix) only because of their strength, regardless of whether they are used in floor or wall areas.

Step 4 - The fixing of the tiles and grouting

Once you have acquired the appropriate adhesive you can get on with the actual job itself. Tile Adhesive should be spread on walls and floors using a notched trowel. The thickness of the bed of the adhesive will depend on the size and thickness of the tile. In general, thicker and bigger tiles will be fixed over a deeper bed of adhesive. You will also have to decide on what size spacers you will use with your tiles. Most people choose smaller spacers for wall tiles and bigger spacers for floor tiles. If you choose to tile with smaller spacers you will end up with narrow grout joints, whilst bigger spacers will give you wider joints. The different sizes for spacers range from 1mm-10mm and are placed in between each and every tile.

Slowly and evenly fix spread the adhesive using your notched trowel on the service and place your tile gently on it. Tap the tile using your hand or a mallet gently and evenly until it is set in the right place. Adjust the tile until it's perfectly placed, repeat for all your tiles. Once the tiles have been successfully fixed you will have to wait before you can get on to the grouting. The waiting period depends on the setting time of your adhesive as you can only start grouting once the adhesive has dried. Fastsetting adhesive will dry in 3 hours, whilst slowsettingadhesive will set after 24 hours.

Grouting is carried out using a grout float. All our grouts are flexible, hygienic. fastsetting and suitable for both wall and floor areas. They also come in powder form which means they need to be mixed with water. The grout can be spread into the joints in between the tiles with the grout float. You can then clean off the grout residue from the tile with a wet sponge. Once this task has been completed you will have to wait for the grout to dry. Once dry, you can wipe off the grout film using a dry sponge. In sum, grouting can be completed from start to finish within approximately 3 hours.

Step 5 - The finishing touches

At this stage you should have completed the core of the tiling job. However, there are some final touches that need to be made. For example, if you want your tiling job to be given a nice neat finish around window sills and other edges then you will need to use tile trim to do so. This needs to be fixed on using adhesive just at the very end of the job as you are fixing the final cuts. The type of trim you must choose depends on the thickness of the tile as well as what type of finish you are looking for.

One final detail to mention is that natural stone tiles must be sealed using a liquid substance which makes the tile both waterproof and stainproof. This is an essential task as if it is not done the tile could absorb water and could cause for it to crack in the future. This must be carried out using a sponge or a brush both before and after grouting.

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