Tiling is one of the popular home improvement do-it-yourself tasks, and many homeowners assume they can do it without much preparation. However, if you want a quality result right away, it is essential to pay attention to a number of important issues. Nothing says “do-it-yourselfer” louder than a make-do solution when tiling.
Here are 10 of the most common mistakes made during tile installation:
10) Not preparing the surfaces well enough
It is important to clean and smooth the surface which you will be laying tile on thoroughly. Trying to save time on this step can lead to an uneven and instable tiling. Any wallpaper or other foreign coatings should be removed prior to tiling.
9) Grouting unevenly or too quickly
Ideally you should spread the grout evenly and slowly, using a support tool like a squeegee. If you try to be too fast and grout a large area before laying tile, the grout on far-off spots may dry out before you actually get to tile. Distributing grout too hastily also is likely to lead to an uneven tiling result. Also, it is important to remove any excess grout immediately after laying tile, because it will be much harder to do once it has dried up.
8) Dotting corners
Some people believe that by adding dots of adhesive to the corners of tiles they achieve a stronger bond. However, by doing so you actually increases the chance of cracking because the adhesive shrinks as it dries. With the adhesive being thicker in some areas (for instance in the corners), the shrinking will add pressure on the tile.
7) Choosing the wrong adhesive
This is particularly important for laying tile in humid rooms like bathrooms and swimming pools. In such cases waterproof adhesive is a must. Even well-fitted tiles can let some water through to the adhesive, which eventually calles crumbling and breaking with non-waterproof adhesives.
6) Not using battens
Optimally you should use battens (thin rods of wood, alternatively any other long straight object) both in horizontal and vertical directions to lay tiles in possibly straight lines. Trying to lay tile without such a helper tool will often result in positioning mistakes and a generally bad look of the tiled surface.
5) Not discovering and fixing mistakes quickly enough
A rare first-time tiling job gets done flawlessly right away. Most likely, you will have a few awkward spots here and there. It is important to have a fresh eye look over your tiling result shortly after you are done, ideally within the first 6-12 hours. The faster you spot problems, the easier it is to fix them. A misplaced tile 24+ hours after you’re done can be quite difficult to fix since the grout will already have hardened.
4) Not removing excess grout accurately
One of the most common signs of an amateur tiling, protruding grout is something that is easy to fix.
3) Miscalculations with the number of tiles needed
Some first-time tilers will just buy exactly the number of tiles to cover the area they want to tile. However, in practice, you should get 5%-10% more tiles than the minimum to insure yourself against breakages, miscalculations and difficulties cutting to size. This also gives you some spare tiles to replace cracked ones in future.
2) Failing to seal bath tops properly
If the gap between the bottom row of tiles and the bath top is not sealed properly, water may leak into it as it runs down the tiles. Usually it is recommended to fill the bath before using the sealant, since baths can move significantly when filled with water, which can strain and crack sealant if it is not anticipated.
1) Insufficient or erroneous planning
This is probably the most important mistake, and also the one which is easiest to avoid. Instead of going for a make-do solution, always be sure to measure out the surface you need to tile carefully. Be aware that installing curved tile is significantly more difficult than tiling a flat wall. Plan for at least 10-15% waste and spare tiles for future replacements. Try to keep it simple. Cutting tile can be frustrating and expensive, so the fewer cuts you make, the less expensive your project is.
Don’t hesitate to read up materials purchase some of the inexpensive video lessons (for instance the ones available at http://www.tilehowto.com). For a larger project, perhaps even arrange a brief designer consultation – an experienced eye can often discern problems that might cost you hundreds to fix afterwards.