DIY Tiling

DIY Tiling

So long story short, I have just purchased my first house and I am a avid DIYer. I am looking at installing some “wood effect” porcelain tiles in my downstairs hallway/kitchen/utility room/WC.

I have only previously helped my dad with tiling projects at home and I am wondering if this is a job to big to take on as my first “solo” job? (totalling about 35-40 sqm2)

I have been researching it quite a lot and speaking with my dad a bit and have the confidence to try and do it myself.

is there any tips or tricks / improvements you could give me on my below plan?

1) check floor is level and fix if needed otherwise lay tiles straight onto the dry concrete slab
2) measure the middle line with a chalk line (dry lay and cut some tiles), but start at the kitchen unit edge to make sure the tile is straight to this.
3) mix adhesive and use a trowel at 45° to get the correct thickness. and back butter the tiles as being wood effect they are classed as LFTs.
4) looking to use something like the T-lock levelling system to aid in the achievement of keeping all tiles level to the surrounding tiles.
5) grout when adhesive is fully dry.

other question I have, what grout thickness should I go? 1, 2, or 3 mm? I would like to achieve the most professional finish possible (as all good DIYers) as well as the most realistic to a hardwood floor structure.

Regards,
Josh

Hi Josh and welcome. I am also a DIY person and I will paste below some words of wisdom passed to me recently (he did a half decent job on a big install)

“Yes a lot of planning for sure, 3 criteria mainly, aesthetics, technical and best use of material. You can break many rules in relation to conventional tiling, as regard set out, however, on installations there is virtually no room for compromise.
If installed incorrectly it will fail, not maybe, it will. “

Planning, Flattness, Levelness, Planning, Flat Tiles, line from the front door, primer, I like larger grout gaps. Anyway you will get plenty of good advice.

One question is can the run from the front door run right through in one continuous section ? Will the gaps around the edge of the tiles be all thats needed for movements and expansions etc ?

Hey Julian,
thank you and saw few bits of your work on the other threads, looks professional to me! Not sure to be honest and the expansion gap etc? I have the option of taking off the skirting boards and tile “under” them and plane them down the required size nessary. Or attach them before and tile up to with a grout line. Not sure the more professional or preferred way.

Regards,
Josh

DIY Tiling Question

Could I have some help and recommendations on how I should proceed in fixing these issues done by a so called professional tiler that has since ran away with half of the payment and I can no longer contact him.

I supplied the tiles & tile trim, leaving him to use his choice of adhesive and grout. Walls are all new, as this is a new build house, and I fitted in the shower tray and waterproofed the shower area. All he needed to do was tile.

Problems (photos probably speak for themselves):

  • Tiles are not level (some were extremely bad and he has smashed these off and damaged the plasterboard)
  • Tile spacing is bad
  • Gaps between the tile trim and the tile is bad
  • Tile trim cut too short (I supplied more trim than required for the job, so there’s plenty of trim left that he could have used)

I’m really not sure what I should/can do right now and it has been left unusable.

DIY Tiling Answer

1 …dont use pva use an acrylic primer

2…..weight will be fine but remove the paint

3 ……2 mm spacers on the walls and 3mm on the floor will look fine

4……I remove wax after tiling but definitely remove before grouting

5….any slow set adhesive make sure its powder adhesive you mix yourself
And grout should be your choice of colour..

A DIY Tiling Guide

Wall and floor tiling can often be seen as ‘easy’. And the DIY sheds certainly make it seem so. Grab everything you need in one place, head off home, whack them up, job’s a good ‘un.

In reality it isn’t quite like that. While the tiles may stay on the wall for a while, they’re likely to fall off earlier, or even damage the background you’ve tiled, meaning if/when they come off, you need to spend more money than it was worth in the first place to get a good job done to a professional standard.

I’d like to think that you would consider putting a request in the forum category if your job is of any great size and not just a splash back.

That said, we’re here to help (well, most of us are, you will get the odd professional who isn’t willing to provide advice as they assume you’re stealing their work – but ignore them and report any offensive comments so we can get back to the advice). So feel free to post any question at all, no question is a silly question.

Have a good read around the forum categories, find some general information out.

When it comes to tiling walls, you have to make sure that your background (plaster, plasterboard, whatever) can take the weight of the tiles you’re choosing. Large porcelains or stone tiles can often pull plaster off the wall. Plasterboard can take a better weight, but still not much considering it has to take the weight of the tiles, the adhesive (which adds up! You’ve felt the weight of those adhesive bags!), and grout.

Your setting out has to be spot on for it to look right, and it can be a work of art and take the most amount of time on a full bathroom or kitchen believe it or not!

Your adhesive and grout choice is usually never ever “just the cheapest on the shelf” (that adhesive probably isn’t good for much) so make sure you’re asking the right questions about adhesive and grout.

Your tools will make your life easier, and make the job look neater, so make sure you’re asking about those too.

Tile choice is often a biggy – it’s not just about the looks. There are many tile types and some are not as suitable as others in certain areas or applications.

Still not thinking about posting in the forum category? Oh okay then. Read on. 

Bathrooms will require ‘tanking’ when it comes to power showers and / or sunken drains (proper wetrooms). And you’ll sometimes need actual tile backer boards and not just plasterboard to make sure the place is water tight, and is going to last the length of the looooooong guarantees the manufacturers give us these days.

We have some pretty decent manufacturers in the UK. A whole range of them even. So speak to their technical departments and compare what they’re saying, so that you end up with a couple of options.

Note that all these products at retail price can seem quite expensive, but I assure you that NOT using them is a lot more expensive in 3 or 4 years time when it needs doing properly.

A professional tradesman will often get trade prices from his regular suppliers, so it might be worth posting in the forum category to get a price including materials? And compare that to what you’re working out materials only, and then your time?

If you’re still willing to take on the risk, post a new thread in the DIY Tiling forum

And good luck.
Remember – before and after shots of your work will earn your brownie points on the forum. So make sure your camera is charged and ready to go at every point possible. If you get stuck, take pictures, hit the forum, we’ll see how we can help.

Thanks for reading. And remember to at least consider an actual professional tiler who knows what he’s doing, and not “bob from the pub” or whatever. Cheeeeeeerrrrrs.

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