Tile is a great way to refresh your home’s floors, but you can't easily stumble through installing the material and expect a professional finish. Simply put: The process can be time-consuming and laborious. If you're thinking about tackling this project yourself, below are some important things to consider. Knowing what lies ahead will ensure your result looks professional and lasts for years.
Consider the Space and Tile Material
Specific tiles require different tools and techniques, so it's essential to know what kind of surface you are working with and what is needed for installation. A vinyl or porcelain tile can work well in high traffic areas where moisture is a challenge such as a bathroom or kitchen. They’re also waterproof and easier to clean. Living rooms floor tiles can have finishes that look like concrete, stone or marble. You may want to tape up pictures or even get samples to ensure the colors and textures work well with your furniture and decor.
Carefully Survey the Space
Measuring your space accurately before purchasing any supplies or materials is extremely important. This step helps you buy the right amount tiles without wasting money on extra pieces that won't fit in the designated area. For tiling the living room, for example, you'll need to consider the size of any doors or appliances that may intersect with your tile layout. Remember that there must be enough space (generally 3/8 inch) between the wall and the tile to allow for grout. Depending on the type of tile you use, you’ll also need a table or miter saw and blades that can easily trim it. And it probably goes without saying, but safety googles are a must when cutting tile.
Plan Your Layout and Design
When planning your tile layout, it's important to consider the overall design and aesthetic you are trying to achieve. Before buying any tiles or supplies, take some time to sketch out a plan of how you want the finished product to look.
Do You Have the Skill and Time?
If you’re short on time or need more experience installing tile, you may want to hire a contractor to ensure the job appears professional. That said, you can also practice in a closet or hard to notice corner of the room. Whether you decide to DIY tile or not depends on your skill level, available time, and the look you want to achieve.
The Tools You Need to Tile
Depending on the type of floor you’re replacing and the tile you’re installing, you’re going to need a specific set of tools. For example, you'll need an electric tile saw or manual tile cutter to cut tiles to size and a rubber hammer to set them in place. You'll also need tile spacers to ensure the tiles are evenly spaced and grout, cleaners, and sponges for cleanup. In addition to these basic supplies, there may be other specialized tools or materials depending on the type of tile and how you install it.
Rehearse the Installation
Before starting a tiling project, it's important to understand the basic steps involved in installing tiles, even if you're planning on hiring a professional contractor. As mentioned above, you'll need to prepare your surface by cleaning and sealing it, laying out your tiles according to a particular pattern, and grouting them in place.
Carefully Review the Finish
Don’t forget to research the finish before you start. You may need different types or colors of grout for various parts of your installation. For example, if your tiles have dark edges or corners, it's important to use a darker grout color so that the edges stand out. If you are using matte or textured tiles, choose a more polished grout finish to create a contrast. Ultimately, the grout color and finish you choose should match your tiling project's overall look and feel.