Tiling Tips

When you're tiling your bathroom or kitchen, you want to see beautiful, professional results - the look of an established tiling professional, not a do-it-yourself novice. A few simple tips will help you install beautiful, long-lasting tiles on walls and floors.

Use Grout to Your Creative Advantage
If you thought grout was simply a filler for tile joints, you might want to think again. Grout can be used to improve the appearance of the tile. The dark grout against the lighter tiles gives the space a strong and imposing look.Grout matching the color of the tile invisibly melts. Or you can opt for grout of the same color but a little darker or lighter.

Use the right underlay
Your tiling is only as good as the substrate beneath the tile. A subfloor that bends or is unstable will quickly transfer to the tile. Installing cement board is often a good option before laying tile.The cement slabs, each 3 feet wide and 5 feet long, provide a solid base for the tiles and will not expand or contract.

Other acceptable tile backing materials include exterior plywood, concrete slab, and even vinyl flooring in good condition.

Minimize tiles that are less than half the size
Thin tiles attract attention as it naturally draws the eye to things that don't conform to the norm. Always try to use cut tiles that are between half and full size. Anything less than half the size just looks like a splinter compared to other, larger tiles.One way to fix this is to anticipate how much space you have left when approaching a wall. Once you're a few feet from the wall, you can start adjusting the gaps between the tiles so slightly that it's invisible to the eye, but results in a final row of tiles that's half the size or larger.

Use Symmetry in Tile Design
Symmetry pleases the eye and the brain, even on a subconscious level. When a tile design is crooked, the viewer often knows something is wrong but cannot pinpoint exactly what is wrong.

For example, if you are laying tiles around a kitchen sink, make sure all the tiles around the sink are the same size.Avoid full size tiles on one side and half size tiles on the other side.

The same example applies to a bathroom floor. In this situation, you want the wall tiles on the opposite end to be the same size. If one wall has three-quarter size tiles, the opposite wall should have the same tile size.

Minimize Tile Cutting
Although tile cutting is an expected part of tiling, avoid it if you can.A large number of small tiles in the tile field can appear cluttered and visually chaotic. The more full tiles you can use, the better.