Tiling is a respected skill that takes lots of practice to master. While some opt to tile their own floors, there are a few pitfalls and mistakes that you can make when not employing a professional tiler to ensure the job is completed to a high standard.
If the surface is not entirely even, smooth and symmetrical, with consistent spacing between each tiling unit, your new floor might not look as fantastic as you’d hoped.
We take a look at the following 7 common tiling mistakes that DIY tilers often make, as well as offer some advice about tiled floors in general, based on our experience handling many home renovation and liquid screed flooring projects where tiles are used as the final finishing material.
Calculate the Amount of Tiles You Need Accurately
As well as making sure you actually have exactly the right number of tiles you need to complete the job, you’ll need to keep about 5% in storage in case of any cracks or chips in the future.
You can keep more if you want, but you’ll definitely need a few spare over the years to replace any tiles that take damage for various reasons, such as large heavy objects being dropped on them.
Cleaning and Preparation
When installing tiles, surfaces should be level and clean. This means spending time filling in any cracks or dents or sanding down any bumps that are bigger than 4-5mm.
If the surface is particularly uneven, you may need to apply a layer of liquid screed which will help to level out the surface and make it perfect for tiled floors. Just make sure you sand down any laitance or loose particles that rest on the surface after the screed floor has been installed.
In terms of cleaning, wipe up any grease, oil or other liquids before you add an adhesive substance to the concrete or screed floor. Also, sweep (or vacuum) up loose dust and debris.
If you fail to do this, you could undermine the performance of your tile adhesive in the long run and several tiles might end up popping up or coming loose.
Choose the Correct Adhesive
There are actually several different types of adhesives and choosing the right one is important. Also, make sure you apply the correct adhesive to the correct area of the room. For instance, you may need a waterproof adhesive for your bathroom.
This is also relevant for laying tiles in humid rooms like kitchens and swimming pools. In such cases, a waterproof adhesive is needed. Even well-fitted expertly laid tiles can let water through to the adhesive, leading to crumbling and breaking.
When selecting your tile adhesive, consider the type of tile used as well as the kind of floor you are attaching the tiles to. Depending on the surface you’re tiling onto, you may also need to do additional preparation with primer solutions.
Wait for Tiles to Set Before Grouting
Many people will grout tiles too quickly to get the job done sooner, which does not give the tiles ample time to set sufficiently. Tiles should have at least 24 hours to set before being grouted.
You should spread the grout evenly and slowly using a support tool like a squeegee. If you do this too quickly and grout a large area before laying your tiles, certain areas may dry out faster and lead to an uneven tiling finish.
Using a sealant between tiles and a bathtub or kitchen sink prevents any leaks from ruining your tiled floor. This is important in any area of the home where you expect high moisture levels.
Tile onto a Smooth Surface
Even master tilers can’t overcome the drawbacks of sloped, uneven, or patchy floor surfaces. For a tiled floor to look fantastic and smooth throughout your home, you’ll need the base layer underneath to be perfectly even.
You may need to sand the surface with the right tools first, or perhaps lay down a layer of liquid screed to ensure it is ready for tiles to be put down.
Looking for Floor Screed Suppliers in Bristol?
If you are looking for Floor Screed Suppliers in Bristol to lay down some tiled floors and want to ensure your floor surface is perfectly smooth and even, UK Screed Ltd can help advise on your floor preparation and planning approach.
Our self-levelling screeds can help you ensure your tile application is as flawless as you’d hoped with no chance of cracks or debonding in the future.