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10 Expert Tiling Tips

Flooring & Tiles
By on Apr 1, 2014
10 Expert Tiling Tips

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One of the first surprises homeowners have, when the decision is made to use tile or stone for their home renovation projects, is the cost. But, when installed correctly, tile will last as long as you are in your house. And with proper maintenance, it will stay as beautiful as the day it was installed. And let's face it, it's hard to find anything else that can take so much abuse and keep on going.

Once contractors have finished our mud (mortar) work and the mortar mess is cleaned up, the new tile is ready. At this point, homeowners always say, "That looks like fun." They stand back and observe, thinking to themselves, "How come I hired them? I could do that myself. Looks pretty easy. Just slap it on the wall and up it goes, right?"


It might look easy, but anyone who does his job professionally should make it look easy. If you slap tile up on the wall, that's the look you'll get—slapped up on the wall. People we know who have tried to do it themselves say to us, "It started off okay, but then it started to get away from me and turned ugly. I'll never lay tile myself again."

Let the pro's handle your tile project. Contact a contractor today and get quotes from tile pros in your area, for free.

Frequently Asked Questions About Tile

Even if you aren't laying the tile yourself, you'll want to be informed on a few of the best practices and materials pros follow. Here are a few frequently asked questions about tile projects for your home.

10. What Kind Of Sealer & Cleaner Can I Use?

We prefer the Glaze and Seal brands of both. For an area that gets a lot of water, like a shower or a tub surround, you want to use a penetrating sealer. For other areas, like a floor or a kitchen counter, you should use an acrylic water-based sealer. Apply often, usually four times a year. Make sure the area is clean and dry before reapplying a sealer. For a cleaner, don't buy over-the-counter products. These products clean primarily by acid and are eating your grout every time you use them. Instead, go to your local tile store and buy a neutral cleaner. There is a certain amount of maintenance with tile, but if you keep tile clean, it will look beautiful for many years.

9. What's The Difference Between The Cement Board & Mortar Bed Application?

Cement board is made from aggregated slurry with a layer of fiberglass mesh embedded into each side. It acts as a single unit and is screwed or nailed down. If the walls or the floor it's being attached to are uneven or out of level or plumb, then the tile work will be out of line by the same amount. A mortar bed application is a solid unit of sand and cement mix that allows you to level out floors or plumb up walls so you can install the tile on a flat, true surface. A mortar bed is a far superior application.

8. What's The Difference Between Sanded & Non-Sanded Grout?

Non-sanded grout is a cement cream used for tight joints not bigger than 1/8 inch. Sanded grout has an aggregate added to it for larger joints, usually 1/8 inch to 3/8 inch.

7. How Can I Drill A Hole In Ceramic Tile?

You need to use a masonry bit on your drill. Make sure to triple check where you want the hole because should you misplace it, it will be difficult to reinstall the tile.

6. Is Ceramic Tile Very Cold?

Ceramic tile reflects the room temperature and holds on to that temperature for a long time. At times it can be cold. There are products out there that can be installed prior to tile installation that can warm up a floor.

5. Is Ceramic Tile Waterproof?

This is a HUGE misconception. The tile itself is water tolerant and does not decay in water. The glaze on a tile is waterproof. However, the grout joints connecting the tile do allow water transmission. This is where an improper installation can result in a structural problem and a costly replacement. The best thing to do for the grout is to seal it and keep any cracks caulked. Simple tile maintenance will give your tile long life.

4. Is Gloss Tile Very Slippery?

Yes, most anything that is glossy is slippery when wet. You need to bear that in mind if you are putting gloss tile in your bathroom. Also, most gloss tile scratches, so it's not a good choice for counters or for kitchen or bathroom floors.

3. How Do I Care For Tile?

One of the biggest questions homeowners ask is how they should care for it. Tile will last a long time if you treat it right. Regular maintenance, like tile cleaning, is necessary. However, it's important to get your tile and grout repaired if you notice a crack or damage, right away.

2. How Much Money Will It Cost?

That depends on several factors: type of installation, type of tile, layout of tile, and type of grout used. Use ImproveNet's Tile & Grout cost estimators to help you budget for your home improvement project.

1. When Can Contractors Start & When Will The Project Be Done?

If your job is the only job we are doing this year, then right away. But in the real life of construction, there are many factors that affect a job before we even get to the site. Time frames are in constant adjustment. Patience with your tile contractor will make your job go more smoothly.

Looking for a hot trend in tile? Read The Next Trend In Tile: Faux Wood Tile.

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