tile-basics

Floor tile is a very beautiful and classic way to spruce up a drab kitchen or dull bathroom. It is not only pleasing to look at but also a durable, versatile material for areas that tend to see high levels of traffic and moisture. Easy to clean and maintain, a tile floor, when installed properly, might be the last floor you’ll ever need. If you’re considering installing new tile in your home, there are a few factors to take into account to make sure that your floor will go the distance and look good doing it.

Drying Time and Other Installation Considerations

Whether you do the job yourself, or you hire a professional for the task, proper drying time is crucial for a successful floor tile installation. Even though the job might look done, a newly laid floor needs a bit of a rest before you can walk on it. Though it might be a pain to wait the minimum 12 hours before using your new bathroom or kitchen floor, the pros will tell you that 24 hours of drying time is ideal (the same amount of time should also be allowed for tiles on walls or countertops). Think of this as a great time for a day trip to a relative or friend’s house.

One thing that many first time “tilers” need to think about is composition. Putting smaller tiles on a large kitchen floor will not only be time consuming, but will actually make the whole room appear too busy for most people’s tastes. Contrarily, using large tiles in a small room can actually make the space appear bigger. It is also important to carefully consider not just the color and size of the tile, but what it is made of. Natural stone tiles, for example, hold up extremely well, but might require more attention than your average ceramic tile.

Of particular concern for many homeowners is the appearance and care of the grout between the tiles. A thorn in the side of even some of the most efficient cleaners, grout has a tendency to discolor and hold stains. Make sure that whoever does the job seals the grout to prevent stains. For grout that is long past its prime, you may be able to replace the old grout at a fraction of the cost (and time spent) installing a new floor.

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DIY Floor Tile Installation

This project, though definitely doable, might require a little more work than it seems at first glance. Working with tile is all about attention to detail. Not only will poorly set tiles look askew and throw off the overall effect of the room, floor tile installation that’s a little off could lead to much larger problems. Loose tiles and moisture problems underneath a floor’s surface are often traced back to the time of installation. If you’re serious about doing the job yourself, it is a good idea to get some practice working with tile on a smaller scale (bathroom closet, anyone?) and have a good long talk with a contractor you trust about a few tricks of the trade you might not know of.

Professional Installation

If you’re the kind of homeowner who’d rather not sweat the small stuff, hiring a professional to install floor tile will take a lot of the guesswork out of the process, and give you a much better chance of having the job done right in a short amount of time. Not only will a tile contractor be able to do the job quickly and professionally, but they’ll be able to offer you some sound advice on what tiles will work best in your situation, and give you some tips on upkeep and cleaning, as well.


1 Comments

  1. Christopher J Kempton, May 21:

    I’m putting down 1/4 ” backer board on plywood with thin set screwing down. How long should I wait before putting ceramic tile down? Can I put plywood then tile at the same time?

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