The Tiling Process

There is a well known adage that says a job that is well planned is a job that is already half done and this is certainly true when tiling walls and floors. Good advance planning is essential if a professional finish is to be achieved. A good percentage of the planning process takes place before a single tile has been laid, but even when the work has actually begun, an efficient system can help even a novice in do it yourself to achieve a high standard of finish.

Plan effectively
 It is very important, when tiling, to know what you are going to do before you proceed. The planning process includes such relatively straightforward issues as which tiles to use and how many tiles are required for the area in question. Of great importance to the actual tiling process is a plan of where to start, the position of the first tile being used to determine the line of the rest of the tiles to be fixed. In establishing this, the necessary preparation work on the surface should also be taken into account, including checking that the surface is suitable and level for tiling and planning and positioning any battening that is to be used in the work.

Work in small sections
 Once the actual tiling work has been started, it is a good idea to plan and work on small sections of tiling as you proceed through the whole project. This is true, whether the tiling is being carried out on floors or walls or both and is also true for all tiling materials and any area of wall or floor. On walls, it is best to work from the bottom up; on walls and floors it is best to work row by row, in sections of one metre square. One advantage of such an approach is that it makes a large tiling project more manageable; another benefit is that by planning, implementing and reviewing tiling work in small sections, any necessary small adjustments can be made with the appopriate tools as the work progresses, without the need to go back over a large section to correct any faults. In addition, by tiling sections of one metre at a time, the adhesive on the tiles should not form a skin before the tiles are fixed in place.

Take care with special areas
 The planning and implementation of work in small sections becomes even more important when the tiling involves wall or floor areas that have special features or restrictions. Tiling around windows, doors, boxed pipework and so on means that additional edges will be required and tiles will need to be cut and laid to suit awkward shapes and fit into difficult to reach locations. Special tools like the Edgesetter from Suretile make this job much easier. By tackling such sections of work individually, any problems that arise can be more swiftly dealt with and corrected and planning for subsequent sections of tiling can be modified, if necessary. In addition, in areas that might be prone to water seepage, such as around baths or basins, it is necessary to use an adequate water sealant in the form of sealing strip or silicone sealant.

Use adhesive correctly
 Once the tiling process begins, one of the crucial aspects to consider is the correct and effective use of adhesive to ensure that the tiles remain in place and that they are correctly placed level. In many cases, it is possible to single spread adhesive, which simply meaning that it is spread just on the section of wall or floor to be tiled. In tight or difficult spaces, the adhesive may be spread just on the tile back. On the other hand, for extra security, a consistent approach of double spreading adhesive on both the tile and the wall or floor is also possible. It is necessary to spread the adhesive evenly, so do not be tempted to dot and dab the adhesive onto the wall or floor. Once the required area of adhesive has been applied, press the tile firmly into it, twisting the tile into the adhesive slightly to ensure good adhesion.

Check position and level at all stages
 By drawing a vertical line, otherwise known as a plumb line, on the wall, an extra visual aid is provided to help ensure that the tiles are laid straight. The position and level of the initial horizontal batten should also be checked in this respect and a spirit or other type level should be used to ensure that the row of tiles is laid straight. As the tiling proceeds, check that each tile is laid level and flush with the adjacent tile laid previously using for example the very useful multifunctional Multi-tool. In addition, use spacers to make sure that the gaps between tiles remains consistent. Check that grout line intersections are correctly aligned and remember not to leave spacers in the grout lines. At each step and with each tile that is laid, it is important to continually check the evenness and alignment of the tile using a levelling tool and other measuring equipment. By proceeding in this way, you can be sure that each section of work completed is as it should be, which reduces the risk of having to go back to make corrections at a later stage. When each tile is fixed, any excess adhesive should be removed from the grout lines using the Multi-tool so that there is sufficient space for the grout to fill the gaps between the rows of tiles.

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