Archive for January, 2013

Installing tile walls in your kitchen or bath is a high-end design project that will enhance your home and will pay for itself. Tiled walls increase the value of any residence. And with careful preparation and a little practice cutting tiles, even the first time tile installer will produce a satisfying, great looking job to enjoy.

There is an astounding array of tile on the market, with elegant varieties imported from Italy, Spain and Portugal. Tile comes in traditional or contemporary finishes and in many sizes. Glazed tile manufactured in matte or shiny finishes is usually installed around sinks and tubs. Matte unglazed tile is used for flooring and wall surfaces.
When purchasing tile, you may need flat -or field-tiles and trim tiles with finished—or bullnose—edges or shaped to fit joints or corners. Tiles smaller than 4 x 4 in a sheet, or mosaics, come attached to a sheet. After you’ve chosen a tile, make sure it is available in the quantity you need for your project and buy extra to account for breakage.
Safety Recommendations: Rubber gloves should be worn during this project.
  • Backer board
  • T-square
  • Drill/driver
  • Taping knife
  • Notched trowel
  • Sponge-faced float
  • Tile cutter and nippers
  • Sponge
  • Spacers
  • Tile adhesive
  • Grout
  • Fiberglass tape
  • Pencil

Step 1: Prepare the walls. Repair any plaster or drywall with patching material and sand smooth. If present remove wallpaper and sand any glossy areas.

Step 2: Install cement backer board. Cement backer board-available in ¼ inch or ½ inch thick-must be installed if you are tiling a bathroom or sink area. Measure and cut to size with a utility knife by scoring and snapping.
Step 3: Install cement backerboard to drywall. Use 1-1/2″ inch galvanized roofing nails or 1-1/4″ inch galvanized screws. Never use drywall screws for anything but drywall. Drive fasteners 8″ inches apart making sure they line up with and penetrate the wall studs.
Step 4: Tape cement board joints. Trowel cement board joints with thinset and cut lengths of fiberglass mesh tape. Embed the mesh into the mortar.  If you are prepping new drywall, you will not need to tape the joints
Step 5: Create a layout tool. Determine the center of your wall and pencil in a vertical and horizontal line running the length and height. Lay out tiles, leaving room for grout line using spacers. Line up a wood stick along the top row of tiles and mark tile and grout spaces. You can use this tool along with a level to lay out tile, starting in center of wall. Mark border tiles that need to be cut. Place a tile over the last tile and mark a line. Use your tile cutter to cut.
Leave space when installing around a tub or shower equal to the width of one tile plus 1/8 inch from top of tub or base of shower which is later caulked.
Step 6: Mark placement on walls, using a pencil, level, and your layout tool.
Step 7: Apply a thinset adhesive. Beginning in center trowel on thinset, covering a small area at a time using a notched trowel. Make sure not to cover layout lines.
Step 8: Attach tiles to adhesive. With a slight twisting motion press a tile in place. Leave space for grout and spacers, if using.
Step 9: Cut irregular tiles, using tile nippers. Tiles have to be cut to fit around pipes or other fixtures or to fit into corners or other irregular areas. Practice on spare tiles if you haven’t used tile nippers before. Make several small clips to remove tile material and prevent cracking a tile.
Step 10: Grout the seams when the tile has been set. The type of tile being installed will determine the type of grout you will use. Many colors are available or you could mix a custom color. Mix a sample by adding colorant to grout mix and allowing a batch to dry check the actual color. Apply grout with a sponge-faced float or squeegee, brushing across the seams diagonally. When you’re done, wipe of excess grout with a damp sponge. After tiles have set and grout has dried, polish with a dry cloth.
Howard Stier

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