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Tiles Installation

  1. How to Choose Tile for a Shower?
  2. Porcelain Tiles vs. Ceramic Tiles?
  3. Best Types of Tile for Kitchen Countertops?
  4. Tips on Cleaning Bathroom Tiles?
  5. How to Choose Tile Colors?
  6. Tips on Tiling Around the Tub?
  7. How to Install Tile Around a Toilet?
  8. How to Tile Over a Leveled Wood Floor?
  9. How to Use a Tile Cutter?
  10. How to Tile Your Bathroom Floor?

1. How to Choose Tile for a Shower?

Shower tiles serve two functions: They add to a bathroom's decor, and they protect the drywall underneath from moisture. There is no limit to how you can use wall Tiles, from borders to shower murals. What you choose will depend on several factors, including your color scheme, the material used for the tile and maintenance in the future. Take a look below to learn how to choose tile for a shower.

Choosing shower tile:
Select water-resistant tiles. Glazed tiles are ideal for showers because, unlike quarry tiles, they will not absorb moisture, which leads to mold. If you plan to tile the shower floor as well, choose tiles that are also slip-resistant.

Select tiles based on the material. Shower tiles are available in ceramic, glass, porcelain, metal and stone. Each has its own appeal, and prices vary accordingly.

Choose your colors carefully. If you plan to maintain the same bathroom decor for a long time, avoid trends. Instead, choose colors that look timeless, such as earth tones. Neutral colors will also allow you to redecorate the rest of the bathroom without having to change your wall tiles.

Determine your design. You can choose between plain and patterned tiles to fit any design you have in mind. Some tiles lend themselves well to pictorial images on shower walls, while others are best for borders.

Consider cost. Using certain tiles, such as glass and marble, to cover your shower walls may be cost-prohibitive. If you have a strict budget but would still like to incorporate these tiles in your design, use them as accents. Intersperse them with less expensive tiles or use them as borders around the edges of the tiled wall.

Determine the number of tiles you need. Do you need enough to tile the shower completely or just enough to cover one shower wall? Figure out how many tiles you need before you begin.

Think about the size of your shower. If your shower is small, you may not have enough space to create a repeating design with large tiles; however, a design made of smaller tiles may be just right.

Imagine future maintenance. Small tiles require the application of more grout, which will lead to more work during cleaning. Think about the time and effort you'll be able to devote to future maintenance before making any buying decisions.

2. Porcelain Tiles Vs. Ceramic Tiles?

Tile is a building material known for its durability, moisture resistance and low maintenance requirements. Tile is often used in kitchens and bathrooms but is fairly versatile and can be used in a wide variety of applications, such as countertops, backsplashes and decorative wall coverings. The most common types of tile are porcelain and ceramic. Each offers distinct benefits and drawbacks that should be considered before making a purchase decision.
Manufacturing. Ceramic tile is made from natural clay, sand and water. These materials are molded to form square or rectangular tiles and then baked in a kiln to remove most of the moisture. Porcelain tile is also made from clay but tends to be made using denser types of clay than ceramic. Porcelain tiles are baked at very high temperatures for long periods of time so that almost all the water is removed. This longer drying time makes porcelain tile much harder and denser than ceramic.

Features. Ceramic and porcelain tend to have different overall colorings and appearances. Ceramic tile is known for its natural red terra-cotta finish, while porcelain is usually white or grey. Although ceramic may be glazed to create different surface colors or designs, porcelain is usually left unglazed. White chips in the glaze can be highly visible on ceramic tiles, whereas chips in porcelain are not as noticeable because these tiles are the same color throughout.

Uses. Both porcelain and ceramic can be used to cover walls, ceilings, countertops, showers and backsplashes. Ceramic is designed only for indoor use, while porcelain can safely be used indoors or out. This designation is due to the higher moisture content of ceramic tile, which makes it more susceptible to freezing- and thawing-related cracks. Porcelain has a lower moisture content and is less likely to crack due to freezing.

Cost. Porcelain generally costs more than ceramic tile. At the same time, porcelain is more durable and longer lasting, so it may be the cheaper of the two over the life of the installation. Porcelain is also less porous, making it easier to clean and less likely to stain. Stained ceramic may require replacement due to the difficulty of removing stains from porous tiles.

Durability. Porcelain can be expected to last longer than ceramic in almost any application. It can withstand high levels of traffic and increased levels of wear and tear. Ceramic is likely to chip or crack if objects are dropped on it, and the tiles are not expected to hold up for as long as porcelain units. Ceramic should not be used in most commercial applications, while porcelain can be used in light- or medium-duty commercial projects in addition to residential.

Installation. Porcelain is very hard and durable, which can be a problem during installation. Its dense nature makes it difficult to cut, especially when special shapes or rounded edges are needed. For do-it-yourself installers, ceramic is often the better choice because it requires fewer special tools. It is also better to use ceramic when working in an oddly shaped area that requires a large number of special cuts.

3. Best Types of Tile for Kitchen Countertops?

Tile kitchen countertops are an affordable alternative to traditional solid stone units. Countertop tile can be made from many of the most popular materials, such as granite or quartz, yet costs just a fraction of the price. Tile countertops are also easy to install and repair, making them the perfect project for the DIY homeowner.
Ceramic. Ceramic tile is made from natural clay that is baked to remove excess moisture. It is available in a wide variety of colors and designs that can be mixed and matched to any kitchen. Ceramic tile is affordable, easy to install and very low maintenance. It is also waterproof and able to withstand high temperatures from hot dishes. If you choose ceramic tile for your kitchen countertops, you should be aware that ceramic tile can crack or chip if heavy objects are dropped on it. To minimize grout stains, you can choose a dark grout and use a grout sealer to protect the seams from dirt.

Mosaic. Mosaic tile comes in tiny 1-inch square units. It is often sold in large sheets that are attached to a mesh backer-board, making for easy and fast installation. These tiles can be mixed to create unique patterns and textures, and are very durable. One advantage of mosaic tiles is that they are colored all the way through, so a chip or crack will not be as visible as with ceramic tile.

Granite. Granite tile is a natural stone product that is widely popular in kitchen decor. Tiles made from granite offer the beauty of natural stone at a fraction of the cost. Granite tiles often have a mottled surface that helps to hide dirt and fingerprints and are incredibly strong and long-lasting. Like all granite products, these tiles must be sealed after installation and at least once a year for the duration of their use.

Quartz. Quartz tile is a manufactured product designed to look similar to granite while offering superior performance. It is made from crushed quartz crystals pressed together with resin. Quartz tile has a smooth and uniform surface with a consistent grain. It is slightly less expensive than granite and is much more durable and long-lasting. Unlike granite, quartz tiles do not need to be sealed. They are completely nonporous, which prevents bacteria from becoming trapped in the surface. Quartz cannot be repaired as easily as granite, however, and it offers none of the natural beauty and color variation of real stone.

4. Tips on Cleaning Bathroom Tiles?

Bathroom tile is a classic, durable and practical choice for bathroom flooring and wall coverings, but even the most low-maintenance choices require some care and cleaning. If not cared for properly and regularly, bathroom tile can begin to accumulate soap deposits and even mildew, mold and bacteria. Clean bathroom tile at least once per week with some high-quality cleaning supplies, scrubbers and other cleaning equipment to protect the tile and keep it looking clean and new.
Pre-clean with a spray cleaner. A basic all-in-one cleaning spray designed for kitchens and bathrooms will prepare the tile for cleaning. Scrub the tiles gently using circular motions with a sponge or scrubbing brush. Rinse the tile with warm water.

Use a bleach solution to kill mold and mildew. A solution of equal amounts of bleach and water can kill bacteria, mold and mildew buildup on the tile. Spray this solution onto the surface of the tile and scrub it away with a brush or sponge, using firm pressure and scrubbing in a circular motion. Rinse the tile with hot water.

Use a vinegar solution to clean grout. Grout is the area between the tile that typically accumulates most of the dirt, mildew and stains from everyday bathroom use. You will need a more powerful cleaning solution, such as 1/4 cup of vinegar, 1/3 cup of ammonia and 1/2 cup of baking soda mixed with 7 cups of water, to scrub this area clean.

Apply a soap scum remover. Soap scum can be difficult to remove with the standard bathroom tile cleaner, so if you notice any residue from hard water or soap on the tile, you can use a soap scum remover made with powerful cleaning agents such as lactic acid, alcohol, white vinegar or lemon oil.

Polish tiles with a soft towel. Buff the bathroom tile clean with a soft towel so that it is shiny and free of any remaining debris or dust. This final step will leave the tile gleaming and as good as new.

5. How to Choose Tile Colors?

The color and texture of tile helps set the tone of a room. A popular way to infuse color into kitchens, bathrooms and entryways, tile offers solid and variegated color choices, multiple patterns and diverse shapes. Use hand-painted tile for a custom touch or rely on the natural variance in multicolored and patterned tiles. Before deciding on a tile color for any surface, take note of existing colors in the room, the mood you want for the room and the amount of foot traffic the area receives. Here are a few steps to help you decide on the perfect tile color for your home improvement project.
Consider the size of room before choosing a color. Floor tile colors in light hues, such as cream and pastels, can make a small room look larger. Light tile colors are good choices for a guest bathroom or narrow hallway. Dark floor tile colors, in rich chocolates, burnt sienna and variegated navy tones, look best in large areas like kitchens with an open floor plan and plenty of light.

Decide on a tile type. Stain-resistant, glazed ceramic tiles work well on countertops or on bathroom and kitchen walls that are exposed to high humidity. Dense porcelain tile is scratch-resistant and works well for flooring.

Consult a color wheel for combinations. Create a vibrant statement by choosing colors that are opposite on the color wheel. For example, in a room where you like to entertain, contrast a terra cotta tile with a rich blue wall color to give the room energy. In a room where you want to relax, choose colors that are next to each other on the color wheel. The tone-on-tone colors will create a more tranquil feeling.

Think of texture for different surfaces. Select floor tile with a mottled pattern for high-traffic rooms. Dirt and scuff marks are less likely to show on tile with variegated colors. Terrazzo tile with embedded stone and marble chips creates a multicolored effect. Choose terrazzo tile with a blend of brown, tan and cream colors for a neutral option in high-traffic areas such as entryways, kitchens and bathrooms. A combination of varying shades of grey and white is another popular choice for busy areas of the home.

Let the color take center stage. In a bathroom or kitchen, the countertop tile, backsplash tile and wall tile will become a central part of the decor. When you are using tile in a small area, you can choose the tile color in the same way you would choose a piece of art. Let it stand out.

6. Tips on Tiling Around the Tub?

Tile adds a touch of style in the bathroom while providing a water-resistant surface that is easy to clean. With many sizes and colors of tile to choose from, your project can be as simple or as elegant as you choose. Laying tile around the tub isn't a difficult job, but it does require precision, planning and the correct tools. When you're ready to tackle the job, a few tips will help you get started and ensure you're happy with your bath tile job.
Preparation is key. Preparing the tile surface surrounding the tub is important to ensure quality installation. Traditional drywall and plywood are susceptible to deterioration from excessive moisture, so installing moisture-resistant drywall or cement board will help prevent water damage.

Protect your existing fixtures. Cover the tub, faucets and surrounding floor with a heavy plastic drop cloth and tape it in place along the edges. Grout, 
bathroom tile and mortar can fall into the tub and may scratch the surface.

Measuring and layout. If you are using a tile pattern, you will want to center the pattern on the spaces being covering with tile. This ensures an even pattern and you will only need to cut the tiles that meet at a wall edge or corner. Measure the dimensions of the exact area you're going to tile. Using tile spacers, lay the tile pattern on the floor, starting in the center of the pattern and building outward until you reach the measured size of the area you wish to tile. The end tiles may be too long, and you may need to cut each one with a tile saw to make them fit. Use this pattern to install the tiles on the wall. Cut the edge tiles, using a wet tile saw, before you begin laying the tile.

Understanding mortar and glue. Tiles may be installed with either mortar or tile glue. Mortar comes as a powder, and you need to mix it with water before spreading it on the wall with a wide putty knife. Tile glue comes prepared in sealed buckets, and you will spread it with a notched-tooth trowel. Apply the glue or grout only to a small area at a time to prevent drying before the tiles are set. Typically, grout is applied approximately 1/8-inch thick, but tile glue may be applied in a thinner layer and still hold the tiles securely.

Use tile installation tools. Tile spacers and a carpenter's level help make sure that your tile will lay straight and clean.

Installing the tile in order. Place one tile at a time, starting with center of the bottom row. Press the tile firmly into the mortar or glue and insert two spacers on each edge before placing the next tile. Additional tiles should line up at the corners and rest snugly against the spacers to ensure uniformity. Install the entire bottom row and check several times with a carpenter's level to make sure the tiles are level and straight. Once the bottom row is correctly in place, repeat the process with the additional rows, working your way upward.

Grout. After allowing the installed tiles to set until firmly attached, you will grout the joints with a mortar grout or a silicone caulking. Grout is applied with a small putty knife to the joints and smoothed into the cracks. You must apply sealer to grout once it dries. Silicone caulking squeezes into the joints from a tube and smoothes into place with a wet sponge. Silicone seals the tile.

Uneven walls. Measure the angles of each corner in the areas where you want to lay tile. If they are more or less than 90 degrees, you will need to cut the first level of tiles at an angle to correct the corner angle. This will help your tile pattern align correctly on the wall. Typically, it's better for tile to be parallel to the vertical lines on any wall.

Cover up your pattern edges. Tiling near the edge of a wall can be hard, and edges often end up looking sloppy. You can cover these edges or corners with molding, making all your edges look clean.

7. How to Install Tile Around a Toilet?

You can't tile a bathroom without having to contend with the toilet. To install tile properly around the toilet, you need to affix it to the floor under the fixture. Because toilets sit on top of tile, any rough cuts are hidden, making it easy to achieve the appearance of tile that has been custom-cut for your bathroom. Take a look below to learn how to install tile around a toilet.

Shut off the water supply. Turn off the toilet's water supply and flush the water in the bowl.

Remove the toilet. Remove the toilet by taking off the retaining bolts, disconnecting the supply line and lifting the toilet straight up. The toilet should have a wax sealing ring that will break when the toilet is lifted. It's common for some water to continue leaking from the toilet after it has been lifted.

Remove the wax sealing ring. Remove the wax ring from the bottom of the toilet and place the toilet in a safe location. The bathtub is a good place to store the toilet while you work.

Clean the floor. Clean and dry the floor before you begin laying tile. Depending on how much debris is on the floor, you may want to consider covering the toilet's drainage pipe to make sure nothing falls into it.

Lay the tile. Lay the tile up to the drainage pipe's retaining ring. Use tile cutters to cut the pieces so that they closely surround the retaining ring; the gap should be 1/4 inch or less. Lay the tiles without adhesive to make sure the cuts are accurate.

Apply the tiles. Apply the tiles and allow the adhesive to dry completely. Next, apply the grout. Don't grout the gap between the tiles and the retaining ring.

Replace the wax ring. Replace the wax sealing ring with a new ring.

Reinstall the toilet. Depending on the thickness of the tile, you may need longer retaining bolts.

Reconnect the water supply. Reconnect the supply line and flush the toilet to fill the bowl with water.

8. How to Tile Over a Leveled Wood Floor?

Once your wood sub-floor has been properly secured, sealed and leveled, you are ready to begin the tiling process. Whether you are using slate or ceramic, mosaic or hex tile flooring, this article will guide you through the step-by-step process of how to tile over a leveled wood floor.
Measure each wall. Use chalk to mark the center point of each wall. Extend a chalk-line tool between the center points of each set of opposing walls and snap the chalk-covered string to create a chalk line on the floor.

The tiles must be laid from the center of the room moving out toward the walls. Place a vinyl tile spacer over the chalk "X" and position four floor tiles at the very center of the room, arranged around the tile separator.

Move the tile spacer and two of the tiles aside. Apply a thin layer of fast-setting mortar to the floor using the toothed edge of a trowel.

Press the two tiles into the mortar and put the spacer in place. Use the other two tiles as a guide for the alignment, and then apply mortar under the other two tiles and press them into place.

Tile the rest of the room by moving out toward the walls. The tiles may need to be cut using a tile cutter in order to fit at the very edges of the room.

Allow the mortar to fully set. Wait for 24 hours (or longer, if indicated on the mortar packaging) and avoid walking on the tiles during this time.

Mix water and grouting compound in a bucket. Use a trowel to apply the grout to the spaces between the tiles by sweeping the trowel diagonally across the tile.

Immediately wipe away excess grout with a wet rag. If necessary, use a spray bottle with water to keep the grout moist while cleaning off the tile.

Allow the grout to fully set. Wait for 24 hours (or longer, if indicated on the grout packaging). After the grout has set, the floor is ready for normal use.

9. How to Use a Tile Cutter?

Cutting tile is part of any tiling project. Different types of tile cutters are available, allowing you to perform small trims, straight cuts and hole cuts or complete a large project. Using the right tile cutting saw in the correct way will make your tiling project go more smoothly, resulting in fewer mishaps and less expenditure.

Glass cutters: Use a glass cutter to perform straight cuts on ceramic or glass tiles. Mark the tile where you want to make your cut and lay a straight edge along the mark. The glass cutter tool is equipped with a small, sharp-toothed wheel on one end. Run the wheel of the tool along the mark to score the surface. Use enough pressure to break the glaze of the tile. Tape a dowel rod to a flat surface. Place the tile on the dowel rod, lining up the score with the dowel rod. Hold both ends of the tile and apply downward pressure until the tile snaps.

Snap cutters: Use a snap cutter if you have a small number of tiles to cut. A snap cutter is sometimes referred to as a rail cutter. Mark your tile. Lay the tile onto the snap cutter, lining up the mark with the cutting wheel. Run the cutting wheel along the mark, using the rail to move the wheel. This breaks through the glaze of the tile. Push the lever downward to break the tile.

Tile nippers: Use tile nippers to trim edges or shape a tile. Mark the area you wish to trim. Hold the tile firmly, glaze side up. The end of a tile nipper has "jaws" that clamp onto the edge of the tile. Place the tile nipper so the jaws clamp onto the area to be removed. Apply pressure, breaking through the glaze and snapping off pieces from the tile. You may need to continue nipping until the tile is the shape you desire.

Hole-cutters: Use a hole-cutter to make a circular cut or a hole in the tile. Mark the tile and make a mark in the center of the circle as well. Place the tip of a punch on the center mark, and tap it lightly with a hammer to break the glaze and create a small dimple on the surface. Insert the hole-cutter into a hammer drill. Line up the hole-cutter with the mark, making sure the dimple is centered. Use a slow speed to drill through the tile.

Wet saws: A wet saw is a power tool designed for large tile cutting jobs. Place the wet saw on a stable surface. Each manufacturer provides specific recommendations for use of their power tools; read these carefully before proceeding. Fill the reservoir with water. Check that the blade is secure and free of obstacles. Plug in the wet saw and turn it on using the power switch. Place the tile along the fence of the saw, and slowly feed the tile into the blade. Once the tile is cut, turn the saw off using the power switch.

10. How to Tile Your Bathroom Floor?

Installing floor tile is a simple procedure that you can accomplish by following specific steps. The result will be a beautiful floor and a sense of accomplishment because you have done it yourself. Once you understand the basic process, you can add borders or accent tiles and make the design your own.
Note: These installation instructions begin with a clean subfloor. If you have old linoleum or tiles, you will need to prep the floor by removing the old material and installing new cement board over the old subfloor. If you install board over old material and raise the height of the floor, you may need to cut or plane the bottom of the door.
Mark the starting point. Measure the door opening and mark the halfway point directly on the subfloor with a wax pencil.

Apply glue. Spread a layer of glue on the floor using the smooth side of the trowel, covering an area that you think you can tile in about a half an hour. Start small so that you don't waste glue. Once the area is covered, use the notched side of the trowel to groove the glue. Hold the trowel lightly at a 45 degree angle to the floor and scrape towards the outside of the glue area, making grooves in the glue.

Place the tiles. Start by placing a full tile on either side of the halfway mark. Place a spacer flat on the floor at the inside corner where the two tiles meet and press the tiles down and in -- towards the floor and towards each other to meet the spacer.

Continue to place spacers at each corner and lay down full tiles, working your way outwards. Make sure to work your way around to one side, so you don't tile yourself into a corner.

Cut the edge tiles. Measure the space and deduct twice the width of your spacers (3/8 inch if you are using 3/16-inch spacers). Set the fence of the tile saw to the desired measurement, lock the fence and cut the tile. Set the tile and spacers; place a spacer between the tile and the existing baseboard or wall to allow for a grout line.

Clean up. Wipe excess glue off of the set tiles with a damp sponge. Allow glue to dry for 24 to 48 hours.

Grout. Mix sanded grout per the bag instructions. Apply with a grout float, covering all joints. While holding the float at a 45 degree angle to the floor, scrape excess grout from the tiles with the float edge. Allow grout to set for about 10 minutes and then wipe the floor with a damp sponge to remove excess grout. There should be a film left on the floor. Allow grout to dry for 24-48 hours.

Seal. Polish grout film from floor with soft cloth. Wipe the grout lines with sealer per instructions on the sealant container. Apply the sealer with a clean, damp sponge and wipe off excess. Allow the sealer to dry.