Ceramic tiles are a beautiful and practical addition to any home and the good news is that if you are little bit handy, you can install them yourself, saving you money. Here we give you everything you need to know to get started.
Preparing the Surface for Laying Tiles
The most important part of laying ceramic tiles is to have a perfectly flat and level surface, whether that is the wall or the floor. Use a level to make sure that the surface is completely flat. If it is not flat, use a levelling compound, fillers, underlay, fibre cement sheeting or new gyprock as appropriate to ensure that it is. Also make sure that the surface is completely dry. This includes concrete, which should be completely cured before tiles are laid on it. Finally, make sure that the surface is clean and free of dust.
How to Lay the Tiles
The next step is to actually start laying the tiles. You may wish to lay them all out first, especially if you are planning on having a pattern within the tiles. This will ensure that you don’t accidentally mess the pattern up when you are laying the tiles themselves. The first step is to spread tile adhesive on the surface. Only cover about one square metre at a time so that you don’t risk it drying before you get to it. Starting in a corner lay the tiles one by one, using tile spacers so that each tile is spaced evenly apart. Make sure that the tile spacers are low enough to be grouted over or that you remove them as you go. Don’t forget to check your tiles with a level occasionally. If some are sitting too high or too low, quickly remove it and adjust the adhesive underneath as necessary. Once you have laid as many whole tiles as you can, the next step is to cut the tiles to fit inside the gaps around the edges. The easiest way to do this is by using a tile cutter. Lay the cut tiles to fit.
Grouting Ceramic Tiles
The tile adhesive will need to cure for a full 24 hours before you can grout the tiles. When it is completely dry, you add the grout to in between the tiles using a grout spreader. Spread the grout in a diagonal motion, forcing it down into the gaps. Wipe away excess grout regularly with a damp cloth. Once you have finished grouting, use a clean, wet sponge to wipe away any remaining grout and to ensure that the grout is flush with the tiles. After about half an hour, another hazy film should appear. You can remove this with just a soft cloth. When the grout is fully dried (which can take up to 72 hours) apply a silicone or water based sealer to the grout.
If you do need any help or advice, simply contact a tiler