It's always a good idea to hire a professional tiler
to do your tiling for you. However, if you are reasonably handy and have a knack for detailed work, tiling can be a successful DIY project. If you know how to prepare for tiling, you can save money by doing the preparation work yourself before your tiler comes.
How to Prepare Walls for Tiling
If you are going to be tiling over an existing wall, your biggest challenge will lie in preparing the wall so that the tiles will firmly stick to the walls and stay there. This is a vital step that may do-it-yourselfers either skip or don't do thoroughly enough.
If your walls have been previously painted, you will need to remove all the paint. Your local paint supplier
will have paint remover and the other supplies you need (don't forget to include protective eye wear and gloves). Follow the directions and strip all the paint from the walls. After that, fill any holes and gouges in the bare wall. Finally, using a sanding block and coarse sandpaper, "rough up" the portions of the walls that are going to be tiled.
If you are going to be replacing wall tiles, you will probably find that you will have to do even more wall preparation before your walls will be ready for re-tiling. A hardware store
attendant near you can help you choose the right chisel, hammer and other supplies you will need for this job. Start from the top down, placing the bevelled side of the chisel against the wall and tapping as softly as possible with the hammer to avoid gouging. Don't forget to place a thick dropcloth underneath the area where you are working. This will make clean-up much easier and help avoid damage to the floor, benchtops or bathtub.
After you have chipped off the tiles, you will need to apply filler over the entire wall to make it smooth. When the filler has thoroughly dried, use a sanding block and coarse sandpaper to flatten out bumps and uneven areas.
How to Prepare Floors for Tiling
When tiling a previously tiled floor, you have a choice between removing the old tiles or tiling over them. If you choose to remove the old tiles first, the easiest way to prepare the floor for tiling is to use a self-levelling compound after you have removed the old tiles. Start from the farthest point from the door and work your way out. Let the compound set from at least 6 to 8 hours or as directed before laying the tiles.
If you choose to lay tiles over existing tiles, you will first need to thoroughly wash the floors to remove all traces of oil, grease and soap. Next, score the top of the old tiles with a tile scriber in a criss-cross pattern. Finally, clean up all the tile dust before you start tiling.
These are basic 'how to prepare for tiling' instructions. You or your tiler may have to do even more work, depending on the condition of your walls or floors, whether you are tiling a wet or dry area and other factors.