Last Updated Sep 13, 2017 · Written by Hannah Fester
Tiles are a common floor and wall finish in many homes. Bathroom and laundries - both regularly used areas of the house - are typically lined with tiles, with kitchens also a popular place for tiles to feature. Tiles are a popular option in many homes because of their longevity, variety and durability - they’re an all ‘round great option in the way of flooring. But we wanted to get an expert opinion on all things tiling, so we sat down with professional tiler, Garry from Gib Tiling in Perth. From choosing the right tiles, to precautions when grouting, to his thoughts on DIY tiling, we got the inside scoop on everything you need to know before your next tiling project.
There are many tile options on the market, and what tiles you choose will ultimately depend on what look you’re after and what room of the home you’re tiling. Garry suggests for those who are looking to revamp their kitchen, bathroom or laundry to stick to porcelain matt finish tiles rectified for the floor - they last, can endure the effects of spills, pet accidents and water, and look great too. As for the walls, “semi gloss porcelain rectified is the best option to compliment your newly laid floor.”
Prepping your floor for tiling takes some work, and if not prepared properly, the best outcome won’t be achieved. Conversely, if you do your due diligence and plan properly, immaculate results will prevail. It’s about taking your time, setting up decent foundations and ensuring all preliminary measures are taken. Garry says the key thing to remember is that the surface must be sound and secure - after all, starting with a sturdy base equates to endurance. The area you’re tiling must also be primed; flooring must be levelled to within tolerance, and if the area will be subject to moisture, it must have the correct ratio of fall to allow the water to aptly drain. The surrounding walls of the tiled area must also be checked to ensure they are square, and do not have any defects or shade variations.
Grouting plays just as big of a role in the tiling process as the laying of the tiles themselves. Garry says, “It’s important to keep in mind that before grouting commences that all tile joints have been cleaned out correctly, clearing away any tile glue and vacuumed thoroughly.” The grout must also be mixed thoroughly; clean water and a grout additive will boost the mix, helping with colour consistency and an overall better finish. Once the grout has been applied to the surface, removing as much of the excess will make it easier to wash in the final stages of the project. The joints should be full and sit flush against the tiles. There’s a fine line between not enough grout and an excess amount - find that happy medium that gives you a slick, polished finish.
“It’s important to keep in mind that before grouting commences all tile joints have been cleaned out correctly, clearing away any tile glue and vacuumed thoroughly.”
Once the tiles have been laid and the grouting is complete, the cleanup of the tiles will follow. Garry’s inside cleaning tip when it comes to washing tiles is to ensure there isn’t too much water involved. Excess water will wash away the neatly grouted joints; avoid this by rinsing the sponge after each wipe. For the optimal finish, ensure your tiles are cleaned twice, with fresh water used for each clean. The first clean may spread some residue, whereas the second clean will give your floor the finishing touch.
What if you’re in the mood to roll up your sleeves and have a crack at tiling yourself? Everyone loves a good DIY project for that sense of accomplishment and pride, knowing you can do it if you just put your mind to it. But will it give you the best results? Garry says that anyone can have a go at tiling, but to what standard? “If customers are looking for a good finish they should hire a quality, experienced tiler, as its more than just a trade, it’s an art!” It’s important to remember that, if not done correctly the first time, tiling can end up costing you a lot of money and inconvenience in the long run - even potentially damaging your property. If you’re adamant about trying your hand at tiling, start with a smaller, low-impact job that will have fewer consequences if mistakes are made. Also, do your research; brush up on your tiling knowledge and talk to professionals in the field who will be able to give you some sound advice.
“If customers are looking for a good finish they should hire a quality, experienced tiler, as its more than just a trade, it’s an art!”
The bathroom, laundry and kitchen are the main areas of the home you’re likely to tile. Essentially, tiling in each of these rooms follows the same processes and procedures. A tip from Garry when it comes to tiling these areas of your home is to consider keeping the same theme throughout each space; avoiding using too many different kinds of tiles as this may clash with other areas of the home. Consistency is key and you will thank yourself later when the tiled areas of your home are uniform.
“It’s the classic old adage - white will always be in style, with tiling seeming to be no exception.”
With interior design trends constantly changing, it’s hard to keep on top of what’s in vogue and what has been made redundant in the style space. So what’s new in tiling? “The latest trend is definitely larger tiles - 600x600 and 800x800 - on the main living area floors.” So it seems bigger is better when it comes to floor tiling - large tiles are in and small tiles are out. Garry says that wet areas, like the laundry, are seeing a shift toward subway tiles (600x300) for both the walls and floors, as well as hexagon mosaic tiles as feature walls. “Concrete and timber effects also seems to be the way to go at the moment with matt white finish wall tiles” Gary says. So, if you want to be on top of the latest tiling trends, white is right. It’s the classic old adage - white will always be in style, with tiling seeming to be no exception.
If your next project involves tiling, talk to a local, professional tiler. Not only can they offer advice and tips on best practice, they can also transform your bathroom, laundry or kitchen giving you a quality finish that will last for years to come.