Skill Level Required for Tiling?

Hello,
I'm debating tackling re-tiling the kitchen floor and bathroom walls. I have zero experience with tiling but have seen hours and hours of DIY shows and it doesn't look that difficult but I'm sure it never does! Assuming I can get a decet tile cutter, is it worth it to attempt it myself?
Thanks,
Cindy
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Cindy wrote:

Hi Cindy,
I'm new to this NG and fairly new to home renovation, and a total loser with handy-stuff, and even I can tile. My only recommendation -- which has saved my butt tiling every time I've tried it -- is to find a friend with a wet saw, rent a wet saw, or measure everything and have somebody with a wet saw cut all the tricky bits. The job is SO MUCH EASIER when everything has been pre-laid out, pre-cut, and it's just mastic and laying 'em down.
I can't stress enough that laying the tiles down dry first and double-checking all your measurements is key. That, and getting about an extra 10 tiles of that floor type, because tiles often phase in and out of style and that tile may no longer be on the market in five years when your husband decides to set his bowling ball free.
- Matt
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True. I can no longer find the Pepto-Bismol Pink that my 1950s bathroom is tiled with. I think it's now illegal. Or should be.
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Doug Kanter wrote:

Don't worry. It'll come back in style...eventually...if you live long enough. ;)
To the OP: It's very easy to do a fair to poor job, harder to do a good job and hardest of all to do an excellent job. Most tile pros don't do an excellent job.
You should do a lot of homework before you buy or touch anything. Hie thee to a library, or better yet buy a copy, of Michael Byrne's book Setting Tile.
The John Bridge tile forums are a great place to get good information.
R
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RicodJour wrote:

Very true. My standards are "good enough for me and won't look terrible to somebody giving it a casual glance when I eventually decide to sell the house," so my mediocre work is adequate for my needs. I barely scrape the bottom of "good" at my best. Like most things, the effort:benefit curve gets steeper and steeper the closer to perfection you aim for.
- Matt
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snipped-for-privacy@hotmail.com says...

Excellent, thanks for the information, Matt! Out of curiousity, how much is it to rent a wet saw?
Cindy
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says...

I'd call Home Depot and find out. Then, definitely check your yellow pages and talk to some tile specialty stores. For a project like this, it's probably best to deal with someone who wasn't selling vacuums at Sears last week, and flipping burgers at Wendy's the week before that. Deal with professionals, which can be hard to find at the big stores.
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If you are doing ceramic tile, not porcelain, you can probably get away with just a tile cutter and not need a wet saw. I did my first tile floor and the score and snap tile cutter worked perfectly. One thing I wish I did better was laying down the adhesive thick enough; there are 2 tiles that sound hollow when tapped, meaning not enough adhesive under there.
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Cindy wrote:

I kinda suspect you would be money ahead just to buy one. This one would be entirely adequate... http://www.harborfreight.com/cpi/ctaf/displayitem.taf?Itemnumber511
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I bought a 10" wet saw at Home Depot for $88 that worked for me. If you're used to a professional saw, or need to make tricky cuts, you probably wouldn't be happy, but I cut well over 100 floor tiles and the saw is still working fine.
This was my first floor tiling job--and my last project was 25 years ago--and I'm happy enough with the results that I'm ready to tackle the family room. I tiled a 375 square foot (roughly) unfinished area in my basement and by the time I was done I was doing a decent job--certainly not at the skilled professional level, but nearly as good as a lot of the "professional" tiling jobs I've seen.
Have fun!
Judie
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Go for it Cindy. As a DIYer I have done several projects, mostly largish ones. My most complex one will be in a couple of weeks. 5 different tiles in a layout done by a designer. Some on angles, some inset glass mosaics, tile chair rail, etc. The works. (That on top of new bath fixtures, cast iron tub, vanity plumbing and electrical)
Lots of good advice searching here and asking questions as you go. Quite possibly your hardest part will be pulling out the old tile.
-B
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Cindy,
If you take your time and do your homework, it is not hard. For help and questions try www.johnbridge.com . They have a great forum with good people who will help you.
As for the wet saw, you can buy a cheap one for $90 at Home Depot or a good one for a couple hundred and then resell it on Ebay. If you are only doing one room, I would buy the cheap one. If you need the saw for more then two days, renting will cost more then buying a cheap one.
For straigt cuts, you can score the tile. Works well unless the tile is proclean or very thick.
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Depending on where you live...
I bought a small table top one at princess auto for $58.00CAD
1: Make sure the surface is flat and level. 2: Use the right Motar or Glue for the job. 3: The right size notched trowel 4: Measure measure measure 5: Thin grout lines. (12inch tile, 1/4inch + grout line) Just looks ugly when theres a half inch grout line. 6: Use the right Grout, (Sanded for 1/8 or more and non sanded for under 1/8 grout lines) 7: By a nice rubber float ($14.99) and push the grout in the joints till the explodes, $3.99 for a good sponge at HD

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Cindy wrote:

One of the more important steps in getting a professional-looking installation is taking some time to do your layout. Little slivers of tile around the edges of a room or at a doorway look terrible, and are a pain to cut.
My parents had a tile job done in their kitchen where the tile runs into the family room carpet on an 8' convex curve. The guy who did the job took the time to get the tiles centered on the middle of the arc. No one really notices WHY the job looks so damn good, but everyone comments on the floor!
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