After much trepidation I have decided to attempt a d-i-y effort to lay
300x300 ceramic floor tiles in a new ground floor entrance lobby and
shower room. The existing surface is screed over a wet piped heating
The first move has been to acquire a cheap tile cutter which arrived
this morning. (Erbauer ERB337TCB) Apart from the weak and inaccurate
guide the only criticism seems to be the width of the supplied blade;
leading to lots of grinding paste. Has anyone tried a different disc?
I intend to lay using a diamond pattern; lots of cutting! Presumably I
need to work from the junction of a centre line drawn down the middle of
Any gotchas to avoid?
Tile cement recommendations?
Best cement spreader?
Grout? I hope to find a buff/orange/grey tile so grey grout?
What %age allowance in tile purchase quantity?
The adjoining floors will be engineered Oak as discussed earlier. A
d-i-y threshold strip as suggested may avoid tricky cutting.
I used Mapei Keraquick - but you may or may not find it too fast set
(workable for about 1/2 hour-3/4 and walkable on in a few hours) Mapei do
Anything metal with the correct notch size, which depends on your desired
Mapei do lots of coloured grouts.
For a small area and big tiles, I would sketch it out, count them and add a
few extra for buggeration. That is worth the effort anyway as you'll soon
see if you have an awkward bit with 1cm slivers of tile - often moving stuff
slightly can really optimise things.
Solid oak threshold, screwed down with stainless or brass screws, seal the
oak with multiple coats all over before fitting as it will get wet. Silicone
along edge adjoining tiles - use a coloured silicone similar to tile grout.
'twas what I did and it worked well :)
- assuming that the floor is level. Don't. lLay strings with a spirit
level and lay a course to those. Also don't be afraid with rapid set
cement of having a very variable cement bed. Its expensive to use a lot
yes, but it is only done once.
- assuming that dried cement will be easy to remove from the tiles. It
isn't, wash each tile course with wet sponge and bucket of water as you
go, then again after its laid. When set, take off the dust with brick
acid and more wet sponges and clean water. Same goes for post grouting.
- assuming that dot and dab will hold a floor tile securely for all
time. It wont. use a full bed and tamp the tile down until the cement
squidges up into the grout lines. Remove that with a bit of something
suitably shaped, and reuse on the next one.
- watch out for screed sucking the water out of the cement. I am no fan
of PVA under tiles. I sloshed water in the area I was about to tile instead.
- watch out for cement on the hands, Buggers them. But its only the one
Rapid set over screed. Cant remember the brand I used,. It was about
half the cost of the tiles/slates.
Oh. I remembered
Sodding brilliant. And the 2 hours set is correct. The mix is unusable
after about 45 minutes, and walkable on gently after 2 hours.
anything. I used a pointing trowel and float. Because you are tamping
down properly with no voids, it doesn't matter about making a wavy surface.
I would say so though where I have buff tiles I have used a yellowish
I think probably 'classic vanilla' but there is a wide selection to
choose from..in the Ardex range anyway.. really Ardex is siomply the
best to use period.
5% over, maybe 10-15% for odd shapes in smaller rooms. You end up
cutting up offcuts until you have half a dozen tiles worth of unusable
dross left over.
Consider a tiled skirting board as well...
there ios no such thing as tricky cutting with a tile saw :-)
huge fun, buy they always make you soaking wet! Consider doing this
outside the house.
To people who know nothing, anything is possible.
To people who know too much, it is a sad fact
Tile cutters are good for the fiddly bits, but its hard to beat a good
score and snap machine for the ordinary straight cuts...
Take plenty of time with the initial layout - carefully check where
tiles end up at walls etc, and eye lines of grout runs etc. Don't make
the mistake of selecting a start point that is "easy" or does not need
many cuts etc - it ends up biting you later!
If its going to get wet repeatedly, then something cementious (i.e.
powdered rather than acrylic ready mixed)
Big plastering trowel like design with notches...
Bal / nicobond etc.
10% if doing square cuts - probably higher if doing diamond - say 10%
plus a linear run of tiles equal to half the room perimeter.
The number of times you see it broken though is astounding....
Full tiles at one side of a room, and a 1/2" strip of them at the other
etc. Particularly important where the walls are out of true - a slight
taper on 4" of tile is far less noticeable than on a 3/4" rip that
tapers to almost nothing.
Yes. This is an entrance hall with a toilet/shower room off at 90deg.
I will leave an untiled rectangle to take a thin doormat behind the
The building is not quite to design so I shall have to get some accurate
measurements. I wonder if Google sketch up has a facility for laying out
It does in fact...
Create your base layer (i.e. room shape) then make that a "group" (i.e.
a group of 1 thing) so that things you stick on top of it do not
interact with it.
Now create a tile. Pull it up a bit into the third dimension so you
don't see it "Zee" fight with the base layer, and lay it in your
Now select move, tap CTRL to turn the move into a copy. Drag it to the
adjacent tile position, leaving your grout line. Once in place the type
xn where n is the number of copies you want.
So x20 would give you 20 copies of the tile spaced by the same offset
multiple. That will create a row of them. You can then rubber band
select the row, and copy that a repeated number of times to do the whole
room. If you then select all the tiles and group them you can now slide
them about as a group on the floor until you get the layout you want.
 if 20 turns out to be wrong, you can immediately type x15 or x25 etc
to adjust the number of copies. This trick is how I did things like the
rafters, tile batten, and tiles on this diagram:
[Snip one way to do it]
The way I did it was to create a texture the size of one tile plus one
row and column of grout, you can then apply this texture to the floor
then right-click the floor and using Texture/Position slide it around,
the advantage is that you don't need to construct a suitably sized array
Tile size: the bigger the tile, the less easy it is to get a nice
Spacers: Tiles vary in their dimensional accuracy. Plastic tile
spacers dont provide for any real life variation. Bits of card from
the tile boxes work a bit better IME.
Electric tile saws: these produce a fine spray aimed straight at you.
Hardly noticeable at first, but unpleasant by the end of the day.
Simple solution is to stand to one side when using it.
Wastage: last time I bought 10% extra, when using an electric cutter.
I used up almost none of that 10%.
Batch numbers: beware of batch numbers when buying tiles. Each box has
a batch number, and sometimes one batch doesnt match another.
Appliances: don't be tempted to avoid tiling under the appliances. If
you do, you're liable to run into major kitchen trouble down the line.
Of course you can, if you want to cut costs, use the cheapest thing of
the same thickness where its not seen.
Adhesive: Next time I floor tile I'll simply use sand & cement.
Excellent in all ways but one, it takes about 3 days to build up
enough strength to walk on. If youre only doing a bit a day this works
ok. Spend the 90% adhesive saving on something else. PS tiles should
be dunked in water overnight before laying with cement.
Grout: be sure to seal it with lithofin or similar, it makes cleaning
it possible. Save some grout leftover, so 20 years later you can clean
the grout abrasively and wipe a fresh layer on to make it look new
Tile cutter: when you're finished with it, if you've got no tablesaw
you can fit a wood cutting blade (slightly larger, check clearances).
Decoration: you don't have to stay with the same tile repeated all
over. One can include a centre decoration, eg in mosaic or geometric
pattern, borders etc. But only do this if the design actually looks
good, a poor uninspired design will look poor and uninspired.
I find the spacers very good because they *do* allow subtle variation
(or at least the ones I have). One size used inline with the grout line,
a little wider used rotated 90 degrees, a pair is a little wider still
etc. Usually allows enough to tweak out any adjustments as required.
and get one that has a water collecting rim round the edge - keeps more
of it in the machine for longer.
If using different batches, mix up the tiles before you use them so that
you don't get a visible transition.
Yup their grout protector I have found very good.
Going to make a very piddly little saw, and the motors on those are
often fairly feeble.
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