My wife has bought some very expensive Italian tiles
to tile our kitchen between working surface and wall cupboards.
The carpenter who made the kitchen kindly made all gaps
a multiple of 10cms, and the tiles are 10cm x 10cm,
so no tile-cutting (or very little) will be necessary.
My question is, could I do this as well as a professional tiler?
Or is some special skill required on a job like this?
e-mail (<80k only): tim /at/ birdsnest.maths.tcd.ie
I say, hang on a minute! Don't let's get carried away here. Has Neil
done *any* tiling? I'd seriously recommend at least getting a quote
from a couple of tilers, by recommendation if at all possible, before
spoiling the ship for a ha'porth. As Neil said, his wife has bought
"very expensive" Italian tiles, so it would be a shame if they were
not given the full treatment and the very best job done. Depending on
the area to be covered, I don't think it's worth saving a hundred and
fifty quid, or whatever a tiler would charge.
Now, all this is by the by if Neil has indeed had some experience with
tiling. If the tiles were the cheapo B&Q variety (the kind I buy!)
then you haven't got much to lose. But expensive tiles are a different
The tiler who did my bathroom explained about avoiding "silly cuts"
When you go round windows, etc, or even work to an end, you don't want
little slivers of tile anywhere. And it's nice to have tiles symmetrical
around these areas.
It means you have to plan carefully, but looking at it, it's well worth it.
If I'd Diyed, I wouldn't have thought of that.
If the gaps are exact multiples of 10cm then you won't have a gap for
grouting, which could be a problem.
But...does anyone know *why* gaps are necessary between tiles which could be
butted up against each other?
They can expand and contact a bit, which may push them off the wall rather
than crumble the grout a bit.
The tiles are rarely free from imperfections along the edges, making for a
poor finished effect in terms of straightness, causing fitting problems
where tiles were slightlyt oversize and there would still be small gaps that
would be impossible to seal.
The broader, matt lines of the grouting form a pattern to the eye rather
than a load of edges that are clearly where tiles are just butted up and
look just that.
(anti-spam is as easy as 1-2-3 - not)
If you don't get any grout in, the even hairline gaps will let water in
and grow all sorts of nasties (mould, bugs) and possibly let water into
So you need to grout - but for that you need some actual gap, or you can't
get the grout in.
Did some tiling years ago (when I was a teenager - gasp!) and it went
quite well, so it can't be too hard.
Due to an uneven floor I worked out where I wanted the 2nd row above floor
level to be and nailed a bit of straight wood along the length of the wall
and sat the 2nd row on that. Get lots of little spacer thingies, the
correct glue and application tool and if you forsee lots of tile cutting,
hire or buy a decent cutter - it's much easier than score+break which is
what I had to do then.
Once all the tiles were stuck I removed the wood and tiled down to the
floor cutting where necessary. Looked pretty good despite being a first
attempt. None of them fell off either :-)
Gouting is really easy - splat it in the gaps with a cloth (old cotton
shirts do well for this) rubbing it back level with the tiles and when
dry, use a clean cloth to wipe the surplus film of the glaze. Possibly not
the correct way(?), but it worked for me.
You mean like my ex-wife's bathroom, where the travails of dealing
with incompetent builders was a major factor in achieving the "ex-"
part. Then a few years on, I find myself re-tiling her bathroom (with
proper gaps) to repair bad workmanship I'd been against in the first
Walls move. Tiles don't. Butted tiles on a wall that shrinks slightly
have to move somewhere, and they do this by bulging off the walls.
Tips for easy tiling - use the plastic spacers, and use a laser level
that can project a horizontal line.
If the tiles and gaps are accurately 10cm, then you will have no space
If everything is exactly dead-on, this may be OK, though it will look
a bit strange.
Otherwise, you'r going to need to get out the tile cutter.
You might try buying a few cheap boxes of tile, a sheet of something to
tile onto, and having a go.
I should have said, the carpenter left spaces
which are a bit more than a multiple of 10cms,
so I don't think there will be any problem with grout.
Eg most of the cupboards are 42.5cm = 16 3/4in above the working surface.
e-mail (<80k only): tim /at/ birdsnest.maths.tcd.ie
On Tue, 14 Sep 2004 15:21:54 +0100, Timothy Murphy wrote:
425 - (4 x 100) = 25mm. 5 horizontal grount lines for 4 tiles = 25/5 5mm per line, hum a bit much. But it does give plenty of lattiude for
the tiles to be 103mm and not get you into trouble.
I'd make the gap between worktop and first tile about 3 or 4 mm (a
strip of hardboard makes a good spacer) then use 2mm plastic spacers
in "match mode" for all the other lines this would leave about 15mm at
the cupboard base but you won't see that.
The critical thing about tiling is to get the first row absolutely
horizontal. In your case with the worktop in place I hope it is
horizontal. Though with only 4 rows to the cupboards provided it
"looks right" you may get away with a non-horizontal worktop. Still
use a plumb line to get a vertical in the middle of the run or at a
few points along it.
After that the wall needs to be flat, at least within a mm over the
width of a tile, anything more and it gets tricky to hide and if the
tiles are flat faced and reflective a bobbly tile will show up summat
rotten. This is why I choose slightly wobbly surfaced tiles for the
cottage kitchen whose walls are not mirror flat, hides a multitude of
Personally I don't find tiling "difficult", you just need to take your
time. A diamond tile saw is an excellent means of cutting, and allows
you to do things that are next to impossible with scratch 'n pray.
They are also cheap.
Dave. pam is missing e-mail
as already pointed out, if the wall is flat and simple, it is
straightforward. The problems come at edges and corners and around fittings
(pipes, sockets etc.). You can hire gadgets for cutting tiles (a small
angle grinder seems to
work wonders as well although I have not tried that); simple straight cuts
just need a simple gadget (buy one in Woodies for 10-20euro); round cuts
(bites) are harder and if the tiles are expensive are worth practising with.
Tilers in Dublin are hard to get these days I think so that might sway you
towards DIY. I have done it myself
a few times but these days I would be tempted to pay someone if it was a
It all depends. Plenty of people make a right mess of it. Usually by
trying to economise on the number of tiles used.
A properly tiled wall can be a thing of beauty. Most don't manage this
first time out. Especially with expensive tiles. I'm not trying to put you
off, but it depends very much on your skills and expectations.
*Puritanism: The haunting fear that someone, somewhere may be happy.
Dave Plowman email@example.com London SW
"Dave Plowman (News)" wrote
| Timothy Murphy wrote:
| > My wife has bought some very expensive Italian tiles
| A properly tiled wall can be a thing of beauty. Most don't
| manage this first time out. Especially with expensive tiles.
| I'm not trying to put you off, but it depends very much on
| your skills and expectations.
Or more to the point, it depends on Mr Murphy's skills and Mrs Murphy's
I would expect you to have to do a lot of cutting, because you haven't
made any allowance for grouting the tiles, which are usually fixed with
a 2-3mm gap between tiles.
Yes you could do as good (or better) a job than a professional tiler but
you do need skill and a bit of practice never goes amiss.
Quanto e quel cane nella vetrina (arf, arf)
Quello con coda scuotente
HomeOwnersHub.com is a website for homeowners and building and maintenance pros. It is not affiliated with any of the manufacturers or service providers discussed here.
All logos and trade names are the property of their respective owners.