Does tiling require skill?

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?
--
Timothy Murphy
e-mail (<80k only): tim /at/ birdsnest.maths.tcd.ie
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If your walls are quite flat then in my experience you will not have a problem doing it yourself.
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On Tue, 14 Sep 2004 13:37:49 +0100, "Neil Jones"

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 story.
MM
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a
Yes, I have tiled the kitchen (walls and floor) and an en-suite bathroom. But it wasn't my wife who bought the expensive Italian tiles.
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berlin.de:

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.
mike
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On Tue, 14 Sep 2004 18:40:53 +0000 (UTC), mike ring wrote:

Isn't this common sense combined with ones sense of asthetics? Bit like wallpapering...

This is true and you can spend far more time with pencil and paper working out the "best" layout than actually sticking bits of pot on the wall...
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With complex rooms - or old ones where the walls ain't square, it's sometimes impossible to avoid 'slivers' in places. This is where an electric cutter comes into its own.

Absolutely. And a simple draw prog on the computer can be very useful for this.
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*For every action, there is an equal and opposite criticism *

Dave Plowman snipped-for-privacy@davenoise.co.uk London SW
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Timothy Murphy wrote:

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?
Si
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be
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.
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Bob Mannix
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Bob Mannix wrote:

Furry muff then :)
Si
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On Tue, 14 Sep 2004 13:47:08 +0100, Mungo "two sheds" Toadfoot wrote:

Hi
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 the wall.
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.
HTH
Timbo
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On Tue, 14 Sep 2004 13:47:08 +0100, "Mungo \"two sheds\" Toadfoot"

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 place. Muggins....
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.
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If the tiles and gaps are accurately 10cm, then you will have no space for grout. 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.
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Ian Stirling wrote:

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.
--
Timothy Murphy
e-mail (<80k only): tim /at/ birdsnest.maths.tcd.ie
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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 sins...
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.
--
Cheers snipped-for-privacy@howhill.com
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Hi Tim:
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 complicated job.

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Timothy Murphy wrote:

What about teh gaps for teh grout?

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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 snipped-for-privacy@davenoise.co.uk London SW
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"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 expectations :-)
Owain
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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)
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