Ceramic Tile – Can You Do-It-Yourself
or Should You Hire a Contractor?
Installing Ceramic Tile Does Not Have To Be That Difficult
In our last installation of this article, we discussed planning, knowing how much material you need and choosing/finding the ceramic tile that you want to use. The discussion below takes us from preparation through completion.
Besides setting up the project, ensure that the surface is properly prepared. If you don’t prepare the sub-surface properly, you’ll most likely end up disatified with your project, there will be one big costly mess that someone has to cleanup, properly repair and complete for you.
If you find that the area where you plan to install your new ceramic tile has been damaged by prolonged water infiltration, then you must deal with proper clean up and replacement of damaged wall board and or wood framing. Do NOT, under any circumstances, attempt to just cover up this type of mold, mildew or rot. This is a mistake because the fungus spores will continue to live and promote continued deterioration of your structural framing…not to mention the hazardous condition created from continued breathing air-borne mold spores.
Make certain that the sub-surface material that will be under the new tile is water-resistant or water-proof (best) to prevent future water damage and deterioration of not only the project you’re doing but possibly to the structure of your home. If you want to insure success and long lasting satisfaction, make absolutely certain that the sub-surface is prepared correctly for the tile. All the surface area to be tiled must be flat and smooth without any rough edges and it should be water-tight…even before the ceramic tile is installed.
Once you are satisfied that you have prepped the tile sub-surface properly, you are ready for the easy part…”setting” the tile. It is helpful to use a level and a pencil to mark a few horizontal and vertical lines to help verify that the installation is going correctly. By having these aids, you can slightly “adjust” the tiles as you proceed with the installation.
When you have performed your surface preparation properly and everything is cleaned up before you start, you will find that applying adhesive and setting the tile will be quite easy. Some tile will require that you use spacers to make certain that the interval or space between tiles is equal. Ask your supplier if the tile you selected will require spacers.
ALWAYS-ALWAYS-ALWAYS wear safety glasses and leather gloves when demolishing ceramic tile or cutting tile. Keep the work areas very clean to prevent accidental slips or falls during installation. Remember that ceramic tile is no different than glass…it will CUT you!
If you follow the directions on the adhesive, including the trowel tooth size, you will quickly realize that setting tile isn’t that hard. However, it can be a bit messy so be sure to protect surrounding surfaces and that you have the correct cleaning liquids and some rags to maintain a clean working area. Cleanup later is always a possibility, but it’s also more difficult and you are much more likely to have a professional looking installation job if you keep it clean like the professionals do as you work.
Follow the directions on the adhesive used and once the ceramic tile is in place and properly adhered to the surface, it is time to add the finishing touches.
The grout must be spread across the tile and fill all the cracks or “joints” with a rubberized trowel. After the grout begins to set, you then clean it off – first with a damp sponge and then polish it off with a cotton cloth as the tile surface itself begins to have a dull appearance. Before you quit, make very sure that all of the joints (cracks) are completely filled.
Don’t forget this final warning. You are never impressed by any job that is “almost” complete or not cleaned up to the sparkling standards used by professionals.
You don’t “Ooh and Ahh” over magazine pictures with dull photos of tile work. Put the “Finishing Touches” on your work.
Remove all the protection that you installed before you started the work, use the right products and elbow grease to get a “sparkling clean” finish. You can then be proud of completing a great looking ceramic tile project on your own.
And CONGRATULATIONS are then in order!
After learning more about this type of work, if you decide to have the project done by an experienced professional like us, we are ready to help you do this project or any other that you need or have in mind.
Our seasoned professionals have the experience to deal with complex projects. Do some “Dreaming” of your own as you stroll through our Photo Gallery for concepts and ideas.
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DFW Improved is the right contractor for any of your interior or exterior painting, outdoor living or addition project or other typical home improvement project you have whether or not it includes professional ceramic tile installation.