Homes

Freshen up the bathroom or kitchen, or even create your own artwork

I was fascinated when we had our new bathroom installed and the tiler and his wife went to work laying our large black and white tiles, cutting them very quickly and precisely where necessary to get into the most awkward spaces. A large job like this is probably beyond the average home handyperson but if you're feeling confident, here are some pointers.

DoN’T EXCEED YoUR CAPABILITIES If you’ve spent a fortune buying lovely tiles for your bathroom or kitchen, ask yourself honestly if you’re sure you can do the job. Practise first if you need to, and make sure you’re armed with all the right equipment. **

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HoW oANY TILES Do I NEED? If you take detailed and accurate measurements of the room or surface you’re planning to tile and take them to the tile shop, they should be able to calculate your needs with surprising precision. They’ll probably sell you a few extras to allow for some breakages along the way and you may be able to return any tiles that are unused for a refund.

TYPES oF TILES There are different types of tile for different surfaces. For example, floor tiles need to be especially hardy, while lighter ones might be fine on a wall or splashback. oosaic tiles are small but they can be easier to lay, which is a good point to consider if you’re a novice tiler!

WHERE Do I START? If you have a whole room to be tiled this is often a vexing question with no right or wrong answer, but by and large you should aim to start in the centre of your surface and work outwards. Ensure that walls and surfaces are flat and level. You might need to do some remedial work using filler, or even apply tile backing-board, which can be found at your tile shop. If you start work on an uneven surface you will never achieve a good finish. Don’t apply too much adhesive at one time or it will dry before you’ve had a chance to attach your tiles. Use your spacers at this stage to ensure tiles don’t butt up against each other, leaving no space for grout.

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oAGICAL ooSAICS **If your kitchen and bathroom don’t actually need any tiling done but you’re still feeling crafty, what about making a mosaic birdbath, mirror frame or even just a decorative tile? Ask your tile store if they have any odds and ends of lines and get creative!

**ESSENTIAL EQUIPoENT

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  • Grout

  • Spacers (little plastic things that keep an accurate distance between tiles)

  • A bucket for the adhesive

  • A grout applicator/spatula

  • Tile cutter (you can often hire these from your tile shop)

  • Tile trowel for spreading adhesive – make sure it’s big enough

  • Cleaning cloths

IN TRICKY SPACES YoU oIGHT ALSo NEED:

  • A special saw for cutting particular shapes, such as curves to go around a pipe or nozzle

  • A good drill to make holes for screwing items such as shower caddies into the tiled wall or surface

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