Enduring, long lasting and strong are just some of the words used to describe tile floors. The art of putting the tile where you want it and having it look as you imagined is also hard, time consuming, sometimes wasteful and can really give you major headaches.
The availability of so many different types of stone and tile, make the urge to do it yourself even more tempting. The thought process usually starts with something like “I can buy a fancier tile if I do it myself.” Take heed and read carefully. It is not as easy as it sounds. There are quite a few problems that can arise and consequently cost you more money than actually hiring a professional.
Learning to properly cut your tiles will save you a lot of grief. It is a slow job and must be done carefully. It is necessary to use a light touch and go slowly until you have the technique perfected.
Using the proper tools for the job is a must. It doesn’t matter if the tile will be a backsplash, floor or wall, the technique for cutting is the same. Using the wrong tools will cause breakage, uneven cuts and a multitude of other problems.
First of all you will need a tile cutter. Ceramic tile cutters are widely available in home improvement stores and hardware stores. There are also places that will rent them. If you have a large job and need a professional grade tile cutter, plan on spending upwards of $500 if you choose not to rent one.
You will also need a hacksaw. While a regular hacksaw may work, you will have to change the blade to a carbide-tipped blade. These too are available at hardware and home improvement stores. There are two different types of blades available. The flat blade is good for cutting your straight lines in the tile, but not curves. You will need a rod blade for curves.
A power drill will be necessary as will. You will need a carbide tipped drill bit for any ceramic tile. Using the same type bit that you would use with wood will not do. They are not strong enough. It can also cause marring or cracking and subsequent waste of the tile.
What happens if you don’t grout properly?
Grouting properly is more than just slapping some grout on the surface and laying the tile on it. Incorrectly done, it will have to be removed and redone. This can often cause more tiles to break. Then the added expense of buying more grout and redoing the entire job.
All of this can be extremely time consuming and very frustrating. By the time you purchase your tiles, your grout, your tools and take a day or two off from work, you could have it done by a professional and be walking on it within no time. Less waste of tiles, less time accomplishing the task and not having to buy the tools are all money saving ideas. Although the experienced do it yourself weekender may sail through the process, less skilled individuals may find it beneficial to call in the experts.