Year: 2019

Can You Tile Over Existing Tiles?

It is an often-asked question. The short answer is, yes, absolutely you can tile over tiles. In fact, a lot of the basic rules for tiling still apply, exactly as they do for any surface. Without a sound, solid base, no tiling job will ever be perfect.

What to consider before tiling over tiles.

If the wall is being re-tiled due to damp issues or any structural concerns, then it wouldn’t be advisable to tile over the existing tiles. You will be hiding an existing problem which is very likely to reappear after a short time.

On the other hand, if styles have changed and the decision has been made to refurbish a room, then tiling over the top is definitely an option.

In a small space, particularly where fittings such as baths and basins are pressed against the existing walls, the thickness of new tiles (and adhesive) may reduce the size of the room too much. Check this carefully.

The existing tiles must be in good condition and it is worth checking how flat the wall is using a long straight edge or spirit level. Any loose tiles can be removed and the wall behind them cleaned of old adhesive. The tiles can now be replaced using new adhesive to keep the surface flat.

How to prepare old tiles for re-tiling.

  • The old tiles need to be clean and free from grease. A good quality degreasing agent can be brushed onto the existing tiles. Depending on the type of flooring, it might be worth protecting from this degreaser when scrubbing it off. Wire wool and white spirit would work equally well.
  • Remove any old grout which looks cracked or shows any sign of growing mould spores. This mould growth will still have the damp and warmth it needs even if you cover it up. Better to clean the grout out than risk mould.
  • Tape up edges of non-tiled surfaces to make sure they don’t become damaged by adhesive when re-applying tiles.

How to lay new tiles on old.

  • Use an latex modified or flexi powdered tile adhesive. Mix up the adhesive according to manufacturer’s instructions. Mix only enough for an area you are confident to work in.
  • Prime existing tiles with an Acrylic primer or SBR, add a handful of sand to the mix which will provide a key
  • Use the flat edge of your trowel to spread a thin layer across the area being tiled.
  • Apply a second layer, this time using the notched edge of your trowel. This will ensure a uniform height of adhesive ready for the tiles.
  • Press and slide your tiles into the adhesive and use spacers just as you would on any other surface.
  • Once the whole wall is finished, allow to dry for at least an hour before attempting to grout.

Grouting.

Latex modified style grout will work well in most situations. To ensure a good bond with the adhesive, an epoxy grout can be used. Be careful with epoxy grout and adhesive, they both require a solvent to be removed from tile surfaces. It is worth mixing small amounts of grout at a time and taking longer than usual with the job.

Tiling on existing tiles is just one of the many skills you can master by taking one of our tiling courses.

For more information about our training courses, get in touch today.

Ceramic vs Porcelain – which is best?

There are many factors to consider when choosing tiles including whether it is a domestic or commercial project, the cost, an interior or exterior project, flooring or walling, the room type and choice of designs.

Historically, there has been some form of ceramic tile in existence for more than 25,000 years with the oldest of our civilisations, the Ancient Egyptians, who used tiles to decorate their homes with blue coloured tile bricks. The Romans and the Greeks favoured decorative tiles, with exquisite tile work in mosaics and murals. In Victorian times, ceramic tiles became mass produced and were used in many public buildings, churches, shops and houses for both their functional and decorative properties.

So, what is the difference between the modern day ceramic and porcelain tile? 

Firstly, the manufacturing of the tiles is different. Ceramic tiles are made using red, brown or white clay where the clay is fired at a high temperature to reduce water content; with the glaze and then the pattern applied.

Porcelain tiles are made using a specific white clay, finely ground sand and feldspar. The tiles are fired at a higher temperature than ceramic, which makes them extremely hard wearing. Porcelain tiles are manufactured in two types;  through body porcelain and glazed porcelain. Through body is exactly as it sounds – the tile has no glaze so the colour/design is the same all the way through. The advantage of this? Well, if there was any wear or chips to the tile, it would be very difficult to see. Glazed porcelain is where the tile has been manufactured with a glaze applied to the tile face, which makes the body of the tile as hard-wearing as if it is a through body tile, but has the same characteristics as the glaze on a ceramic tile.

What about cost? 

Ceramic tiles are more cost effective than porcelain, but, with porcelain being more dense than ceramic, it makes them less porous; so they are harder, more durable and absorb less water therefore suited to areas which will see heavy use. Plus ceramic tiles are less brittle and easier to work with and offer a wider choice of up-to-date and intricate designs. Porcelain tiles due to the manufacture methods, with their density and hardness, does mean that there are fewer designs available,  therefore limiting the choice for you and your client.

So where to use them?

Porcelain is more resistant to scratching and chipping and is great for:

  • floors
  • walls (depending on the weight)
  • commercial properties (hotels, offices)
  • areas with high moisture levels (wet rooms)
  • exterior and heavy use areas. 

Ceramic tiles are best for:

  • home interiors
  • commercial interior walls 
  • floor areas with low foot traffic.

Additionally, there is the PEI (Porcelain Enamel Institute) rating to refer to.  All tiles are classified with a PEI rating on a scale from PEI 0 (no foot traffic – wall only) to PEI 5 (Heavy traffic domestic/ commercial). 

Whatever tiling project you are undertaking, choosing the ceramic tile or the porcelain tile will be determined by some of the points mentioned.

Tiled Bathrooms: The Finishing Touches

The tiles are perfectly flat and the grout had filled the joints with crisp lines. Now it’s time to add those fine details that will give the bathroom a luxurious feel.

Right to the edge.

Tiling can be an underappreciated skill. And it really is a skill. A great tiling job can be spoiled by the edges being left unfinished. The tiler will be held in much higher esteem if the customer sees perfect lines and no bare tiles on the edge.

There are a variety of trims and edging details available. Choosing a high quality, colour matched trim adds the professional finish to a tiling job.

Choose from polished chrome, painted plastic or even bullnose tiles, which can all add that finishing touch.

Clean it once, clean it twice, clean it until it’s clean!

The biggest complaint about any tradesperson is the state they might leave someone’s home in. Never leave a tiling job until it is clean. Really clean. 

Tiling can be a messy business. Adhesive and grout are both capable of ending up on tiles and every inch needs to be cleaned. Not just the tiles though, handles, taps, shower screens, in fact any surface which may come into contact with the tiler.

Grout should be cleaned as the job progresses. This will not remove all evidence, far from it, but it will make the clean up much easier. A second clean as the grout starts to go off will remove the bulk of the remaining residue. 

The problem with leaving a customer’s house at this point is that once the tiles dry again, there is often a very fine dusty film left on the tiles. Agree to go back and polish all the tiles again and emphasise that the job isn’t quite finished.

Silicone can make or break the room.

With the tiles now spotless, it’s time to finish the job with silicone. 

Make sure you choose a flexible, sanitary grade silicone. The key areas are between the walls and baths, shower trays, toilets and basins. The joint between a tiled floors and walls should be carefully finished too. 

There are a variety of methods used to get a good silicone finish.

  • The double. In deeper gaps, fill with one layer to ensure the joint is watertight. Once that is cured, go back over with a second, decorative layer.
  • Mask it up. Particularly on obvious joints, using masking tape can ensure precise lines of silicone. Take your time with the tape, this is crucial to the finish. Apply a steady, even bead of silicone. The masking tape can be removed whilst the silicone is still wet. You should now be the proud owner of some seriously neat silicone joints.
  • The wet finger on a steady hand. There are different choices here. Apply the silicone as neat as possible with a smooth consistent motion along the joint. Use a wet wipe style cloth to gently run along either side of the joint to remove the excess. Alternatively, dip your finger in a bowl of hot, soapy water to smooth the joint. Wipe your finger after each run on a soft damp cloth or wipe.

Handing a finished, fully tiled bathroom back to the customer is a proud moment.

Come to UK Pro Tiling for a variety of courses to top up all aspects of your tiling skills.

What Colour Is Best For Floor Tiles?

What Colour Is Best For Floor Tiles?

Like all the big questions, the answer is often “it depends”.

So what does the choice of floor tiles depend on?

  • The purpose of the room.
  • The size of the room.
  • The style of the house.
  • The existing colour scheme.

What is the room used for?

Porches, conservatories and some kitchens are subject to mud getting stomped into the floor from the outside. Maybe the dog drags half the garden in too. The tiles may be easily mopped, but a light coloured grout will soon be looking dirty.

You might even be laying tiles on a patio – the colour will need to disguise mud, leaves, slugs and all manner of debris.

How big is the room?

Size really does matter. In a small bathroom, for example, dark tiles will shrink the room further. In small spaces where the walls and floor are both tiled, using matching colours will create the illusion of more space. Large open plan kitchens with tiled floors might benefit from warm, dark tones or even wood effect tiles. The grains of these can create great shapes in long rooms.

What about your style?

Even if you don’t know your art deco from your chabby chic, your home will exhibit an individual style. With so many tiles to choose from, there will be something out there for you. Garish blocks of bright colour might seem old hat, but they are certainly making a comeback in homes with a retro feel. Whether you can make these work on the floor for you is another matter.  

Tiles to match the paint, or paint to match the tiles?

If you are decorating a whole room and intend to tile the floor, it might be worth taking paint samples to the tile shop. You could even take tile samples to the paint shop, although this could be a bulky, expensive exercise. Neutral colours on the floor give you more opportunity to really express yourself with the rest of the decoration. That said, if the walls are neutrally decorated, you could go for something outrageous on the floor.

There are some colours which are seeming to remain on trend. Inkjet tiles in grey with the appearance of polished concrete are very popular. Using large tiles, this creates a contemporary, cultured base for the bathroom.  

Marble effect tiles with high shiny gloss finish are also popular in bathroom and add a touch of class to the effect of the room.

If you have the size to carry it off, a black tiled floor really adds something special to the feel of a home. 

Before choosing your floor colours, make sure you are imagining them with everything in the room. An empty room looks very different, especially with artificial light.

Whatever you choose, laying floor tiles can be challenging. Why not get yourself booked on one of our great courses and learn the skills to lay the floor yourself. 

Have a browse of all our courses here.

What Is The Best Colour For Bathroom Tiles?

Tiles have been used in bathrooms for as long as any of us can remember. Tiles being used as decoration goes back as far as medieval times in Europe. Designs and fashions come and go but the good old tile has never looked like falling out of favour.

Bathroom tiling serves many purposes. Firstly, a tiled surface, wall or floor, is waterproof. So as a splashback over a sink, or an entire shower cubicle, water simply runs off them. This also makes them easy to clean and maintain.

Using tiles as decoration offers so many choices of texture, style, sizes and colours.

So how do you go about deciding on a colour for your bathroom tiles?

Classically, bathroom tiles have been white, normally with a high gloss finish, and following a uniform, predictable pattern. This look is still popular and works with any other design features and colours in the bathroom.

Should you wish to move away from this blaze of white, maybe it’s time to consider another colour scheme for your bathroom.

  • The wow factor – Are you looking for a big impact with your design? Whatever main colour tile in your bathroom, consider introducing a bright patterned tile around a feature such as the bath. A feature tile behind a roll top bath will really stand out.
  • Make your tile the feature – If you can’t resist a shiny black slate look, some huge marble squares or a beautiful mosaic then embrace that. A plain style in the bathroom suite will allow your tiles to show off with big bold colours or unusual patterns.
  • Size matters – In a small bathroom, it is possible to create a feeling of more space. Choosing a neutral, light colour such as beige, cream or light grey will help ease any claustrophobic feelings.
  • Natural light – Light, neutral colours are great for reflecting natural light to create an illusion of space in a small bathroom. But what about if there are no windows. This is surprisingly common in bathrooms. A soft green, pearl grey, yellow, aqua or classic white will soften artificial light.
  • Create your a modern mood – Bright and bold colours create an intense atmosphere. They work really well when the bathroom has neat, uncluttered lines and fittings. Emphasise this feeling by using bright, strong, high gloss colours alongside a bright white.
  • Create a more relaxed mood – A calm, relaxing atmosphere might be perfect for your bathroom. Choosing soft, pastel colours such as baby blue or gentle pinks can have a soothing effect in the bathroom. These colours work well with a vintage style bathroom, or alongside shabby chic design features.
  • MIx it up Using a black and white tile pattern gives a stately, classic feel. Experiment with more combinations. A bright, vibrant colour alongside a softer pastel colour can make your bathroom feel unique. Mimic colours from the seaside or countryside to bring an outdoor feel to the bathroom.

Colour choice will ultimately be personal, but it is worth taking the time to look at new and different options to maybe end up with your perfect bathroom.

For all your tiling tips and training needs, get in touch and let us help you get the skills to create the perfect atmosphere in your bathroom.

The Best Kitchen Backsplash Materials

The kitchen is usually the room in the house that gets the heaviest use in the home. 

 The back of the worktop is normally finished with a splashback to protect the wall from the damage and debris thrown around.

 But this splashback doesn’t need to be simply functional, it can add a stunning visual finish to the kitchen. 

What will you use for your splashback? Let us talk you through the best of the many choices out there. 

  • Tiles

Good old tiles have always been the splashback of choice for many of us. Even with the emergence of new materials and ever changing fashions, tiles are still very popular amongst kitchen designers. Tiles are available in an incredible array of sizes and colours. Tiles can now be digitally printed too meaning they offer the ultimate in versatility.

  • Match The Worktop

For an apparently seamless look why not use splashbacks which are the same colour and pattern as your worktop. Your kitchen supplier will normally have these in laminated board to create that block effect.

  • Stainless Steel

If you are looking for a splashback which is easy to care for then stainless steel could be the choice for you. It can easily be made to bespoke sizes to suit your individual kitchen. Another twist would be to create your splashback using stainless steel tiles.

  • Glass

Another very popular choice is glass. Glass can be coloured or left clear to pick up the colour of the wall behind. Glass can be painted, printed or frosted to create a range of effects. With panels manufactured without joins, glass does a fine job of protecting the kitchen walls whilst being easy to keep clean.

  • Aluminium Composite

Made with a polythene core as the filling in an aluminium sandwich. With choices of colours available, as well as a brushed effect, Aluminium offers a great alternative for those on a budget. The brushed effect, particularly, is popular as it mimics the look of stainless steel.

  • Acrylic

Supplied in sheets ready to be cut to size, the smooth and glossy finish of acrylic can add a real shine to a kitchen. The way acrylic transmits and reflects light make them great to work with for kitchen designers looking to create unusual visual effects. They can even have led lighting hidden behind them for an even more stunning result.

  • High Pressure Laminate (HPL)

For the cost conscious, HPL is a great choice. Available in a variety of colours and has a top coat which is quite tough and resistant to scratches. For best results, these sheets would be attached to a battens to remove any imperfections in the base wall.

These no doubting the number of choices for your kitchen’s splashback is ever growing. We still reckon that tiling offers the best durability as well as being completely flexible with layout and styling. Not only that, some of the other choices may be currently fashionable but might date quickly.

 Get in touch with us here at UK Pro Tiling to learn or refresh your tiling skills and get ready to create that timeless look in the kitchen.

How To Install Marble Floor Tiles

Tiles are a perfect finish for a wet room. What appears to be a straightforward task will need some prior planning. Laid correctly, a tiled finish in the wetroom will last for many years.

For expert training in tiling, whether in a wetroom or anywhere else in the house, check out our comprehensive range of tiling courses.

Drainage Systems

Traditionally, a wetroom will drain from all four walls towards a Square Drain situated in the middle of the room or can be situated in the corner of the room where the existing shower was. The floor would then be covered by tile or anti slip vinyl.

Stone In-Fill Grills offer a much more aesthetically pleasing finish. The drainage grills will run across the room and fall into the waste before the room. Lengths of tile will be dropped onto the grills. A pleasing flush tiled finish is the result.

Frameless Grills take the concept to a new level. A mere 5mm of visible gap means the floor will appear completely tiled.

Choosing A Tile

Tiles chosen for a wetroom need to compliment the drainage system being used.

Mosaic tiles should only be used with a traditional style drain. Ceramic tiles can be used with any drainage system, provided they fit exactly around the drain. A cut edge will not be the same colour as the rest of the tile. Porcelain and Natural Stone tiles are both suitable for all types of drainage system.

So, having chosen your tiles, it’s time to start preparing your wet room.

Priming The Wet Room

A primer, suitable for the type of subfloor, must be laid and then allowed to dry. This ensures that the area is sealed and dust free, a tanking membrane would then be placed onto the walls and floors and all the corners sealed.

Adhesive Choice And Method

An adhesive must be applied over the whole area to fix the tiles, the adhesive must be rapid setting to ensure it cures on top of the non porous membrane. It should also be a flexible adhesive so that the tiled floor can absorb any movement or provide a better bond.

Cutting Tiles

Plan the tiling pattern to suit the drainage. Keeping cuts to a minimum and using envelope cuts done on a wet saw, particularly near the drain, will minimise the risk of water finding a route beneath the tile bed.

Grouting

When grouting between the tiles choose a fully waterproof, flexible grout, which has been designed to withstand the forceful jets from a modern shower.

Silicone

Once everything is tiled a silicone bead should be applied to where the wall tiles meet the floor tiles to ensure a seal between the two

A well tiled wet room can be quite a statement in the home. Why not get some training from us before tackling your own. We have course aimed at all levels of experience. Get in touch and we’d be happy to discuss your tiling needs.

Tiling a wet room: A How-to guide

Tiles are a perfect finish for a wet room. What appears to be a straightforward task will need some prior planning. Laid correctly, a tiled finish in the wetroom will last for many years.

For expert training in tiling, whether in a wetroom or anywhere else in the house, check out our comprehensive range of tiling courses.

Drainage Systems

Traditionally, a wetroom will drain from all four walls towards a Square Drain situated in the middle of the room or can be situated in the corner of the room where the existing shower was. The floor would then be covered by tile or anti slip vinyl.

Stone In-Fill Grills offer a much more aesthetically pleasing finish. The drainage grills will run across the room and fall into the waste before the room. Lengths of tile will be dropped onto the grills. A pleasing flush tiled finish is the result.

Frameless Grills take the concept to a new level. A mere 5mm of visible gap means the floor will appear completely tiled.

Choosing A Tile

Tiles chosen for a wetroom need to compliment the drainage system being used.

Mosaic tiles should only be used with a traditional style drain. Ceramic tiles can be used with any drainage system, provided they fit exactly around the drain. A cut edge will not be the same colour as the rest of the tile. Porcelain and Natural Stone tiles are both suitable for all types of drainage system.


So, having chosen your tiles, it’s time to start preparing your wet room.

Priming The Wet Room

A primer, suitable for the type of subfloor, must be laid and then allowed to dry. This ensures that the area is sealed and dust free, a tanking membrane would then be placed onto the walls and floors and all the corners sealed.

Adhesive Choice And Method

An adhesive must be applied over the whole area to fix the tiles, the adhesive must be rapid setting to ensure it cures on top of the non porous membrane. It should also be a flexible adhesive so that the tiled floor can absorb any movement or provide a better bond.

Cutting Tiles

Plan the tiling pattern to suit the drainage. Keeping cuts to a minimum and using envelope cuts done on a wet saw, particularly near the drain, will minimise the risk of water finding a route beneath the tile bed.

Grouting

When grouting between the tiles choose a fully waterproof, flexible grout, which has been designed to withstand the forceful jets from a modern shower.

Silicone

Once everything is tiled a silicone bead should be applied to where the wall tiles meet the floor tiles to ensure a seal between the two

A well tiled wet room can be quite a statement in the home. Why not get some training from us before tackling your own. We have course aimed at all levels of experience. Get in touch and we’d be happy to discuss your tiling needs.

Professional Tiling: How To Make A Portfolio For Start-up Tilers

With your training complete, it’s time to get out into the world and start tiling for customers. This can be an awkward time. Potential customers will be keen to see examples of your work. Yet until you’ve completed projects, there’ll be nothing to show. This isn’t a dead end, though. There are a number of ways to put together a portfolio.

Follow these tips to put together a portfolio:

Keep all of your coursework.

Whilst training, you should take good quality photographs of your work. Even a small area which has been expertly tiled is evidence of your work.

Work with an established tiler.

Reach out to fellow tilers. Maybe through contacts made on your course, or by contacting tradespeople in your area. Be honest with your experience too. If you get lucky, you’ll get some work which you can then evidence, to show the quality of your work.

It’s who you know.

Offer to tile your Nan’s bathroom or your mate’s conservatory floor. There will be people in your network who would be happy to have their homes revitalised for a reasonable rate (or in return for a roast dinner and a couple of cold beers). Maybe that downstairs cloakroom in your own house could do with a splashback behind the sink.

The key? Take photos of your creations once complete.

Hopefully, using the above tips, you can start to gather a body of evidence. Ask for testimonials too. A few words from a happy customer who is willing to be named adds authenticity to your portfolio.

Be sure to take plenty of photographs of all of your work. Use a photograph editor to write a few comments on the pictures explaining the job. If there has been a substantial amount of preparatory work, use some before and after shots too.

Create a stored folder somewhere safe, other than just your ‘phone or laptop, just in case you lose the original. Document editors, such as Google Docs, are good for creating your portfolio, easily inserting pictures and text into a document.

But what can you do with this portfolio in order to reach potential customers and employers. The internet can be a frustrating, time consuming (and time wasting) monster sometimes. Now is the time to get the virtual world to work for you:

  • Facebook – create a Facebook Business Page. Using no more knowledge than most of us need for our personal social media accounts, you can create a professional looking presence one of the biggest platforms of all. Even if it doesn’t attract much attention, you can use it to show potential clients.
  • Instagram is another platform to get on. It is the social media platform that allows us to take photos on our smartphones and post them immediately online for the world to see. It has an easy to use business option too.

The internet offers other opportunities to advertise your skills and showcase your portfolio:

Checkatrade, Rated People, TrustaTrader and many others are like old style Yellow Pages. You can register and customers reach you when searching for a tiler.

And keep that Google Docs file handy to share with anybody you might who might just know someone who needs a tiler.

Don’t forget, aside from all of our courses here at UK Pro Tiling we offer after care for all of our students and plenty of guidance on setting up a tiling business.

Essential Tiling Tools For The Professional Tiler

If you’ve recently completed one of our comprehensive tiling courses, you are, no doubt, ready to start earning as you impress your clients with your tiling skills.

You’ll need to make sure you’re tool bag is fully laden with the very best in tiling tools to get the job done professionally.

Gone are the DIY days of making do and mending!

We have put together the following guide to kitting yourself out.

Just make sure your tiling kit is not without:

  • Manual Tile Cutter – the majority of tiles needing a cut can be trimmed to size using a manual cutter. With the advantages of needing no power, nor a particular workstation, manual tile cutters are ideal for moving around the tiling job with you.
  • Electric Tile Cutter – perfect for fast and accurate cutting. Avoid cheaper DIY models which have neither the power, nor the quality of blade to tackle hard tiles. A good quality electric cutter will give a clean, precise cut every time.
  • Drill And Drill Bits – many jobs will require tiles to be fitted over pipes, electrics and other obstacles. For the finished work to look the part, the holes drilled for these awkward spots should be true and clean. A drill with variable speeds and a top quality set of diamond drill bits should mean every job has that perfect finish.
  • Electric Mixer – a hand held mixer, with variable torque settings, will ensure that your adhesive and grout are mixed consistently every time. Lumpy adhesive, with dry balls hidden in the mix will cause you issues when laying the tiles. The same applies to grout. If money is tight, an adaptor and a whisk bit could be attached to your existing electric drill.
  • Trowels – When laying adhesive to walls or floors, a smooth and consistent depth will lead to a smooth and consistent finish on the tiles themselves. To achieve this, selecting a tiling trowel which fits your hand perfectly is key. With the trowel comfortable in your hand, loaded up with adhesive, you should get that even distribution as the adhesive is spread onto the wall.

grouting on a tile

  • Grouting Trowel – the grout is the icing on the cake of a tiling job. No matter how well you have laid the tiles, if the grout is poorly applied, that will be what draws the critic’s eye. As with your tiling trowels, get the weight and handle size which best fits you. Be sure to look into the smaller, different shaped trowels designed to get into those difficult to reach corners.
  • Tile Spacers – it may seem obvious, but keeping a good supply of all sizes and types of tile spacers in your tool kit could avoid a frustrating interruption to work if you run out.
  • Levelling System – there are a variety of levelling systems on the market, designed to remove all guesswork out of keeping everything perfectly smooth. A relatively small investment could mean your work’s standard will soon demand the reward to pay all that investment back.
  • Tilers’ Lasers –  for laying of of tiles, particularly on the floor, and for perfect levelling, a laser system could be a wise investment. Whilst not essential for a tiler, the time they save and the consistent accuracy could mean they will soon be earning their cost back for you.

  • Buckets And Cloths – turn up to every job with a good supply of clean buckets, cloths and wipes so that you can keep the work area clean and tidy as you go. Scrambling around the floor looking for something to wipe up a spillage can be very annoying.

If you need training in any area of tiling, or just a refresher, be sure to get in touch with us here at UK Pro Tiling.