Month: January 2020

Tile Cutting – A Comprehensive Guide

Throughout your tiling career, you will likely find yourself working with lots of different kinds of tiles: from weak ceramic tiles to thick ceramic tiles, to heavy duty porcelain tiles. They all cut in slightly different ways, and so you need the power of professional tile cutters to do the job properly.  

Whether you are a seasoned pro or an enthusiastic DIYer, don’t let a fine tiling job be let down by the quality of the cuts. The eye will always be drawn to those rough edges, regardless of how good the rest of the tiling is.

If you’re unsure which tools you will need to cut tiles, check out our guide to kitting yourself out for tiling which covers all of the basics. Cutting tiles is crucial to achieving a professional finish on your tiling jobs – we recommend spending as much as you can stretch to on the best tools.

‘Professional tile cutters are professional tools for professional people’

So what are the different types of tile cutting tools you might use? 

Manual tile cutters

Manual cutters are fine, they usually feature a solid bed on which to lay the tile. Markings on the perimeter help with accurate measurements. A roller with a scoring wheel then runs across the tile and you simply snap off the excess. Very hard tiles are prone to cracking away from the score. The wheels need to be replaced regularly to keep them making a deep enough score.

If you’ve never used a manual tile cutter before, check out the below video in which Darren demonstrates how easily you can cut through all manner of tiles, from ceramic wall tiles, to 9mm thick wall tiles, to 10mm thick, 600mm long, heavy duty porcelain tiles. 

Even though this tile cutter is manual, it’s incredibly powerful, so much so you can operate it with just the lightest touch from your little finger. For cutting more heavy duty tiles, you simply switch out the blade for a more heavy duty one. 

You can even use manual cutters to cut your tiles at an angle. 

Electric tile cutters

You could also use electric cutters to shape your tiles, and while these vary in style they essentially all work the same way. Tiles are fed past a fast spinning blade, cooled by water, which cuts all the way through the tile. 

Avoid cheap electric cutters. The blades will be made from poor quality metal and unlikely to be true as they spin. A good quality cutter spins extremely quickly and has a very sharp, hard wearing blade. A word of warning – these are extremely messy and best set up outside.

Angle grinder

A mini angle grinder can also be used to cut tiles. Quality diamond blades should be used. These are particularly useful for cuts with internal angles and creating more unusual shapes for awkward spaces. Again, avoid using low quality blades, these are a false economy with the amount of mis-cuts they are likely to produce.

Electric drill

For making holes to neatly sit around pipes, only the best tools will ensure a perfect finish. A powerful electric drill with a carbide-grit hole saw will produce the best possible results. 

It’s possible to cut a tile to shape and then splice it back together after cutting, but the end result will be far inferior to a neat hole. If you are tackling a one-off tiling project, it may be possible to hire the hole saw kit rather than go to the expense of buying one. 

You could also tackle tiling around a pipe project with a masonry bit and a ceramic coping saw, if both are sharp and you take your time.

Measuring and marking

The cuts and holes you make on your tiles will only be as good as the measurements you use. A good old tape measure and spirit level are perfectly acceptable of course, but for precision work, use laser markers and measures – leave nothing to chance. 

With holes, it’s worth testing your marks with a tile sized paper template before committing to cutting the hole. The same applies to awkward angles and tight spaces. The old adage, ‘measure twice, cut once’ should always be kept in mind.

UK Pro Tiling Training

As long as you know how to use your tile cutters (which you are taught to do on all UK Pro Tiling Training courses), you can cut any tile. But remember, you’re only as good as your tools, and if your tools aren’t capable of doing the job, then you’re going to struggle.  

UK Pro Tiling Training retail a range of different kinds of tile cutters, including Rubi and Sigma, but the one you see in the above video is the one that you’ll learn to use on our tiling courses. We also sell three different starter kits for anyone doing a tiling course. The prices are very competitive compared to a tiling shop. 

Check out some of our other tiling videos and watch the various courses in action – you’ll see the students getting to grips with all the various tile cutters. 

For all of your tile training courses, whether you simply need a refresher, or are starting from scratch, get in touch today and start your journey towards becoming a tiling expert.

Ever thought about attending a Tiling Trade Show?

What would be the advantage of considering taking time out to attend a trade show? First and foremost, it is a great way to network with other professionals in the tiling business and make new contacts.

Trade shows are a fabulous way of finding out about new products on the market, attending product demonstrations and seminars, meeting the manufacturers of, for example, tiles, tooling and adhesives.

To attend an event such as the The Tiling Show organised by the The Tile Association (TTA) taking place in March 2020 will definitely enhance your professional CV. This particular event also holds the TTA awards where there are 16 award categories for companies/ clients / individuals to nominate a person or project for an award including ‘individual wall and floor tile fixers’, ‘trainee tile fixer’, ‘ best (large) commercial project’, and ‘best domestic project’ amongst the 16 categories. What an accolade to be nominated for such an award! ‘Tilezine’ the online magazine of the Tile Association quotes ‘the cachet of a TTA award winner really can make a difference’.

Not all trade shows will hold award events and attending professional tiling events will keep you up to date with new techniques and industry technologies and the latest trends and designs.

So, take a look at the trade shows that you would be interested in attending by researching tiling trade literature and selecting a show that is going to be good for your business – whether that is a local or a national event. The great advantage of attending a tiling event is that you will meet other tiling professionals, meeting in person will often lead to recommending you/your business to others, so already you are in a great situation with free recommendations. By seeing all the products and demonstrations at a tiling trade show, you may find that they offer solutions you weren’t even aware that you were looking for ?. And you will definitely be inspired when you see all the new products/new designs coming to the tile market and with everything all being in one place,  it is a great opportunity to see what is new or increasing in popularity.

There are national events such as the kbb event at the NEC Birmingham in early March 2020 and is the UK’s largest gathering of the worlds best kitchen, bedroom and bathroom brands showcasing the latest designs, solutions and products from top suppliers with delegates and exhibitors from the construction, home, tiles and ceramics world. Planning to attend an event such as this would benefit from you checking out the exhibitors and the exhibition plan beforehand so that you make the most of visiting those companies that will really enhance your tiling business.

When deciding upon which tiling trade show you want to attend, it is worth taking into account where it is, when it is and what you are hoping to get out of it;  but most of all – have fun!

Mirror tiles

Do you have your own tiling project (or perhaps a customer) that requires a style of tile to embrace and enhance the light in their home or commercial environment? Is it time to make the space feel bigger, brighter and lighter?

The perfect solution? Mirror tiles.

The use of mirror tiles can offer hugely versatile tiling solutions. They provide fantastic contrast and depth for kitchen splashbacks. Not only do they reflect the light where it is needed, mirror tiles offer the opportunity to make a feature wall and can be viewed as ultra – modern with 21st century styling and design.

Mirror tiles also offer a retro or traditional look. Antique mirror tiles have become highly sought after and have become one of the most popular tiles for feature walls and splash backs. Stylish solutions include the ‘distressed vintage’  look, and with varying colourways such as bronze or gold, mirror tiles give a very opulent feel to a tiling project.

Interior mirror tiles offer a large influx of light and brightness into the space. Mirror fragments easily decorate uneven section of walls and look amazing in a niche or alcove. The room can acquire the effect of an illusion since mirror tiles can give the effect of either expanding or narrowing the space of a room. Even better, they can offer design features such as a mirror column. So, all in all, this type of tile breathes a lot of light into the room.

There are several types of mirror tile including: Mirror square tiles in both large or small size, brick mosaic tile, small mosaic tiles, mosaic straight brick tiles and the bevelled mirror tile. These all can be used to expand the visual space of any room in the home or commercial space to create a look that can range from a large mirror on the wall to a decorative mural. Tiles can be available in the traditional silver-backed mirror finish, or you can get them backed with gold or brass. A recommended method on how to use the tiles is to make large, segmented mirror walls in bathrooms, bedrooms and hallways.

At UK Pro Tiling Training, we are experts in training in all aspects of tiling businesses. Whether you opt for our one-day course or our fast track course, you will be inspired to be the best quality tiler you can be.

2020 is a fantastic year to consider a brighter and inspired future as a tiler.

Changing rooms for 2020

As a professional tiler, there are endless opportunities to facilitate change.  Change in designs and looks for rooms of all types, commercial rooms, domestic rooms, interior and exterior rooms. Working with pattern and colour, the varying shapes and sizes of tiles and challenging the brain to work out the most effective, efficient and economical way to lay the tiles. A beautiful, flawlessly tiled surface is in itself a work of art whether loaded with pattern and colour or just simple plain design. And looking forward to the next decade, new designs and trends will be breaking through offering exciting opportunities for tilers to work with clients exploring and applying these new trends.

Modern ebony wood kitchen with sink,gas cooktop and hood interior 3d

So, what is changing for 2020?

Well, in a recent blog posted on one of the UKs larger tile retailers ‘Topps Tiles’,  it was revealed that they had chosen as their signature 2020 tile the ‘Syren’ tile – a glossy, inky- blue coloured fish scale shape tile. Perfect for changing the look of a bathroom, shower room or as a statement splashback design in a kitchen.  With this deep-ocean inspired colour,  it is leading the way towards the trend for more naturally inspired, darker, earthy designs. And historically, the colour blue in tile designs has featured since the Ancient Egyptian and Roman times.

So, for 2020, colour choices are likely to become bolder and more daring.  One tile that will remain ever popular is the metro tile, but it will be presented in more variety and imaginative layouts such as a basket weave pattern, 45 degree angular layout and geometric pattern. The great advantage of tiles presented in various geometric patterns are that they can be applied across all of your commercial or domestic projects – modern or traditional.

And then there is the application of the larger tile – creating a real statement design by using less grout lines making these tiles perfect for bath and shower rooms. The larger tiles are ever popular for creating a look that makes a small space seem bigger.

As well as the darker, bolder colours, there is a new twist on the pastel colour palette. Going forward into the new decade, the pastel colours will be updated to offer much fresher, crisper tones. We will see colours such as mint and coral becoming more desirable, moving away from the recent trend for the greys and neutral colour schemes commonly chosen.

But right on trend will be bolder, darker interiors – the inky black colours inspired by the luxury spa and hotel market make a luxurious and elegant statement working well in smaller spaces. Use black grout with black tiles to give the ultimate luxury finish.

Moving away from the big commercial tile manufacturers, there is an increasing demand for ‘artisan’ tiles. Tiles that are not mass produced, that offer very individual style, often are handmade or have a reclaimed element to them. Artisan tiles can offer a more bespoke design, with different textures and tones that can’t be achieved on a mass scale. The colours that look to be on trend for 2020 in this sector of the tile industry are warm, metallic tones and earthy greens and browns – again a darker, naturally inspired colour palette.

So will 2020 see you ‘Changing Rooms’?