Month: September 2020

Tiling Staircases

Staircases are not always the most glamorous installation in your home unless you live in a grand, luxurious large home where the staircase makes a big impression on opening the front door.  Tiled staircases can really make an incredible, practical, long lasting impact on an interior and many luxury hotels or commercial businesses will have impressive tiled staircases installed.

So, what type of tile would you need to use on a domestic interior staircase and how do you tile a staircase compared to tiling a wall or a floor? Well, the process of tiling stairs is pretty much the same as for any tile installation, but there are a few things to consider.

Tiles

The tiles to use would need to be slip resistant and suitable for floors.

Preparation

With tiled stairs there is a lot of preparation involved for both internal and external tiled stairs. Firstly, it’s important to get the measurements correct in order to work out the square meterage required and to do this you would need to measure both the length and width of the stair and the vertical riser of each stair. Once you have calculated the square meterage then remember to allow for an extra 10% – 15% for breakages, cuts and wastage. Once measured and the tiles ordered, you are ready to prepare the staircase for tiling. 

Most internal staircases are constructed of wood but if your staircase or steps are concrete then the same preparation applies except there may be a need to use levelling compound if you find the stairs are not level.

Ensure the area is flat, clean and dust free. If the staircase to be tiled is constructed of wood then it is key to make sure there is no movement and that each stair is completely secure. If your staircase is not solid and secure after the tiles have been applied, it will result in cracking of the grout and the tiles. You may also have to reinforce the stairs to take the weight of the tiles. 

Each stair will also have a nose board on the front of it – this will need to be cut flush to the riser – make sure the cut is smooth and free of any dust.  Once you have completed all your preparations you are ready to apply the tiles. 

Applying your tiles

For a successful, professional job start at the top of the staircase tiling the vertical stair risers. Use an L square on both sides to ensure the tiles are plumb (remembering to leave a gap for the grout). Start from the centre of the stair and work outwards. It is important to leave a gap of around 3mm and to keep this consistent use 3mm tile spacers to give an even gap around each tile. This is absolutely necessary to avoid any future cracking of both the tile and grout on the staircase. Once you have worked your way down the staircase and with all the tiles in place, the grout will need to be applied. 

Grouting

As with most tiling jobs it is advisable to leave grouting the tiles for at least 24 hours after the tiles have been installed to allow enough time for the tile adhesive to dry properly. When choosing the grout you will need to take into consideration that it will need to be able to withstand the wear and tear of constant use, be durable and flexible. 

So, job done nearly…

Finally

After leaving the finished grout to dry for a further 24 hours, good tiling practice requires the tiles to be cleaned to remove any excess grout to reveal a beautiful tiled staircase.

Tips for Tiling a Bathroom

Bathrooms are surely the no.1 choice to decorate using tiles, with tiles having the most practical, hardwearing and waterproof properties as well as a huge choice of styles, colours shapes and sizes.

How easy is it to tile a bathroom? With obstacles such as sink and toilet pedestals, showers, windows and door frames to consider there is a lot of planning and preparation involved to create the perfect tiled bathroom.

So, first of all what tools do you need? Well, the checklist below is a lists the tools you are likely to need:-

Pencil

Level

Tape measure

Sponge

Bucket

Tile cutter 

Tile nipper

Notched Trowel or Spreader

Square

Rubber grout float 

*Sander

**Piece of timber

And importantly for your own health and safety:-

Safety goggles

Dust mask

Gloves

Knee pads (depending how good your knees are!) 

There are additional tools such as a contour or layout tool that can be included in your list for those awkward cuts or you can go back to basics and use card or paper to make a template. 

So, with your tools and safety wear sorted, next is to measure the area that needs to be tiled (remembering to allow 10% for breakages and spares).

Whatever the job, the key to a successful and professional looking finish is always in good preparation. Walls and floors to be tiled need to be flat and clean – some areas may need *sanding so be sure to remove all dust before applying the tiles.

Planning how to apply your bathroom tiles

One way of ensuring the tiles run symmetrically on the wall is to try using a ‘gauging stick’ to mark out where the tiles will need to be placed. This is where the *timber in the tool list comes in.  Lay the timber (which should be just over half the width of the wall)  and put the tiles and spacers along its length and mark with a pencil. A second piece is used to place tiles widthways.

Measure the width of the wall and draw a vertical line at the midway point. Do the same for the height. Use the ‘gauging sticks’ to mark out a grid where the tiles will start and end. Adhesive is applied to the tile and tiling starts at the bottom of the wall, working in an upward direction, not forgetting to cut any tiles required before applying adhesive.

For the floor just as for the walls, preparation is all important. Ensure the floor is clean, dry and level. If the floor is constructed using floorboards it will need to have something like a ply covering to level it.

Using the same method of measuring to find out the midpoint of the floor as for the wall and start by dry laying the tiles working outwards towards the wall or first piece of bathroom furniture (bath, loo or sink pedestal).  Mark the position of the last complete tile and draw a line from one end to the other. Lay your tiles along this line  (you could use battens if working on a plywood base) checking regularly the tiles are flat and straight.

Cutting tiles around those awkward shapes.

Depending on your chosen tiles you can use a tile scorer or a tile cutter. For porcelain or natural stone tiles over a 15mm thickness a tile saw is better. And for those awkward curved cuts around a toilet or a pipe you can choose a tile nipper or tile saw to create a neat curve. If you don’t have a contour tool or layout tool then make a card template to mark out on the tile where the cut needs to be and remember to wear safety goggles! 

After grouting and cleaning the tiles, your finished bathroom will look amazing.