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.

 

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