Category: Tiling News and Blog

What type of tile is best to use for an outdoor patio?

So what type of tile to use? Well, firstly, porcelain tiles are used in favor of the ceramic tile as the porcelain tile is a more dense and stronger form of ceramic. Porcelain tiles that have a rating suitable for flooring can be laid outside. And the tiles will have a textured finish in order to avoid any slippery accidents.

Depending on personal choice (and maybe budget), the type of property and the overall look that is to be achieved, then a slate tile could be considered. The slate tile will need to be of a higher quality grade and make a great choice for exteriors as they have a resistance to stains and are non-porous. And where slate has been used in interior and exterior designs it gives a very eye-catching and striking look.

So why choose tiles over the more common (and popular) brick or paved exteriors? Well if you are looking to add a bit of style, individuality and uniqueness to your outside space, tiles will give you a wider choice of style, colour and pattern than the more usual brick and paved look.

There are things to consider when choosing tiles to be outside such as what is most appropriate for the climate and environment that the patio/ exterior space will be exposed to. We know that porcelain tiles are preferable to ceramic as it is a much more hard-wearing tile but isn’t the only option to choose from. Consideration for how the outside space is going to be used will be another important factor when choosing your tile.

For a patio/ outside space that will be used with heavy footfall (commercially or domestically) then the stronger the tile type the better; after all there is nothing worse than looking out on to your new outside area and a couple of cracked tiles appear.

Having looked at porcelain and slate, the quarry tile is a popular choice being strong and functional and if choosing the quarry tile, remember there is limited choice of colours to choose from and think about the climate where they are to be laid, as quarry tiles are not the greatest choice for cold and freezing temperatures. They do have a great resistance to water and are hugely popular in warmer climates, after all, haven’t we at some time sat on a warm, red quarry tiled terrace? And, being unglazed, the other great advantage of the quarry tile is that they are non-slip.

Maybe if you are looking for a bit of luxury (and may blow the budget a bit) granite tiles could be used, but, because they are normally highly polished then the ‘slip factor’ is high if the granite tiles get wet and because granite is more porous than some of the other materials it will require some regular maintenance by sealing it against water penetration. But if your choice is to go for a more luxurious and high maintenance look then granite tiles may appeal.

Then we come to travertine, a natural stone, which, depending on where it is quarried, can vary in its quality but is still a strong and durable tile. For a higher quality and more water resistant tile, travertine tiles from Italy or Turkey are a good choice. Travertine is a beautiful tile with earthy, warm tones and texture.

With the various choices of tiles available, it is highly likely that budget, style and colour and how the patio or outside space will be used will have an influence on which tile will be best for your outdoor patio.

Wet Rooms: Pitfalls To Avoid And Tips For A Perfect Job

Preparation

As with most tiling jobs, what you do before you even start is just as important as the tiling itself. In fact, with a wet room, the preparation is the most important part. Planning is essential, check that the tiles chosen will work with the style and placement of the drain being used. Also consider the user of the wetroom, for example, is it important for the tiles to be non-slip.

The tiling will be done over a tanking membrane. A tanking system comprises of a primer, self adhesive latex tapes and water guard membranes that will line the walls stopping any water, This should result in a completely waterproof bathroom and is quite a specialist skill. Only tackle this part of the work if you are experienced in preparing wet rooms.

Plan The Whole Floor

Try to arrange the tiling pattern in such a way that you are minimising the number of cuts needed to complete the job. Setting out the floor is the most crucial part, The tiles that fall on the wetroom tray have to be cut according to the slopes of the aqua tray that has been installed below, this is known as envelope cutting, it is important to cut the tiles on a wet saw at the correct angles so the gap where the wet saw has cut can be grouted to form the seal between the tiles

Best Tile Types For Wetrooms

Ceramic tiles are not ideal if being used over a sleek, frameless drainage grill. Because of the nature of their manufacture, these tiles may show the ceramic colour underneath the glass polished finish. They are fine for creating a waterproof finish though and will suit many wet room applications.

Porcelain Tiles are harder than ceramic and therefore more difficult to cut. This does mean they are extremely resilient and maybe a better choice for a wetroom which is going to have a lot of use. With a consistent colour, they are much more likely to look sleek when used with a central or linear drainage system.

Natural Stone Tiles are just that, natural. Because of this, they might not be completely uniform and may cause slight issues where there is a very shallow fall for drainage. It is also important to make sure they are fully waterproof.

Mosaic tiles are a popular choice as they add a non slip property to the floor, they can also look aesthetically better as there are no diagonal cuts leaving al tile joints square with the outside tiles of the wetroom tray

Adhesive and grout

A good quality primer over the whole surface will avoid any danger of dust or dirt breaking your adhesive layer and help to bond the latex tapes and paints. Adhesive should be applied with a 12mm notched trowel over the whole floor. A dot and dab system will inevitably lead to problems later on, wet rooms must be 100% waterproof, and the adhesive is just one component of that. Use rapid set, flexible adhesive, ensuring it sets on the waterproof membrane.

Allow for the very best grout when costing a wet room. Top of the range wet room grout is Epoxy grout which is chemical resistant, flexible, perfectly waterproof and strong enough to withstand even the most vigorous cleaning.

Looking to learn new tiling skills, we have courses to suit everyone from complete tiling novices to those who have been in the game a while but are looking to top us their skills.

Get in touch today to find out more.

How much can you earn as a wall and floor tiler?

All construction trades are in demand – but that’s especially true for tilers. The UK is currently seeing a mass shortage of wall and floor tilers, which is pushing up prices and creating opportunities.

There are two directions of work for an aspiring wall and floor tiler. One is the domestic market where people remodel their own homes. The other is site work where new homes are being built.
How much tilers get paid in the UK?Tilers average around £30 – £40 per metre for fitting, or a minimum £200 per day.

That equates to between £50K-£70K per year for experienced tilers.

Professional Tilers will usually charge around £30 per metre square for fitting ceramic tiles or £200-£250 per day (In the north) or around £45 per metre (in the South) for general domestic tiling work, good tilers are usually always in demand. Think of an average bathroom which is roughly 25 square meters on the walls and 8 square meters on the floor ( 3 days work= £900), a conservatory floor tiling job would be roughly 12 square meters, this should take only a day to complete (£360). Kitchen splash backs (£200-£250) for the day, both plus material profits.

In addition to these rates above you can add extra profit by selling all the materials and adhesives the job requires to your customers due to buying with discounts through your trade accounts, so if you are thinking of starting a business this is earnings you could expect once you get established and up to speed, a £1000 – 1500 per week could be achieved.
The skills you need

  • Basic maths skills are required to calculate areas and materials, both when you create estimates for work and undertake the project.
  • A keen eye for detail. Tiling is precise work where cuts have to be measured and made accurately
  • General fitness and good health. Tiling can be quite physical especially if you have to remove old tiles in preparation for starting a job.
  • Cleanliness. You have to work cleanly to avoid stains and damage from cement adhesives.

Interested in becoming a tiler?In these unsettled times many people are looking at their career options and considering highly-skilled trades and self-employment as the logical next step.
UK Pro Tiling Training can help. We offer fast-track intensive professional tiling courses ranging between 1-3 weeks.

Courses start from as little as £499 and can set you well on your way to a lucrative career as a tiler.

CTA: Would you like more information about tiling as a career? Contact us today.

How to find work as a wall and floor tiler

The key to any successful business is marketing. To win as many jobs as you can, large and small, you need to network a bit. Get your name out there. Make contact with as many tradesmen and suppliers as you can.

Find the people who work in complementary trades and can tell you where tiling work might be needed.

Here are some effective ways to promote yourself for the different types of tiling work available.

Floor tiling

Introduce yourself to all the conservatory suppliers, including any window fitters that you can find, and pitch your services.

  • Consider offering a commission for every job they pass onto you.
  • Try and find your local shop fitters who are currently working on shop refurbishments. These projects usually need floor tiling done.
  • Introduce yourself to floor screeding service tradesmen, as they do floors that might soon need tiling.

Kitchen Tiling

Visit all the kitchen shops in your local area and pitch your services with cards and flyers.

Make contact with kitchen fitters and joiners. Customers always ask them to recommend a tiler after they have finished installing a kitchen.

Make contact with electricians. They rewire a lot of kitchen sockets and bathroom down lighters, and tiling will always follow this service.

Bathrooms

Bathroom showrooms and plumbers merchants and also the actual plumbing tradesman is how you will get these jobs.

Tile shops

Tile shops obviously sell loads of tiles and will be asked all the time to recommend a tiler, so it is really important that you get in with the sales and counter staff.

Marketing options

  • Facebook. Setup a business page and promote yourself with pictures and testimonials. Include your contact details with every post.
  • Church parish magazines. Visit your local church and ask them if they do a monthly magazine or newsletter then ask them about advertising in it.
  • Estate agents. These are always looking for tradesmen for the property developers on their books, and the properties they rent.
  • Insurance companies are always looking for tradesmen to correct damaged properties, fires, floods etc. Ring the insurance companies and ask who to speak to about getting subcontracted work.
  • Checked & Vetted services. These work very well. Ask them what and how they charge for getting referrals to customers.
  • Vehicle signage. This is essential. Get yourself a van and make sure it displays your business name and contact details.
  • Setup Google pay-per-click (PPC) campaigns.

How to earn more as a tiler

If you are self-employed or thinking of going solo then having a strategy to maximise your earnings is vital

There is a lot more to running a tiling business than just having great tiling skills. You need to master the basics of running a business. Understanding basic sales and marketing techniques will help you row your clientele and find projects that pay well.

Courses

Our 1-day business Maximizing Your Earnings course will give you a firm grounding in sales techniques that can help boost your earnings.

You’ll learn how to:

  • Win more repeat business
  • Sell yourself to potential new customers
  • Convert pricing and estimates into active jobs

What the course covers:

  • Ways of finding work
  • Handling first meetings
  • Pitching your services
  • Closing a sale
  • Handling objections
  • Understanding the marketplace
  • How not to ‘oversell’
  • Reading body language
  • Establishing common ground with your customer
  • Customer buying modes
  • Understanding reciprocation
  • Setting goals

UK Pro Tiling courses

At UK Pro Tiling Training we can tutor you on all aspects of running a tiling business. Our lead instructor has over 30 years of successful self-employed experience; NVQ Level 1,2 and 3 Tiling, Assessors and Quality Assurance, as well as teaching qualification. He has personally delivered our tiling training program for more than 15 years.

Courses start from as little as £499 and can set you well on your way to a more lucrative tiling career.

Want to learn more?

For more on these and other key aspects of tiling, sign up for a course with UK Pro Tiling, the fast-track pro tiling course provider.

How to set-up a tiling businessSDC11393-1024x768There is a lot more to running a tiling business than simply attending a course and learning how to put tiles on a wall and floor. Being a great tiler isn’t enough. You have to learn effective business skills.

We teach you everything you need to know

UK Pro Tiling Training has been delivering quality fast track career changing courses for over 15 years and have taught thousands of learners from all over the UK and Europe. Our learners travel because of our strong reputation and excellent advice we give.

Our instructors will teach you practical tiling skills at the highest level, including all the product and background information. Courses cover:

  • How to get started
  • Choosing a business name
  • Bookkeeping basics
  • How to pay yourself
  • How tax and NI work when you’re self employed
  • Marketing your services
  • Setting up trade accounts
  • Measuring, pricing and estimating jobs
  • Keeping ahead of the competition

Darren is the owner of UK Pro Tiling Training and a tiling industry expert with over 32 years of self- employed experience to share.

Contact us today to find out more or enrol in our next business course.

How to create a portfolio of your work when you’re just starting outPotential 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.

Keep all of your courseworkWhilst 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.

Take great photos

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.

Share your work online

Now it’s time to get your portfolio out to potential customers and employers.

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.

Instagram lets you take photos on your smartphone and post them immediately online for followers to see. It offers enhanced services for business as well.

How to market yourself as a professional tiler

Website

It may sound daunting but building and hosting a website can be a cost effective and simple process. Providers such as Wix, Squarespace and GoDaddy offer complete packages with simple to use templates. You’ll just need to provide a great description of your services and some quality images.

Facebook

It is still possible to have an effective Facebook page for your tiling business which is free. There are many options to pay to promote your page, and some are worth considering, where you only pay for the number of clicks your posts generate. Use your friends and family to share your page and remember to keep new content appearing regularly.

Blogging

A regular blog can be a productive part of marketing yourself. Do some research and read up on popular blogs kept by other sole tradespeople. You’ll find the best ones offer advice rather than try and actively sell. If a potential customer trusts what you have to say they’ll be more likely to get in touch.

Google

It is still free to have a Google business profile and you should absolutely have one. Set up a business account and you’ll find you can be found across searches and also via Google Maps. You can include images from your portfolio and give all your contact details.

Trade Directories

Paying to be featured on one of the new trade directory sites and apps could be lucrative. As with all digital promotion, fill your entry with as much detail and examples of your work as you can.

Ask the tile shops if they need any displays tiling for free

Tiling displays for tile shops is a great way of meeting new customers. And as the tile shop will owe you a favour, you can suggest that they pass your cards out in return.

The Tile Association

An independent body which has a directory of tilers, and their logo can add some kudos to your marketing material. They can inspect work when a dispute occurs and support you through this. Being listed as one of their approved tilers puts your name forward to the thousands of hits their website gathers each month.

Pinterest, Twitter and Instagram

All social media sites are worth having a presence on. Most offer free entry level packages for business as well as more premium packages to push your brand. Only use the social media sites which you know you will have time to post regular content on.

How plumbers can using tiling as a new source of revenue

If you are a plumber who doesn’t offer tiling services you could be missing out.

Most customers would prefer one tradesman to complete a multi-faceted job. If you are already handling their plumbing needs why not offer your customer a full bathroom installation service

Wet Rooms

Wet rooms are becoming quite mainstream in properties all over the UK, from trendy apartments to elderly and disabled bathrooms. Plumbing skills coupled with tiling skills will see you completing these kinds of jobs and raising your earnings potential. Note: the price of an average wet room is double that of a bathroom

Training

UK Pro Tiling Training are fast track tiling course specialists.

The course will cover practical exercises and detailed product information, to show you what it’s really like to tile like a professional. You’ll also learn how to start and run a successful tiling business and what’s required to install a full wet room, along with tanking systems and aqua trays etc.

Would you like more information about adding tiling services to a plumbing or plastering business? Contact us today.

Patterned tiling

Patterned floor tiles, particularly those with geometric shapes, started to become really popular in the middle of the 19th century. Public buildings and illustrious villas, along with churches, were originally the places to find this touch of Victorian grandeur. They soon became fashionable and, as manufacturing costs fell, elaborately decoratively tiled floors began to filter through the classes and were soon being used in the hallways of even the most basic terraced houses. As fashions changed over the decades, these tiled floors were often covered over with carpet, or worse, taken up completely.

Inevitably, these tiles time came around again and not only are classic floors being lovingly restored, but manufacturers are happily supplying those looking to refurbish their homes with retro styled tiles.

Patchwork tile influences.

Whilst the use of decorated and geometric patterned tiles goes back to Victorian times, the influences go back further still. Designs based around gothic themes, replicating religious structures and art, often heavily embossed, were being used back in medieval times. In fact, historians point to the bright coloured, mesmerizing flooring patterns, particularly in more affluent buildings, to allay the myth that the medieval period was all about mysterious darkness. Patchwork patterns of tiles, forming elaborate larger pictures have been found on the floors of chateaus, churches and many other ancient buildings around the world. It is a testament to the interior design skills of those architects that, hundreds of years later, their designs are being replicated on modern tiles.

Many patterned and geometric tile patterns have also evolved from the intricate walls and floors of historic buildings across the Middle East. Throughout the ages, Islamic art has featured elaborate and detailed patterns, often in the form of pathwork or through the use of mosaics.

Contemporary Patchwork Tiling

Many manufacturers are becoming more adventurous with tile design. Seizing on the trends we’re talking about here, they are taking the influences of older style patterned and patchwork tiles and adding some modern twists. Many customers enjoy the feeling of being trend setters and using tile designs which are both bang up to date as well as classic. With this in mind, you will find plenty of tiles on offer which have been designed by names from the fashion houses of traditionally classy countries such as Italy. Modern manufacturing techniques offer variations in texture, finish and glazing. An apparently random selection of colourful patterns may actually be the result of some extravagant interior designing, rather than actually being random.

If your customer is looking for something a little bit different when choosing their tiles, encourage them to have a think about maybe mixing the ideas together for a unique effect.

We’re here with all your tiling courses and resources, ready for you to take the next step with your tiling career. Why not keep up to date with our Facebook Page and follow our blog.

Get in touch today to find out which tiling courses might be perfect for you.

Tessellation or Tiling? The Genius of the Tiling Pattern

Tessellations – that is a word that takes you back to your Maths classes! Do you remember looking at the different tessellations and coming across words such as vertex and polygons and working out the patterns? (Or maybe not!) So what is the definition of a tessellation (tiling pattern)? Well, this is when a surface is covered with a pattern of flat shapes so there are no overlaps or gaps. The shapes in the pattern don’t need to be the same but it must repeat.

There are different combinations of tessellations (tiling patterns):-

Regular tessellation, semi regular tessellation, ‘other’ tessellations and vertex.

The regular tessellation (tiling) patterns are made up of three shapes – triangles, squares and hexagons and for the semi regular tessellation the rule of thumb is the pattern at each vertex (corner point) must be the same.

‘Other’ tessellations could include the use of curved shapes or circles – but that could make for some seriously complicated tiling pattern designs. Clever stuff nevertheless.

So, by taking a look at regular tile patterns using rectangles, shaped tiles, squares, pentagons of all sizes or mixing octagons and squares in a tile pattern, how can these be transferred to your tiled wall or floor designs?

The choice of tile laying patterns are wide and varied, and, when considering which pattern to lay, they range from patterns such as small format brick bond to staggered brick bond, horizontal herringbone, block herringbone, linear, hexagon, fan, and basket weave to make a few.

And each tiling pattern will take careful planning when working out your design and will depend on the tiling project. For instance, with your client choosing a diamond pattern, when measuring up and pricing up, you will need to consider that there is likely to be more cutting involved and more wastage.

If your client is looking to have the basket weave pattern (which was made extremely popular back in the 1930s with the fashion for parquet flooring), it is worth considering when choosing the tiles that this pattern works better when you choose a tile with a rectified edge so that you get a 1mm grout finish. So what is a rectified edge tile? Basically, it is a fired ceramic or porcelain tile which is cut or ground down to an exact size mechanically and the tile edges are precisely cut at a 90-degree angle. With such a precise, clean and uniform edge it will result in a seamless look to your tile installation.

The tile pattern that is chosen will also give a different perspective on the size of the room to be tiled;  by using a vertical herringbone pattern it is likely to draw the eye upwards which will create an illusion of height in a low ceilinged room. Likewise, the horizontal herringbone will give the illusion of the room being wider. And using a pattern such as the horizontal herringbone it is likely you will need to calculate approximately for an additional 15% of tiles to take into account the additional cuts you will need to do.

So with all the different combinations of the tiling patterns and designs there is huge potential to create stunning tile installations that will continually test your skills from measuring up and working out how many tiles are required,  learning to minimise wastage from your design and maximising your earning potential. With tiling being an industry that is growing fast in the UK, providing a career that will bring challenges and rewards, tiling is indeed – genius!

 

Tiling A Barbeque Area

What would your ultimate barbeque area look like? There are so many options – you could build a permanent structure, have a traditional barrel style coal burner, or opt for one of the more extravagant gas burning stoves. Whatever you decide to cook on, having a bright new tiled area for the barbeque could add that extra piece of style.

You don’t have to restrict yourself to concrete slabs for the floor, and decking may not be the most practical base for your cooking area.

Choosing garden floor tiles instead will give your barbeque area the feeling of being a real outdoor kitchen.

How to choose outdoor tiles

Some tiles have a particularly slippery finish, even in a bathroom this can be a potential hazard. When tiling outside, high gloss, shiny tiles will be lethal with drinks or grease spilt on them, or after a downpour of rain. Think about who will be using the area and make sure it is safe for everyone.

Porcelain tiles are often rated for use outdoors as well as inside. They are harder wearing than ceramic tiles and much less absorbent, so repel the water better. Choosing a matt finish, or even better, a textured finish will offer much more grip when used on a patio or barbeque area.

Preparing a barbeque area for tiling

Far and away the best surface to lay outdoor tiles on will be a concrete pad. As opposed to laying patio slabs which may be porous, a tiled outdoor area will need to repel water. The concrete should be laid as smooth as possible, with a gentle slope towards either a drain or a garden area which can cope with any water running off. This slope does not need to be dramatic, just enough to stop water pooling on the tiles.

Laying tiles outside

Ensure that your concrete slab is completely dry before starting tiling. Thoroughly clean the concrete area before applying a waterproof membrane or treatment to the base before the tiles.

When tiling outside, the entire base should be covered with adhesive. The adhesive should ideally be rated for outside use and waterproof. A polymer modified, dry set mortar will be perfect for the job.

Apply a primer to the back of the actual tiles too. Use neat cement or some of the adhesive mix itself. Allow to cure slightly before laying onto your wet bed.

Be sure to clean as you go to avoid leaving unsightly stains on the tiles.

Finally, use an outdoor rated, fully waterproof grout or all weather jointing compound. As with the adhesive, making sure that you clean as you go will help produce a perfect finish.

We’ve all found projects which need our attention at home during lockdown, quite often including tiling. Brush up on your tiling skills with one of our many courses.

Get in touch today and start learning a new skill.

Quiz night!

For the last few weeks we have had to adapt to a new way of living and working with some of us having to learn new skills (like how to home school the kids! ),new ways of working and communicating with each other. And new words like Zoom, House Party and Tik Tok that have found their way into our vocabulary and making a big impact on our lives. And as we begin to emerge from this forced lockdown period we will need to think a ‘bit outside the box’ as to how to manage and assess the risks of how we live, learn and work for the foreseeable future.

Tiling training will recommence in a few weeks, and like all businesses it will be a carefully managed return. So, if you have been working from home or maybe doing a bit of DIY, or just had more time to think about where your working future lies, maybe it is time to think about taking on a new skill or change of direction from your current job.

During the lockdown period and with all the social distancing measures in place, the nation has discovered a new found passion for quizzes. From online pub quizzes, to socially distanced quizzes with neighbours, we have been testing our knowledge on all manner of subjects. But haven’t come across a quiz about tiling and everything related to tiling or training –  yet!  All those professional tiling terms you may or may not of heard of, and are not quite sure how they apply to the business of tiling, we can take a look at some of the tiling terms used and start our journey to become a ‘tiling mastermind’! UK Pro Tiling Training has a great set of resources on the website to refer to.

Question – So what is an NVQ?

This is a work-based assessment qualification and not a training course, and something that have been considering to undertake.

Question – What tiling tools should I need?

A tiler’s toolbox consists of a varied number of professional tools with the top tool being a good set of manual and electric tile cutters.

Test your knowledge! and see if you know what the following tools are and their function:-

Grout Float – flexible rubber pad with a ‘C’ shaped handle

Tile Levelling System – to help prevent tile slippage

Tile Trowel – important for proper coverage of adhesives

Spacer Wedges – used to space tiles at an equal distance

Question – How do you apply tile adhesive to walls?

The adhesive will need to be applied with the trowel at a 45-degree angle reducing slightly as the adhesive is applied up the wall.

Question – what adhesive should you choose?

Adhesive should be applied according to the room/ area you are tiling. For example,

waterproof adhesive is a must around sinks, showers and bath.

For all the questions you may have about tiling, which course to undertake,  whether to continue your professional development by completing an NVQ, or what not to do when it comes to good tiling practise –  UK Pro Tiling Training will have the answers for you.

Social Media And Other Ways To Generate New Business

Many people will have been staring at the inside of their houses for a few months. Its highly likely that lots will be looking to make some changes to brighten their homes. As tilers, it is a great time to start letting people know that you are out there and raring to go.

Website

It may sound daunting but building and hosting a website can be a cost effective and simple process. Providers such as Wix, Squarespace and GoDaddy offer complete packages with simple to use templates. You’ll just need to provide a great description of your services and some quality images.

Facebook

It is still possible to have an effective Facebook page for your tiling business which is free. There are many options to pay to promote your page, and some are worth considering, where you only pay for the number of clicks your posts generate. Use your friends and family to share your page and remember to keep new content appearing regularly.

Blogging

A regular blog can be a productive part of marketing yourself. Do some research and read up on popular blogs kept by other sole tradespeople. You’ll find they are the ones which produce consistently regular material. They will also be the blog posts which aren’t all sell, sell, sell. Imagine your customers’ tiling quandaries and answer them before they are even asked. Articles about different types of tiles for different rooms are great for appearing on potential new customers’ searches.

Google

It is still free to have a Google business profile and you should absolutely have one. Set up a business account and you’ll find you can be found across searches and also via Google Maps. You can include images from your portfolio and give all your contact details. There are iOS and Android apps too to help you manage your business on the move.

Trade Directories

Paying to be featured on one of the new trade directory sites and apps could be lucrative. As with all digital promotion, fill your entry with as much detail and examples of your work as you can. Many of these trader directories are promoting via television and radio advertising on your behalf.

The Tile Association

An independent body which has a directory of tilers, and their logo can add some kudos to your marketing material. They can inspect work when a dispute occurs and support you through this. Being listed as one of their approved tilers puts your name forward to the thousands of hits their website gathers each month.

Pinterest, Twitter and Instagram

All social media sites are worth having a presence on. Most offer free entry level packages for business as well as more premium packages to push your brand. Only use the social media sites which you know you will have time to post regular content on. It might be worth investigating whether using a social media manager or marketing agency to post regularly on your behalf might be beneficial in the long term.

If you’ve been unable to work during this pandemic, why not consider refreshing your skills with one of our courses? Get in touch today and see how we can help you get your business back up and running.

Tiling Around A Window

Tiling large, flat space can seem straightforward, but its the slower, tricky areas, like around windows which could ruin the finish if care isn’t taken.

Windows present us tilers with a whole set of potential problems. Inevitably every tile around the window, and in the window reveal, will need to be cut. These cuts are the most important you will make, as tiled walls and reveals around a window, which aren’t square with the frame, will draw a critical eye from anyone walking into the room.

Symmetrical tiling

There will be very few occasions when a window doesn’t look best sitting central to the tiles around it. Find the centre point of the window recess and use a wooden batten or similar as a temporary support as you work. If there is no sill, the lower edge will need to overlap (the thickness of a tile plus adhesive) to be able to fit the trim flush and square.

Laying the tiles

Work outwards. This way you’ll be starting with whole tiles, giving a much fuller, less ‘bitty’ look when finished. Remember, on all reveals, allow for a tile plus adhesive on the facing wall. Accuracy is so much more important than speed. Very few window reveals will be square, take time to measure all surfaces and work out which is the truest. Take your levels and measurements from the best surface and vary adhesive thickness to match the other sides. For complicated, multi sided cuts, its best to make jigs and get them 100% accurate before tackling the tiles themselves. Time spent getting this stage right will pay dividends and guarantee customer satisfaction.

Using trim

Wherever possible, use a decorative trim to the angles of the window recess. This not only gives a slick, professional finish, but also allows unsightly cut edges to be hidden from sight. The trim will need to be absolutely true, both vertically and horizontally. Mitre the joints at 45 degrees for a professional finish. Adhesive can be used to hold the trim in place whilst the tiles are set behind.

The top reveal

Gravity will be determined to play havoc with your beautiful tiling around the window. Be prepared before applying adhesive. Check and double check all the cuts and trim lengths. Using a board, or plywood and some supporting battens, the tiles can be stuck with adhesive and then immediately supported. Tiling the top reveal is best done before the sill, meaning you don’t need to worry about disturbing the sill when you wedge your supporting battens there. Take your time, the top reveal should be perfectly parallel with the top of the window.

Finishing off

Tiling around a window can be messy and fiddly, cleaning as you go is essential. Ensure all adhesive is cleaned off before starting to grout, taking particular care around the trim. Grout as normal, but, as we’ve said with the rest of the window project, take your time. A symmetrically tiled window which sits true to the rest of the wall gives an impressive professional image.

As you start planning getting back to work when restrictions are eased, why not consider one of our courses to expand, or just refresh your tiling skills. Get in touch today to find out more.

Tips for a Professional Finish to a Wetroom

Wetrooms (or walk in showers) have grown hugely in popularity over recent years in both domestic properties and commercial properties and have always been a popular choice for homes in mainland Europe. Wetrooms and walk in showers are an essential choice for hospital and care home settings but we are seeing more of these opulent walk in showers in more prestigious hotels and luxury accommodation.  And in domestic homes, more and more of us are looking for the luxury and practicality of a large shower room over, or in addition to,  the traditional bathroom.

Wet rooms can be installed on any floor of the building – not just contained to the ground floor and the great advantage of the wetroom is not having a step-in shower tray to negotiate as the floor is set at one level.

The key is to ensure the wetroom is waterproofed properly so when tiling the wetroom, it is important to remember not to compromise the contoured natural slope of the wet room base, otherwise the water will not drain away quickly enough.

So when it comes to choosing the best grout for your wetroom, an epoxy grout is probably the best option to go for, as epoxy grouts are fully waterproof, hardwearing and great for resisting those powerful jets of water, extreme temperatures and humidity.

To ensure that you get a professional finish to your tiles, make sure the grout lines are clean by using a damp sponge to clean the surface of the tile and the grout lines. Why? Because if the adhesive and the grout come into contact it could discolour the grout.

And it may seem an obvious trick,  but it is absolutely essential the adhesive has completely dried before you move on to removing the spacers and finally applying your grout.  Another consideration is that if you are going to be working in temperatures of over 25 degrees Celsius – just dampen the grout lines with clean water beforehand.

Before applying your grout, it is good practise to check for potential damage or staining, so it is advisable to to select a small ‘trial’ area to test whether there is any discolouration or if it is difficult to remove excess grout from the tiles.

When applying the grout in the wetroom, work in smaller areas completely filling the tile joint with your mixed grout and compact it well ensuring you remove any excess grout from the tile surface as you work.

After the wetroom has completely been grouted and you are ready to clean off all excess grout, use an emulsifying pad or scotchbrite pad with clean water working in a circular motion which should result in uniform grout lines. Then take a clean sponge and remove any further residue by cleaning diagonally to the grout lines.

The key to any professional tiled finish is not to leave any surplus grout or haze on your newly tiled surface for more than 24 hours, so clean the surface down with clean water and an emulsifying pad within this time frame.

Your finished wetroom will then need to be left for at least two weeks before it can be used.