A New Look with New Tile

Give your kitchen, bath, or another space in your home a new look for the new year with tile! While the addition of ceramic tile isn’t a major renovation, it can have a great impact on the style of a space. From choosing the right tile for your design to making sure it is installed properly, there is a lot to know about ceramic tile! Learn more about the different types, applications and installation methods for ceramic tile, then stop in to explore of selection from the industry’s top brands!

Types of Ceramic Tile

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Glazed Ceramic Tile

Features a matte, semi-gloss or high-gloss finish and is coated with a protective, durable glaze. Compared to unglazed tile, glazed ceramic can offer better stain and moisture resistance. Matte or textured finishes of glazed ceramic offer better traction, scratch resistance and hide dirt better than high gloss finishes.

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Unglazed Ceramic Tile

Comes in various surface treatments and textures, all of which are hard and dense, but do not offer much protection against stains compared to glazed ceramic tile unless sealed. These are most commonly used for outdoor applications like patios and walkways.

Porcelain Tile

Porcelain is the hardest and densest variety in the ceramic tile category. They are non-porous, scratch-resistant and can withstand temperature extremes due to its through-body composition.

Where to Install Your New Tile

The durability and versatility of ceramic tile make it ideal for both wall tile and floor tile applications. Its resistance to moisture is one of the top reasons ceramic tile is a popular indoor flooring choice for kitchens, bathrooms, mudrooms, and beyond. In addition to ceramic tile for backsplashes, there are plenty of eye-catching options that turn up the style on fireplace surrounds, architectural focal points, and other wall applications. Available in a wide selection of colors, patterns, sizes and shapes, ceramic tile adds to the aesthetic of nearly any space, heightening its overall design.

Measuring For Tile

Thinking about tackling a DIY ceramic tile installation? Make sure to take the proper steps to ensure your project turns out great looking, and that you don’t run out of tiles before you’re finished! Measure the length and width of floor area or wall space that you’re going to be covering with ceramic tile. The next step depends on the size of your ceramic tile choice. Determine how many tiles will fit lengthwise and across the width of the area, then multiply these numbers for the total amount of tiles you will need. Don’t forget to factor in the width of the grout lines, as the will add up to a significant amount. The most common grout width is 3/16 inch.

Cutting Tile

Before you get started on installing your ceramic tile, make sure you have a proper cutting tool for any areas that will require precise cuts, including around outlets in a backsplash, to line up with edges and more. There are many different tools on the market for cutting ceramic tile. For making clean straight cuts, irregular cuts and more, one of the most common tools is a Wet Tile Saw. If simple, straight cuts are all that you’ll need to make for your ceramic tile project, a Manual Snap Cutter or Tile Scribe can get the job done. Just “eyeballing” where you will need to make a cut on a tile could lead to mistakes and wasted material, so make sure to use a ruler and a marking tool to measure and mark where exactly the tile will need to be cut before you get to work.

Installing Ceramic Tile

Now that you have the ceramic tile and cutting tool you need, make sure you have the rest of your materials before starting your installation. To affix your tile to your floor or wall, purchase enough adhesive for the square footage of this area, a trowel tool to spread the adhesive, and spacers to ensure even spacing between tiles. Depending on the surface you’re installing on, you might also need backerboard or underlayment materials. If you will mixing your own grout, make sure you have a clean bucket on hand. Or you can buy pre-mixed grout in your color of choice. You will also need a rubber grout flout to spread grout and tile sponges for clean-up. For areas like backsplashes that will line up with a countertop for another surface, purchase waterproof caulk to seal in-between the two surfaces. Wood molding, or metal transitions might also be needed, depending on the nature and placement of your ceramic tile project.

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Cement Board

Install a cement board underlayment, if necessary. This step is required if there is any movement in the floor while walking across it, install a cement board underlayment.
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Mark the Center

Find and mark the center of the room (for floors) or the center focal point of the wall area (for backsplashes, fireplace surrounds, etc.).

Lay

Lay out the ceramic tile starting with the center tile to ensure you’re happy with the placement before you lay down the adhesive. For backsplashes, lay out your tile pattern on the floor first, to make sure it will fit evenly on the wall

Install Center Tile

Apply enough adhesive for the size of your center tile to the floor or wall using the notched edge of the trowel at about a 45 degree angle to the floor or wall. Press the tile in place and secure it into position by twisting it back and forth, then pull the tile back up and look to make sure the adhesive is in contact with all of the bottom of the tile. If there are bare spots, you need to make the adhesive thicker. Reinstall the center tile.

Install remaining tiles

Install the remaining tiles, using the center tile as a reference point. Only spread enough adhesive for two or three tiles at once and install only these tiles at a time, using spacers on all sides to ensure even grout lines between them. If adhesive oozes up between tiles when you press the tile into place you are using too much adhesive. If necessary, cut any tiles to size.

Cure and Mix

Cure adhesive overnight, for the amount of time recommended by the manufacturer.

Mix the grout, or get your pre-mixed grout ready. The consistency should be similar to peanut butter. Scoop some grout onto the tiles, and use a rubber grout float at an angle to work it into the joints.

Cleaning & Sealing Ceramic Tile

The last steps are to clean and seal your ceramic tile. After you finish working the grout into the joints, carefully wipe off the residue with a damp sponge, rinsing the sponge frequently. After grout is clean and cured (following the manufacturer’s directions), buff the tiles with a soft damp cloth to remove any left-over residue. Finally, apply a sealant to the cured grout lines. Depending on the area where your tile is installed, applying caulk along the edge(s) might be your final step.

Installation Costs

For a DIY project, the final price tag for your ceramic tile installation depends on the total cost of your materials, which can vary based on the type of tile you choose, the size of the area you’re covering, and how much you invest in a cutting tool. The manual tile cutting tools are much more inexpensive options, but might not be able to deliver the precise results you need.

If you don’t feel confident in your DIY skills just yet, hiring a professional for installation will save you time and hassle, and might actually save you money in the long run by preventing any unforeseen issues a first-time DIY’er might encounter.

Have a project or renovation idea in mind?

Stop in today to check out our great selection of ceramic tiles. Our experts will help you find your ideal styles and colors. Visit us in store, contact us here, or call 330-721-1914.

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