Tile is a beautiful thing. At first glance tile can seem like an expensive accent for your walls or floors. Not to mention, a time-consuming, specialized do-it-yourself job to boot. The good news: making a stylish upgrade to your kitchen or bathroom with a tile backsplash or floor makeover adds value to your home, and you don’t have to spend a lot of money or time doing it. The secret: embellish your living space with beautiful tile accents.
When it comes to tile, how do you make creative choices? Here are a few tips:
1. Create a focal point around cooking areas in the kitchen or in back of a bathroom sink. Mix and match different tile colors, textures, metals, glass and ceramic, or use more expensive tile along with more affordable options, to create a pattern. Consider the look of the counter – intricate backsplashes look great with solid countertops. On a floor, create a tile “rug” in the center of an entryway or in front of a backroom counter.
2. Accent the entire room by wrapping it with the tile backsplash design, which can help make a small space seem larger. In the same way, wrapping a floor with a tile border can look pretty spiffy.
3. Use affordable tile in unusual ways. Place tile vertically or on a diagonal. Simply by changing the orientation of inexpensive subway or field tile, you can give it a modern look.
4. Plan your design, right on the wall or floor by prepping the surface to be tiled with a layer of white thinset. Once it’s dry, draw the design with pencil. Even easier: splurge for tile that’s sold already in pattern.
Gather your tools for the job. Here’s a list of all the tools you may need for tiling a backsplash or a floor in the kitchen or bathroom:
- Scoring knife for tile
- Tile cutter
- Tile saw
- Cordless drill
- Drywall saw
- Tape measure, utility or putty knife, caulk gun, t-square
- Grout float, bucket, trowel
- Dust mask, knee pads, safety glasses, gloves
Follow these steps for a beautiful tile project. Regardless of the type of tile project you decide on, the following steps will start you on your way.
Step 1: Prepare the substrate. Substrate is the surface to be tiled and can be made from drywall, cement board, plywood or other type of backing. Tape, plaster or mud the substrate seams so the surface is smooth. After this work is complete, make sure the surface is free of dust, oils or residues to guarantee a strong adhesive bond.
Step 2: Plan tile design. Draw the design with pencil, directly on the prepared surface to be tiled, or snap chalk lines to be used as guidelines, measuring to determine the best location to start tiling. Allow full tiles to be places in areas that draw the most attention and hide cuts in corners and under cabinets.
Step 3: Apply mortar. Spread adhesive with the flat side of the trowel, flip the trowel over to the notched side and double back over the area to remove any excess. Cover the entire surface with a medium-thick layer of adhesive.
Step 4: Install tiles. Begin installing full tiles or tile sheets, working off of the countertop surface, or one corner of a floor and move up or out.
Step 5: Make cuts. Make cuts to fit tiles around electrical, cabinets, light fixtures, toilets or bathtubs, and then fit the tiles into the design.
As always, contact us with any questions on your tile projects, or comment below. We’re here to help!