Author Topic: DIY Tiling  (Read 5883 times)

FastStache

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DIY Tiling
« on: June 17, 2014, 02:36:22 PM »
I plan to do as much tiling as humanely possible in about a 5 day span for the whole house which should be about 1700 sq ft.

The plan
1. Remove Old Carpet
2. Remove Old Tile from a few areas
2. Remove Baseboards
3. Cut under door Frame
4. Clean concrete Floor will have light mold and mildew
5. Begin Tiling
6. Save all pieces to be cut for last to save on Tile cutter rental
7. Grout

Tools/Material needed
1. Tile
2. Thin Set
3. Grout or Epoxy
4. Square-notch Trowel
5. Chalk Line Tool
6. Knee pads
7. Oscillating Saw
8. Spacers
9. Drill
10. Tile Scraper
11. Attachment to mix thin set?

This is the tile we plan on using...
http://www.homedepot.com/p/TrafficMASTER-Portland-Stone-18-in-x-18-in-Glazed-Ceramic-Floor-and-Wall-Tile-17-44-sq-ft-case-ULMK/204834499?N=5yc1vZarsz

We like the look and color, but I am worried about how this tile will hole up over time and if installing 18 inch tile is doable as DIY. We do like the cost of it.

I'm looking for ideas/help
1. Is my order of operation correct?
2. Do I need other tools/materials, especially in the time savings department?
3. Are there really good tutorials online?
4. Is the tile a good quality tile?
5. Which is prefered long term, grout or epoxy?
6. How to determine the right grout line spacing?

I know this is a loaded thread, but I can update in a few weeks as I do the project for anyone looking for lessons learned, and I can document my purchasing process and tools rentals too.

sleepyguy

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Re: DIY Tiling
« Reply #1 on: June 17, 2014, 06:45:27 PM »
mix only enough thinset to do what speed you can manage... DO NOT RUSH.  Once you get used to it you can probably mix more as you are more used to it.  Use a very very straight 2x4 and rubber hammer to "level" as you go one at a time, going in diagonals  with light taps.  Use spacers and use a leveller as you go along.

When cleaning grout, use 2 buckets and 2 sponges (good quality).  Search it on the web, but generally you don't want to be reusing the dirty bucket water as grout haze is annoying as hell.

Oh use a darker shade grout if you can... white grout shows too much dirt.

phred

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Re: DIY Tiling
« Reply #2 on: June 17, 2014, 08:36:03 PM »
make sure the floor is very level as ceramic tile doesn't bend too well.
Generally, tile setters start at the room's center
If you use the plastic/nylon spacers, place them vertically so you can pull them out after the tile sets -- much cheaper because you can reuse in other parts of the floor
5 gallon bucket to mix the thinset in
rubber grout float to apply the grout (on the diagonal to the grout line)

Greg

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Re: DIY Tiling
« Reply #3 on: June 18, 2014, 08:56:45 AM »
For mixing you'll want a 1/2" chuck corded drill and paddle.  Trust me.

To make your chalk lines more durable, coat them with cheap hairspray, a trick my tile installer taught me.

18"x18" tile will require a very level surface and advanced leveling technique, if this is your first time I'd recommend smaller.

paddedhat

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Re: DIY Tiling
« Reply #4 on: June 24, 2014, 11:11:12 AM »
Having done thousands of feet of tile work over the last few years, the first thing that comes to mind is that you are jumping off the deep end with little regard to swimming ability here. I would find a way to do a smaller project , or two, before you go and tackle a very large job, with large tile. The next thing is that renting a saw to tackle all the cutting, after you laid all the field tile is a bad idea. Large tile takes a significant amount of thinset and a large notch pattern trowel. Trying to cut and set little scraps of tile in tight places, after the field sets,  will be a big headache. You need to grab an inexpensive, table saw style wet saw, and get used to cutting as you go. Finally, as a total newbee to the art of tile, unless you have extraordinarily low standards, there is simply no way in hell that you are going to get this all knocked out in five days. Assuming that it is not all one giant area, and that the job can be broken into smaller sections, I would strongly suggest that you divide the job up, do a dining area, alcove or hallway, and get a feel for what you are getting yourself into, before trying 1700 ft in a few days.

sleepyguy

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Re: DIY Tiling
« Reply #5 on: June 25, 2014, 06:51:33 AM »
I have to agree on both of the above, 18 x 18 tile is gonna be heck of a time to get level on tiles and a pain when you have to remove and put it back down (it suctions down with thinset).

And yes, this project is WAY to big for a first timer.  If it's your first time, try retiling a smaller washroom floor first (don't do the shower stall as that's more advanced).

Goldielocks

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Re: DIY Tiling
« Reply #6 on: July 08, 2014, 12:19:33 AM »
How did it go?

NathanP

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Re: DIY Tiling
« Reply #7 on: July 11, 2014, 10:55:52 AM »
I know that it may be too late for the OP, but I must disagree with paddlehat regarding his suggestion that the OP should cut tiles and lay them concurrently. I have done a project very similar to the OP and use the two stage process where I:

1. Lay all the full field tiles (no cuts)
2. After 24 hours (thinset cured) cut and dryfit all border tiles
3. Lay all cut tiles

The reason I like this approach is that I can cut tiles at my own pace since I am not being hurried by the thinset. I also believe that I can get a more accurate cut as I can put weight on the neighboring tiles and use the two tile trick ( http://www.todayshomeowner.com/video/how-to-cut-border-tile-without-measuring/ ). The only downside to this approach is that you have to remove the inch or two of wet thinset from the tile border where your cut tile will then be placed the next day. This is easily done with the trowel and an old sponge.

I also would recommend that the OP get a cheap "snap" style tile cutter. A majority of your cuts will be straight lines and this tool is much, much faster than using a wet saw. I decided to buy an inexpensive wet saw instead of renting. My saw cannot cut tile as quickly as the pro models, but again I am in no rush since I own the tool. I recently used it again (5 years later) after purchasing a new home.

It is also extremely important to check where your tiles will intersect ALL of the walls in a room. You never want to end up with a small sliver of a tile on the border as this creates an obvious eyesore to show that your walls are not perfectly straight ( they never are! ). It is easy to see a quarter inch difference in width if your last tile line is only a few inches wide. You also want to position your tile in a way to minimize complex tile cuts that will be "L" or "U" shaped. If you are fully committed and enjoy using a wet saw this is less of a concern. As an example, in a standard bathroom I will usually try to put full (no cut) tiles around the corner of the sink cabinet assuming that this will not leave any narrow tile rows on any wall, and will not leave the toilet drain hole in the center of a tile.
« Last Edit: July 11, 2014, 10:59:51 AM by NathanP »

Goldielocks

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Re: DIY Tiling
« Reply #8 on: July 11, 2014, 11:29:31 PM »
I know that it may be too late for the OP, but I must disagree with paddlehat regarding his suggestion that the OP should cut tiles and lay them concurrently. I have done a project very similar to the OP and use the two stage process where I:

1. Lay all the full field tiles (no cuts)
2. After 24 hours (thinset cured) cut and dryfit all border tiles
3. Lay all cut tiles

The reason I like this approach is that I can cut tiles at my own pace since I am not being hurried by the thinset. I also believe that I can get a more accurate cut as I can put weight on the neighboring tiles and use the two tile trick ( http://www.todayshomeowner.com/video/how-to-cut-border-tile-without-measuring/ ). The only downside to this approach is that you have to remove the inch or two of wet thinset from the tile border where your cut tile will then be placed the next day. This is easily done with the trowel and an old sponge.

I also would recommend that the OP get a cheap "snap" style tile cutter. A majority of your cuts will be straight lines and this tool is much, much faster than using a wet saw. I decided to buy an inexpensive wet saw instead of renting. My saw cannot cut tile as quickly as the pro models, but again I am in no rush since I own the tool. I recently used it again (5 years later) after purchasing a new home.

It is also extremely important to check where your tiles will intersect ALL of the walls in a room. You never want to end up with a small sliver of a tile on the border as this creates an obvious eyesore to show that your walls are not perfectly straight ( they never are! ). It is easy to see a quarter inch difference in width if your last tile line is only a few inches wide. You also want to position your tile in a way to minimize complex tile cuts that will be "L" or "U" shaped. If you are fully committed and enjoy using a wet saw this is less of a concern. As an example, in a standard bathroom I will usually try to put full (no cut) tiles around the corner of the sink cabinet assuming that this will not leave any narrow tile rows on any wall, and will not leave the toilet drain hole in the center of a tile.
.
With all due respect, there is no way an 18" tile is ceramic and can be cut with a snap tool. It is porcelain and wet saw is a must, and OP will need several blades for this size.

Getting the tiles of this size flat is difficult, and not cutting as you go and not laying them on a commonly growled thin set makes leveling very difficult.

Although I have not had the tile pop off by back buttering the cut ones after, laying full tile it is very time consuming.
You need to scrape off excess mortar too.

I actually dry fit and cut the tiles, then pick them up and trowel the mortar thinset. Then lay, tap, level and move on.

Large spaces are not too bad, except for the size of these tiles is hatd, but hallways and angles are a nightmare for smaller spaces.  Even with my modest experience, I hired tile setter for my front hall entry and powder room.  He got it level where I would not have. Its where the company really sees the tiles...   I did our master bath after, and took a shortcut by only mostly leveling the walls and floor (one pass at it)and cursed myself after.  In future, only ceramic and /or smaller tiles for me.

I did use epoxy grout for the master bath and loved it.  You must mix in small batches but it did not phosphores, and stays really clean!




NathanP

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Re: DIY Tiling
« Reply #9 on: July 15, 2014, 09:44:16 AM »
As a quick data point I have cut both ceramic and porcelain tiles in 12, 16, and 18 inches sizes with a snap tool. The tool I own is similar to this one ( http://www.lowes.com/pd_163575-81-49195_4294715674__?productId=3290744&Ns=p_product_qty_sales_dollar|1&pl=1&currentURL=%3FNs%3Dp_product_qty_sales_dollar%7C1&facetInfo= )and can cut up to a 20" tile. After reading some of the negative reviews I can see that this is a bit of an art. I would recommend that you go "all in" and really give a firm downward motion on the tool's handle when snapping the tile after scoring. I also use the tool to score the tile to connect two tile saw cuts to make a "U" cut within a tile. A good whack from my palm will then break away the desired portion of the tile.

I will say that I have encountered one 16 inch porcelain tile that was thicker than the tiles I typically use. I tried several times, but was unable to successfully use the snap tool and had to use the tile saw. Tile saws are great, but I don't like using tools that are loud, wet and dirty.

ProfWinkie

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Re: DIY Tiling
« Reply #10 on: July 16, 2014, 02:19:33 PM »
You forgot to list ALEVE. You are going to need it

Spork

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Re: DIY Tiling
« Reply #11 on: August 05, 2014, 08:45:00 AM »

A little late to this but...

I, too, have cut big/little/glazed/unglazed tiles with a snap tool.  (I've never done natural stone tiles...)  They are very effective as long as you're cutting straight lines.  I actually think they're easier on the larger tiles than on the smaller ones... mostly because it's easier to get everything square.

That said: I've also used an inexpensive wet saw... and that is certainly easier (especially on sheets of small tiles) and is almost required when you want to make any kind of non-linear cut-out.  (Some folks are good with nippers.  I am NOT.)

Before you rent a wet saw, I'd actually take a looksie at relatively inexpensive wet saws at the box stores.  I think I paid $200 for a Home Depot branded saw.  It is definitely not something that you'd want to use as a pro.  But if you do 1 tile job a year for life... it's probably fine.   I did my first several tile jobs without one.  If I had it to do over, I would have bought it on that first job.