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Choosing Tiles

When choosing either floor or wall tiles, close attention should always be paid to the tone or batch number on the sides of the boxes. Tiles from different batches or with different tone numbers can differ greatly in color and often are different enough that they will look odd if laid next to each other. While the staff of specialist tile stores will tend to know about this already and will usually check for you, DIY stores and the like may not, and so matching batch numbers or a check to make sure that the tiles are acceptably similar is always a must.

If you have your heart set on a particular tile and different batch numbers are all that is available, the best course of action is to open all the boxes and mix the tiles that you are using as you go along. This will diminish any effect that the different colors may have on the overall appearance and will ensure that you don't have patches of different colors that you might get from working through single boxes.

Natural Stone Tiles

When using natural white stone tiles such as Travertine or Marble, a white adhesive should always be used rather than a standard grey adhesive. The reason for this is purely that natural stone tiles are porous and that they will absorb whatever adhesive they are laid with. Standard grey adhesive can tend to bleed through to the surface of the tiles, ruining the color.

When using uncalibrated tiles, ie tiles that don't have a uniform standard thickness such as slate or travertine, alway ensure that you use the thickest tiles in the centre of the room. The reason for this is that thinner tiles towards th edges can be built up with extra adhesive for a level finish. Thinner tiles in the centre will inevitably cause an uneven finish as thicker tiles at the edges will be higher than the centre.

Similarly starting in the centre of a room is advisable in order to create a uniform appearance to the floor. Starting in one corner as many first timers will tend to do is always a bad idea as it tends to create one wall entirely of cuts and another of whole tiles, ruining the symmetry of the room. Very often if a job is  done precisely, single cuts tiles can be used on either side of the room meaning less spares are needed.

Tools and Adhesives

If attempting a tiling job yourself, always ensuring that you have the right tools for the job is essential. For example the trowel used to applying adhesives will differ greatly dependent on the type and thickness of the tile being used. Spacers similarly are dependent on the size of the tiles being used, with bigger spacers obviously being needed for bigger tiles. Floor tiles will require different tools to wall tiles and depending on how many cuts you have, there are several different tools available for making cuts and alterations to tiles.

Using the right adhesive is essential for any tiling job. While wall adhesives are largely standardized other than when using natural stone tiles, floor adhesives also take into account the sub-floor that they are being applied to. For tiling onto a wooden sub-floor for example, a flexible adhesive is needed which allows for  the fact that there is slight give in the floor. More rigid adhesives will eventually crack under this slight give.

When tiling in an area such as a kitchen or bathroom, mould can often become a problem over time with standard grout. Fortunately there are now grouts on the market that contain antimicrobial properties, which ensure that mould and germs are kept at bay.

Cuts and Breakages

To ensure that you have enough tiles for any particular job, be sure to buy an extra ten percent than you need to allow for cuts and breakages. This ensures not only that you can finish the job in one go but that you aren't forced to then purchase spares that you might have to order in and wait for, or that might of from a different batch.

When buying certain brands of tiles close attention should be paid to the size of the tiles. Several companies will tend to make their tiles different to industry standard sizes so that in order to replace any, you are forced to buy from them again rather than finding a close approximation. This might not sound so bad however once the particular range is discontinued by the supplier, tiles of the same size will be impossible to find. Industry standard sizes therefore are generally always a better way to go.