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What Are the Best Tips for Installing DIY Tiling?

When installing tiles, grout should sit for 72 hours or longer after being applied for it to completely dry.
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  • Written By: Dan Cavallari
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 09 October 2014
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A homeowner has countless options for creating various types of surfaces in kitchens, bathrooms, or on floors throughout the home. One common choice is tiling, which features ceramic or stone tiles of various sizes that are essentially glued to a solid surface. The tiles are relatively durable, attractive, and easy to clean, though DIY tiling projects do take some time and effort to ensure a good finished product. First and foremost, a DIY tiling project will require the proper tools and materials, which will often be dictated by the location in which the tiles will be installed as well as the size of the tiles themselves.

It is best to choose the tiles first, as the rest of the tools and supplies will depend on this determination. Tiles can be chosen by thinking carefully about the location within the home that the DIY tiling project will focus on. Be sure to consider whether the tiles are likely to get wet frequently, as this may have an impact on the size of the tiles as well as the type of grout used in between tiles. Make sure to choose materials that are water-resistant if they will be used in bathrooms or kitchens.

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Before starting the DIY tiling project, it is a good idea to prepare the surface on which the tiles will be installed. In some cases, a fiber board known as backer board may need to be installed to provide an adequate surface to which the tiles can adhere. Backer board can be installed on floors or walls, and the seams between the sections of board will need to be sealed and sanded before any tiles are installed. This will prevent the tiles from loosening or dislodging entirely from their places, and it will help avoid unevenness in the tiles once they are laid.

Grout lines are an integral part of any DIY tiling project, not only for aesthetic appeal, but also for durability: grout prevents moisture and dirt from getting beneath the tiles and potentially causing damage. In order to get straight grout lines, it is a good idea to buy small plastic spacers that can be placed intermittently between each tile. These spacers are cross-shaped and sit easily between tiles to ensure they don't move before or during the application of grout. They are then removed once the grout has been pressed in between the tiles and are reusable if they are kept clean.

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