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DIY Project in Focus – How to plan tiling a room

Our home is essentially how people build an opinion of us; with that being said we need to ensure it is in tip top condition. There are many home improvement jobs and DIY tasks we can take on to create our own personal haven.

Tiling or re-tiling any room in the home such as the kitchen and bathroom is a very worthwhile improvement, and in fact it can be done by a ‘DIYer’ with a little bit of experience in the home improvement industry. Today I will explain how to plan tiling a room.

For the purpose of this article we will assume that it is a bathroom that you will be tiling, the tips are relevant to tiling kitchens or any other rooms.

Preparation

As with any DIY job you attempt preparation is key, when tiling walls you must ensure that the surface your tiling on too is technically sound/level  and will hold the tiles, the last thing you want is tiles falling off the walls weeks after you have completed the job!

The main culprit is plaster that has blown and is now crumbling off the wall.  If in doubt remove all the blown plaster and then make the decision as to whether the room would benefit from being re-skimmed, or over-boarded.  If you are not tiling the whole room and want to paint some of the walls re-skimming may be beneficial; it will give the room lovely fresh walls that will look perfect with a new coat of paint.

If your walls are good, or if you have had them newly plastered or over boarded you will definitely need to prime them, traditionally this was done using a mixture of PVA and water, nowadays however there are many Primers available to buy specifically for use with Tiles.  Priming helps remove dust and gives the surface a key for the adhesive to grab on to.

To do a good job you need good tools.  Make a list of everything you will need, the last thing you want is to get the job started and realise you have forgotten a trowel or sponge.  Remember as well buying the cheapest tool is not always advisable and can end up costing you time and ultimately money.  Invest in some good quality tools and you will find the job will be done with a lot more ease.

Design

A common mistake that people make is to instantly decide to tile the whole room, whilst this looks great it is not always needed.  Any wet areas such as round the bath and shower cubicles must be tiles, but does that wall with nothing on it really need tiling or could it be painted? Having a wall that is painted is great as should you wish to change the look of a room quickly a new coat of paint and matching accessories can work wonders and can be done on a budget.

Following on from the above, do you want a nice neutral looking room that can be accessorised easily or are you going to go all out with a striking bold design scheme? Remember you have to live with this for a long time after investing you your time and money!

Think about a plain tile and maybe a mosaic feature border or wall to break it up.  There are literally thousands of tiles out there.  Most tile shops will allow you to have samples; some even have software that you can use to see how different tiles will look in your room.

Planning

A common mistake people make when tiling a room is not taking the planning stage seriously before they start.  Firstly remember nothing is rarely level so deciding to start with a room of tiles straight of the floor or the bath can mean you end up with tiles running off at angles very quickly and the more rows you do the worse this will get.  Put a spirit level on everything, and if in doubt pin some batons on your wall to tile off.

As a general rule of thumb you never want to have less that 1/5th of a tile as a cut anywhere in the room, so measure both vertically and horizontally and find the point in the room where once you start out you end up with nice chunky cuts, remember what works out well on one wall will not necessarily work on the adjacent walls.

Windows are a key feature of any room so bear these in mind when setting out, it always looks nice if you can have the same size cut all round a window; aim to achieve a look that makes the window seem framed by the tiles.

Tile Choice

There are thousands of tiles on the market; it can be great fun choosing the tiles for your job.  As mentioned before you should be able to get samples to take home, what looks great in a well-lit showroom may not look so good in your tiny bathroom.  Tiles can help make a room look bigger and give the illusion of space.  Everyone’s taste is different but remember again it’s a job you don’t do very often so a little research, time and effort can go a long way.

Tiles come made out of many different materials. The cheapest and easiest to work with option is Ceramic, once fitted they do not need any maintenance and can cleaned using regular cleaning products.  Porcelain, Marble, Limestone, slate are all Natural Stones, these are harder to work with and require yearly maintenance.  I would be advisable to consult a specialist tiler if you are thinking of using natural stone.

Written by Ross Herring

Hello! I'm Ross and I am a Marketing Assistant at Eurofit Direct. I manage our social media outlets and also contribute to the blog where possible, sharing the technical knowledge of our on-site experts with all of our readers. You can also find me on twitter here.