A kitchen is the centre of your home, and keeping that space fresh can be a real challenge. If you aren’t in the market for a new kitchen in stoke, or anywhere else in the UK, then the next best thing is likely going to be changing your kitchen’s tiles. But even this can be a high-cost improvement to your home.
Like many skilled trades, the majority of the end cost of getting your kitchen tiled is the labour cost, which can make up as much as two-thirds of your final bill. How can you keep that cost down? Taking on the task of tiling your kitchen yourself is the best solution, but shouldn’t be something you should tackle without planning and confidence.
In this quick guide, we will cover the basics, start to finish to ensure you get the best end result.
Step 1. Selecting Your Tiles & Tiling Area
There is a huge range of styles and finishes available when it comes to tiles now. Before you even start to think about buying tiles you need to be confident in what you will enjoy for years to come. It’s often best to stick with more neutral colours that will blend in well and remain timeless for the maximum amount of time.
Then you must consider the area you wish to tile. You may want to replace any existing tiles along with separate splashbacks or upstands. The total height of the tiles themselves is another area that you will want to carefully consider before proceeding.
Measure your total square footage based on your required measurements, then add around 10% to this to account for waste while laying the tiles. If you decide to lay in the herringbone (at opposing diagonals) style you will need more than 15%.
Step 2. Get Your Equipment & Tiles Ready
If you’re tiling for the first time then there is a great deal of equipment you will require to get an ideal finish. Before you start the job ensure you have the following:
- Kitchen Tiles – Ensure you have checked these for breaks once purchased
- Tile Adhesive
- Grout Float
- Tile Cutter – This can be manual but a wet cutter is best if you have access to one
- Tile Edging – Measure the exposed portion of the top and sides of your tiles
- Tile Spacers
- Clear Silicon
Step 3. Prepare Your Kitchen Area
Likely the most frequent mistake for amateur tilers. The preparation and laying out of your new tiles is crucial, so spend a good amount of time and don’t rush any aspect.
Firstly you need to remove your existing tiles and any other elements such as splashbacks and upstands. Once removed it’s essential to remove all adhesive from the surface and get your walls clean and level. Ensure you clean up the residual dust as you move along to make your job tiling easier.
At this stage, you will also want to use a level to ensure your walls are flat. Often around window sills and sinks, you may find it has bowed slightly over time. If you don’t notice this before you start laying you may find your tiles bow in the same fashion.
You will also want to pick your starting point, which is often best done in the centre of the biggest wall so they are laid to be symmetrical. If you are tiling the splashback this is often the ideal centre point.
Step 4. Begin Tiling
Once you’ve decided your starting point you can begin laying tiles. Start with a thick layer of tile adhesive, ensuring the whole back of the tile is covered evenly, as you move across bowed or any other uneven areas use more adhesive to make up the difference.
It’s best to work knowing that the tiles can be moved once on the wall. It’s best to place it evenly on the wall and then make adjustments with a slight slide of the tile. Use the tile spacers to ensure your gaps are even, with one spacer on each side of every tile including below the bottom row.
When it comes to cutting tiles ensure when trimming to fit a wall’s edge that you leave a gap for grout in between. Where you need to cut for plug sockets ensure that you are leaving enough room to screw the covers back on.
Continue to work through lay all your tiles, then begin adding your edging. The tiles will then need to sit for at least 24 hours before you proceed with grouting.
Step 5. Grouting & Finishing
Once the tile adhesive has set you can begin grouting. Mix your grout and then work quickly, the grout sets rapidly so it’s important to cover the complete area. Apply a small amount to your grout float and then work down and across. You will remove excess later and grout is easily removed from tiles themselves.
Once the grout is applied and even you can begin tidying up. Using a slightly damp sponge and microfibre cloth tidy up the grout, using this method you can both remove the excess and even out the ridges of the grout to get that professional finish.
Your grout will need at the very least 24 hours to dry and up to a week to be fully ready for sealing. Following this add to your waterproofing with a layer of clear silicon around the base of the work top, which will dry fairly quickly and ensure your tiles will be around for years to come.