How to put up Mosaic Tiles

A mosaic tile offers quite a unique style when compared with a conventionally patterned tile, and is a way of giving the walls behind a bathroom suite a different look. 

If you wish to put up mosaic tiles as a splashback instead of covering the wall completely, you must first mark the points on the wall where the tiles are to finish.  A splashback is most easily done when it is the height of a full mosaic tile sheet.  Of course, this step is not required if the wall is to be fully covered.    

The next step is to spread tile adhesive on the wall with a spreader.  The spreader must be notched and held at a 45-degree angle as it is dragged across the adhesive.  This is to make sure the ridges in the adhesive have an equal depth.  Adhesive must be applied after every two to four sheets of tiles, especially if one person is doing the job.  This is to eliminate the possibility of the adhesive drying before the tiles are put up on the wall.   

If you are creating a splashback pattern, you should put the first sheet of mosaic tile at one end of the wall.  If the entire wall is to be covered, the best place to lay the first sheet of tile is in a bottom corner.  The tile sheet must be tight up against the edges.  A spirit level should be used to ensure the tiles are put up properly.  A small piece of wood can be used to adjust the tiles.

Grouting can be carried out after at least 24 hours.  A spreader with a rubber edge can be used to distribute the grout, which should be waterproof.  Excess grout should be cleared away as you go and after the grout has set, the lines can be neatened with a shaper.

You can get all of the supplies needed to tile your bathroom from various suppliers including UK Bathrooms.


DIY Tips – Tiling corners

The real problem when it comes to tiling internal corners is that they are often not perfectly square.  This means that tiles have to be cut away slightly to allow for the geometric defects in walls.  A convenient way of doing this is to measure the gap at the bottom and the top and use this result to angle the cut for the tiles.

Another method is to place the tile you are about to cut on top of the last whole tile in a row, and hold a third whole tile on top of this with one of its edges pressed into the corner.  Then you can use the top tile’s opposite edge to draw the line of the necessary cut.

External corner tiling is also complicated by the fact that walls are typically not perfectly square.  The problem with external corner tiling, however, is a bit trickier than with internal corners.  This is because you need to hide the unglazed edges of the cut tiles.

The way to achieve this is to cover one wall with the tiles cut to fit in the normal way.  The cut tiles which then start the other wall are then placed so that they overlap those on the first one.  The exposed cut edge is then covered with tiling grout.  The finish can be made even neater if you begin the second wall with whole edging tiles.  However, the walls have to be perfectly vertical in order to do this, which is usually not the case.


Re-grouting Bathroom Tiles

Over time grout gets damaged, mildews and gives your bathroom an unappealing, grubby look. Making the effort to re-grout will refresh the room’s appearance without the expense of a complete remodelling.

To remove the old grout, use a specialist grout saw (also called a grout raker) along the grooves, taking care not to scratch the tiles. The strong carbide tip will grind off the material. For the finer areas, use a Stanley knife or a chisel to dig away at the grout. Wipe away and vacuum any debris, as any loose pieces that remain will interfere with the application of the new grout.

The grout should be mixed according to the instructions on the packet. If you are only re-grouting a section of your bathroom, try to use a colour that matches the original. Dampen, but do not soak, the joints slightly with a sponge. Then, using a grout spreader, press the grout all over the edges of the tiling. Be firm so that that all the space in the joints is filled. Remove the excess grout from the tiles and wipe the surface with a sponge. Run a specialist grout shaper along the joints to ensure they are filled and to smooth the grout. If you use your fingers you are unlikely to get a uniform final result. To prevent water damage and mildew use, spray on a grout sealant after the grout has dried.


Wall Tiling – Applying the First Tiles

When tiling a wall, it is important to ensure that each tile is aligned correctly.  This should be based on the vertical and horizontal mid points of the wall.  It is advisable to fix wooden vertical and horizontal guides to the wall and align the edges of the tiles against these.  The rods should be a few centimetres shorter than both width and lengths of the walls.  They should also sit against the vertical and horizontal lines that are marked on the wall after finding the mid points.

When fixing the rods or battens to the wall, you might consider screwing them as this gives better support for the tiles.  You should also screw the battens at regular intervals.

Applying Adhesive

The adhesive may be supplied dry, in a packet that needs to be made up.  If so, you should calculate the amount required by following the manufacturer’s guidance notes.

Once the adhesive has been mixed to the correct consistency, use a special tile trowel to apply it.  You can purchase these from any good DIY store.  The teeth on the trowel are designed to create ridges in the adhesive, which help the tiles grip more effectively.

Start tiling at the point where the vertical and horizontal battens intersect.  When applying the adhesive, ensure that you do not skimp and that the layer is of a constant thickness.

Only cover a small area at a time as this keeps tiling manageable.  As a suggestion, cover an area about two or three tiles square or long.  Finally, press each tile firmly onto the adhesive.


DIY Tips – Cutting Tiles

What you need most when cutting tiles is confidence.  Have a few basic tile-cutting tools ready, prepare the area and be calm and collected when marking the cuts.  Cutting tiles often inspires unnecessary terror in a DIY novice and there is no particular reason for it.

Making perfectly straight lines on the slippery surface of the tile is crucial.  This is best achieved by using a tiler’s spike or other tile-cutting tool.  You must make sure, when scoring these lines that the cut penetrates the glazing; this goes for the edges as well as the face of the tile.

Place the tile on a solid, flat surface, with the glazed side facing up, make the scores and place a pencil or matchsticks under the line of the cut.  Press down evenly and firmly on each side until the tile snaps along the line.

If you are cutting a large number of tiles it is advisable purchase a tile-cutting tool of some description.  They are available in a wide range of models, from basic hand held to electric, but most will have some facility for snapping the tile.

When you are fitting tiles around fixtures and fittings things get a little trickier, as you will have to make a cut in the shape of an ‘L’ rather than a straight line, so you cannot simply snap it along the score line.  In this case, use a pair of pincers or pliers to nibble away at the area to be removed and use a file to finish off the edges.  You can also use a tile special tile-cutting blade, fitted into a hacksaw frame, to make more complicated shapes, such as circles or triangles.


Bathroom Floor Design

If you are building a new bathroom for your home or even simply remodelling an old one, one question that is inevitably going to result is that of the bathroom floor design. Most people are going to choose a design that is both hygienic and easy to maintain in a good condition, so it is fortunate that there are several affordable options which fulfil both criteria quite admirably.

The most popular kind of bathroom flooring is of course bathroom tiles. The most common forms of bathroom tiles are ceramic tiles which make the floor both even and firm beneath the feet, with the added advantage of being very easy to clean and also maintaining a glossy and fresh appearance for many years after their actual installation.

Installing ceramic tiles into your bathroom will involve a considerable degree of effort – since the floor has to be grouted and the tiles set – but the end result is guaranteed to impress and satisfy. The next most popular form of bathroom tiles are laminated tiles. As with ceramic tiles, laminated tiles create an even floor that is easy to maintain and keep clean and is also generally water tight. They are relatively cheap to buy and unlike the ceramic type, also very easy to install since the majority of available laminated tiles come with adhesive backing to begin with, making the installation process fast and simple. There are other kinds of bathroom floor design – such as marble and wood – but tiles are by far the most popular option in use today.


Cutting Ceramic Tiles

Ceramic tiles sometimes need to be cut or trimmed to fit alongside the edge of a tiled wall or around sinks or pipes. 

Straight Cuts

Measure and mark the position of the cut on the tile, being sure to make an allowance for the grout line.  The tile should be scored along the cut line with a tile cutter, using a straight edge for guidance.  It should then be held firmly over a small batten of wood and snapped along the cut line.  If there are a large number tiles to be cut, it may be easier to use a cutting jig or electric tile cutter.

Curved or L-Shaped Cuts

If a tile has to fit around a pipe or sink, it may need to be cut to a curve.  The tile should first be scored along the line of the curve, using a tile cutter and then the section that needs to be removed must be trimmed off with a pair of pincers or cut with a tile saw.  If a tile needs to fit around a switch-plate, it may need to have an L-shaped piece trimmed out and for this the same procedure as for a curved cut is used.

Awkward Shaped Cuts

If a tile has to be cut in an awkward shape, it is best to use an electric jigsaw fitted with a tile-cutting blade.  While it is being cut it must to be supported on a firm surface to prevent it from chipping or breaking.


How To Cut Tiles

When tiling around your kitchen sink or bathroom you are inevitably going to reach a point when you will need to cut your tiles, whether this is to finish the edges, tile around taps and pipes or to butt up against mouldings.


There are a couple of ways you can make sure your cut tile fits.  The easiest cut is a straight line; here you simply hold the tile back to front in the gap you intend to fill allowing for grouting and mark off the cut line.

Cutting Straight Lines

Using a sharp tile cutter and a straight edge, score the line in one smooth motion. Place the tile on top of a thin lathe of wood or two used matches to slightly raise it up and apply downward pressure to crack the tile.

Cutting Round Corners and Curves

Make a paper template for awkward shapes and use a lead pencil or china graph pencil to mark the cut line. You can then score a line across the curve and using pliers nibble out the excess tile to create the curve. Alternatively you can use a tile saw to manually cut around the shape or an electric saw fitted with a tile cutting blade will allowing you to follow the required shape effortlessly.

If you use a saw – either manual or especially electric – make sure the tile is properly supported as they can be easily broken by the vibrations and stresses from the saw.


Why Build a Wet Room?

A wet room is a tiled room which is completely water tight. Many wet rooms have walk-in baths, showers with seats and even access for wheelchairs. However, this is not something that is only suitable for disabled people. Wet rooms are becoming more and more fashionable and popular, and many modern houses are being built to include them.

When considering the possibility of installing a wet room there are several factors to be considered.  It is important to make sure that the floor is strong enough to hold the weight of tiles, etc. Reinforcement may be required. The drainage system must be placed away from the door so that water does not seep underneath, ventilation needs to be sufficient to clean any condensation and the floor must be made of non slip tiles.

There are various options when it comes to choosing bathroom fittings for a wet room and the room does not have to be completely open. A shower screen may be fitted to stop everything in the room getting wet when the shower is in use and the addition of a wall hung toilet will make it very easy to keep clean and hygienic.

Remodelling an old bathroom and making it into a purpose built wet room will make using the bathroom a much more enjoyable experience and the choice of tiles and fittings is huge. A properly built waterproofed wet room will stay looking good for much longer than an ordinary bathroom and if it is installed as a second bathroom, it will also add a large amount to the value of your home.


Floor Tiling for Beginners

If that vinyl covering on the bathroom or kitchen floor has seen better days, give the room a boost with some gorgeous new floor tiles. Don’t panic – this isn’t major property development; it’s just good old DIY, hardly more taxing than a spot of painting and decorating. No plastering, no building and no architects will be required!

Find the mid-point of the two longest and the two shortest walls and chalk straight lines between them, ensuring that they cross at right angles (tweak the mid-point of one of the walls if they don’t).

Start by tiling loosely along the two lines to check they look OK from the doorway. Nudge the lines again if necessary to make the gaps at the edges at least half a tile width. Tiles should be symmetrically laid around features like French windows or fireplaces, so another line shift may be necessary.

Start along the longest line from the intersection, spreading a square metre of grout at a time and scraping it with the notched trowel. Check that the tiles sit squarely with the other line and gently press them into place, slipping plastic spacers into each corner. Keep going with whole tiles until you’ve almost reached the edges, working out from the centre (use a spirit level to make sure they’re sitting evenly). Leave to dry for 24 hours and cut the edge tiles to size, allowing a further 12 hours for drying. After you’ve sealed the surface (leave 2 hours to dry), grout between the tiles, cleaning the excess with a damp sponge as you go. Finito!