Five top tips for tiling

A man measuring up for tiles in the bathroom. Picture: PA Photo/thinkstockphotos.
A man measuring up for tiles in the bathroom. Picture: PA Photo/thinkstockphotos.

Fancy trying your hand at tiling? Here are five top tips.

1. Tiles come in various shapes, sizes and materials, and it’s important to get ones that suit the style and function of the room you’re tiling, as well as your budget. Often an affordable option, ceramic and porcelain tiles are popular because they’re easy to lay and care for. Glass tiles are also low maintenance and look fantastic, but they tend to be expensive. As are many stone tiles (slate, marble and limestone etc) which are often higher maintenance and can vary a lot in thickness, colour and texture, so they’re not for everyone.

2. Mosaic tiles are available in lots of different materials and are ideal for a feature wall or splashback, but they’re rarely cheap. They can be hard to keep looking good, depending on where they are and the colour of the grout, because there are so many grout lines compared to larger tiles. Mosaics aren’t the most practical option as a cooker or hob splashback, for example, especially if the grout’s pale.

3. If you’re buying tiles online that you haven’t seen in person, make sure you get a sample first because you could end up with tiles you don’t like that are expensive to return. Of course, you may prefer to buy tiles in store, where you can see what you’re getting. Another advantage of buying in store is that you can ensure all the tiles come from the same batch (as long as there’s a batch number on the boxes), so they’re exactly the same colour and finish.

4. To work out the number of tiles required, multiply the length by the height of each wall or part wall to be tiled (minus the area of any doors, windows, etc.) and add them together to get the total area, plus around 10% more for breakages and wastage. Lots of tiles are sold per square metre and even if they’re not, it should say what the price is per square metre - this is the easiest way to work out the cost.

5. Don’t forget to factor in the cost of the tile adhesive and grout, tools, spacers and other accessories. The adhesive and grout must be suitable for where you’re tiling (not all can be used in showers, for example) and the sort of tiles you’re using. The grout can make almost as much of a style statement as the tiles themselves, as the colour of the grout can make a big difference to the finished look, so don’t decide on the grout as an afterthought. You can get an idea of how grout changes the appearance of tiles at www.tilegiant.co.uk, which also has a visualiser, where you can see how different tiles look in a room set.