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kitchen splashback tiles

#Tiling a Kitchen Splashback

So, you have decided that you want to have a go at tiling.

If you are fixing standard ceramic tiles on plaster or render walls you can usually use a ready mixed adhesive from a tub. There are two types of ready mixed adhesive that are commonly used: Class B. This is suitable for domestic use in kitchens and bathrooms with limited shower use (although I prefer using it only for kitchens). The other one is Class AA and it is for heavy use on bathroom and communal showers. As you would expect, there is a price difference between the two. When using porcelain, marble, granite, other natural stone, glass, or fully vitrified tiles then check with the supplier that you are getting the right one for the job but generally speaking if you are using a flexible adhesive and appropriate tiling primer it will be good for most situations. Always read the adhesive information to see if it is applicable for your project. Tile Adhesive Page

Fixtures .

If you have a light pelmet fixed under the wall units, it would be better to have them removed and re fitted after the tiling has been done, so that the tile could be placed under rather than cutting around it; it will look a lot nicer.

Protection .

Make sure you protect the worktop, sink, hob and the rest of the surfaces with dust sheets from being damaged by tiles, tools or from tile adhesive. If you have a solid wood worktop make sure is protected, not only for adhesive spillage but also from water or grout otherwise it could stain.

Sizing up the tiles .

Before you do anything else check to see if you have the correct tiles, the correct amount of tiles and if you are using border tiles and/or inserts/decor tiles then check for size variations. This happens often. If there are size variations you will need to take this into account before deciding on what type of spacing is more aesthetically right. What can happen is that you may have started to tile the wall and have a 1.5 mm joint, then you put the border on top and the border being to big, will go out of alignment from the rest of the tiles. Take your time. Try to visualise all the tiles on the wall, as a finished job, then you can foresee any possible problems and avoid them or use a tile layout software.

Nearly ready to tile .

Have a look on the tile's packaging to see if there are special recommendations for spacing the tiles. Different tiles will require different joint sizes. If you use standard ceramic wall tiles you could use 2 mm tile spacers and if you use rustic tiles, 5 - 10 mm spacers. All is relevant to the style and working size of the tiles.

Check for batch difference, and always open several boxes and use few tiles from each box. Check the worktops with a spirit level (Ideally one that is 120 cm or longer); see if the tops are level, if not you might need to space up the lowest section with tile spacers or cardboard.

If the base is too much out of level from one end to the other, then you will need to allow a full tile at the lowest point and then draw a level line at the top of this tile and any tiles that do not fit from the line down to the worktop, will need to be trimmed to size using a tile nippers or wet tile cutter. Many times when you try to draw the line you find that the sockets are in the way. If this happens then instead of using one tile at the lowest point, use two tiles, (one on top of the other and draw the level line at the top of the second tile) that usually works. Don't forget to insert a tile spacer if you are using any. Occasionally you will need a laser level with a continuous projected line or a rotating laser level. This will nicely go around any obstacles.

What adhesive spreading trowel to use.

The thickness of the adhesive should be such that when the tile is in its final place, the adhesive should not squeeze out from the joints. Most times a trowel with 6 mm notches is fine and in general you can use tiles of 10 - 20 cm square.

If mosaic tiles are to be installed then you might need a 3 mm notched trowel and if hand made tiles are to be used, then either use the 6 mm trowel and butter up the back of the tile, or use a 10 mm and above to suit the tiles.

More adhesive will be required if the tiles have a deep profile or studs than if the back is smooth. If there is adhesive squirting out from the tile joints, then use a thin flat screwdriver or Stanley knife to clear the joint and then use a damp cloth or tiling sponge to clean the tiles. It is important not to have the adhesive getting in contact with natural stone (like marble) as it can stain it and then detract from its nice look.

Electrical points.

Undoubtedly you going to have to cut around electrical points (sockets, fuse spurs, cooker switches, light switches, etc.) Make sure that you know where the electric supply is and SWITCH IT OFF. You should be able to isolate the kitchen electricity so that you can still use other sockets around the house.

Tiling tools.

There are plenty of DIY tiling tools on the market that allow you to carry out tiling on a small budget. If you are using thin ceramic tiles then a tiling starter kit can help you. Here is what you will need for an average job

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