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The Troubles of Laying Tile

Ceramic and porcelain tile setups are usually shown as easy on reality TV remodel shows and in redesigning guidebooks. Nevertheless, this is one that absolutely falls into the category of home remodeling tasks that look easier than they are.

Bottom Line

Laying tile is easy however laying tile and doing it well is difficult. From that angle, it might make more sense to hire an expert tiler than to do it yourself.

One method to approach it is to work with the pro for the most visible areas if you’re attempting to save cash. You can do your own tilework in rooms that are less frequented.

One issue for do-it-yourselfers is that it is challenging to reverse tilework, should you make an error. Thinset mortar enables some repositioning. Thinset will also rearrange your tile for you, particularly in the case of vertical wall tile.

Some tilework is simpler to manage on an amateur basis, too. This guide aims to reveal you what’s harder, what’s easier, and some tricks for making the job go smoother.

Easier Tilework

Jobs that tend to be much easier and the themes that revolve around them:

  • Dry locations: Locations where leak might happen are harder, involving unique support material and grout-sealing. Showers, particularly, can be maddening for the amateur tiler to make totally water resistant.
  • Floors vs. walls: Slippage is one thing you are always combating with tilework on walls.
  • Backsplashes that are more decorative than functional.Tile in the 4″ to 12″ range: Smaller tiles, specifically mosaics, shift around a lot– even if that mosaic is connected to mesh.
  • Utilizing adhesive tile mats (though this has very limited usages).
  • Ceramic and porcelain tile vs. stone tile: Stone tile is heavy to deal with and tough to cut.

One idea is to begin your amateur tiling profession with the most out of the way location possible in order to sharpen up your abilities.

Tiling Difficulties


  • Dry thinset mortar is cheap, but it is also challenging to mix. The service is to purchase pre-mixed mortar. While significantly more expensive, pre-mixed thinset saves you from the stress of getting water-to-thinset measurements right. Plus, mixing up dry thinset is physically challenging.
  • Your tile work is only as good as your substrate or subfloor. Your tile will not lie flat if you do not have an excellent subfloor. Lippage will occur– adjoining tile edges that are not the same height. Even worse, a base flooring that is not solid enough will eventually trigger the tile to crack.
  • Boundary tiles will require to be cut. You can use either a damp tile saw or what is typically colloquially called a snap tile cutter for this. More likely, you will want to use both kinds of tile-cutting tools. If you happen to have any bad cuts, you can place them so that the rough cut falls under a baseboard or under a cabinet toe kick overhang.
  • Even tiles within the boundary can be hard. They do not automatically fall under straight lines: you need to enforce this.
  • Laying tiles on a diagonal. Diagonal tile cutting can be an aggravating experience for the newbie tiler.
  • Spacing tiles correctly is tough. Be sure to utilize plastic tile spacers to enforce the appropriate range. While spacers are a discomfort to eliminate, they ensure perfect spacing of tile seams.
  • Constantly being on your knees on a tough surface area can affect the quality of your work. For this reason alone it is worth purchasing an affordable set of tiler’s knee pads.

Thinset will also reposition your tile for you, particularly in the case of vertical wall tile.

Even even worse, a base flooring that is not solid enough will eventually cause the tile to fracture.
Perimeter tiles will need to be cut. You can utilize either a wet tile saw or what is typically informally called a breeze tile cutter for this. Be sure to use plastic tile spacers to impose the appropriate distance.

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