Laying ceramic tile is not rocket science, but it can be difficult and costly if you don\’t know how to do it properly. Once you are aware of the common mistakes involved with ceramic tile installation, it is easy to avoid those problem areas.
- Not Using Waterproof Adhesive
Your shower/bathroom wall tile is exposed to water, moisture and humidity. Non-waterproof adhesive will decay and crumble, causing problems like lose tiles which will lose its hold on the tile to the wall/floor and likely to cause breakage.
- Not buying enough tiles
Always buy about 10 % more tiles that you’ve estimated for breakage or wastage, or when you need the extra pieces to cut to size. Spare tiles can be kept in case any tiles get damaged in the future.
- Surface Prepping
The surface which you will tile on must be thoroughly clean. Ensure that you fill up any holes or cracks found on the surface or you may end up with an uneven layer. Any wallpaper must be removed and the surface must be sand-down. If you are laying new tiles on top of existing tiles, make sure you clean and dry the old tiles first, then scour them lightly to give a better grip.
- Not doing a dry run and laying tile in the wrong order (floor)
Do a dry run of your tile layout (on the floor) so that you can gauge how much tiles you will need to cut for the tiles that butt up against the wall. ALWAYS lay tiles from the centre of the room outwards to the edge.
- Grid lines, battens and spacers
Grid lines snapped on flooring will help guide your tiling work as it will ensure you’re your tiles are laid correctly. This can also be achieved by two battens (one vertical and one horizontal) placed against a wall. Spacers between tiles on floor layout helps ensure that your tiles are evenly laid-out.
- Mixing the thin-set wrongly
A common mistake done when laying out tiles is when the thin-set is mixed incorrectly. If the mixture is too thin this will actually make it more difficult for the tiles to adhere to the surface on to which they are going to be laid and will often take longer for them to bond together.
If the thin-set is too thick it not only causes problems with actually spreading the mixture but getting, the tile level becomes difficult as well. Read the manufacturers instructions correctly before mixing it and follow the instructions carefully.
- Grouting too quickly and not cleaning excess grout
Always give time for the tile to cure (usually around 24 hours) before grouting. Grout evenly with a damp sponge, working in a small area at a time and remove excess grout before it sets as it will be much more difficult to remove when it is dry. Ensure that the grout is pushed all the way into each gap.