Tile installation around the bath

Posted on March 28, 2009

Tile installation around the bathIt may seem strange but it’s really easy to lay ceramic tile around the bath. You need patience, common sense and the ability to make something by your own hands.

What to do first?

Obviously you should start from measuring each wall. Measure the height and the width of every vertical wall, then multiply the width by the height and you will get an area for each wall. If you are going to use the decorative finishing profile, then you should measure and write down the height of the external wall edge along the bath. Profile is tile with one rounded edge for refinishing. Tile for laying is bought in square meters; profiles and other decorations are bought in pieces and running meters. Tile should be taken at a rate 5% more than the calculated quantity for a change of defective or broken tile. Check for sure that all tiles have the same color, signs in the form of letters and numbers indicate this.

While choosing the tile, think of adding different colored and patterned tile for the total area of the wall. It will help you to make your laying more attractive and will give an expressive view.

Before starting the work, be sure that your bath is protected enough from possible damages during the work. You can cover the whole bath with a polymer film and fix it in some places with an adhesive tape. Water taps and pipes are protected with a help of cardboard tubes.

Surface preparation for tile laying

2If you build a house, especially a wooden one, and there is a possibility to choose the foundation for tile laying, you` d better choose a cement slab. Do not use a plywood as a foundation for tile. The place around the bath is constantly exposed to moisture influence, and in rather big quantity. Cement slabs are easy to buy in specialty stores for floor materials. They can be of different size and thickness. Slabs of a size 90 cm × 150 cm and thickness 12 mm are used more frequently.

In order to cut a cement slab, put some lines by a pencil, make cuts with a special knife or saw and snap off a piece of a necessary size.

If you are going to paste tiles with a help of glue of mastic type, then you should use a plane surface of a cement slab. If you are going to lay ceramic tiles with a help of a building mortar, made of a Portland cement mix, then it’s better to make a front face an uneven surface of a slab. Be sure to leave spaces of a size about 3 mm between all slabs.

For installation of a cement slab to the wall you should follow all recommendations of a manufacturer. Usually for the installation of a cement slab to the wall it is recommended to use special screws. Screws should be placed every 15-20 cm. Keep in mind that a cement slab is used not for a wall construction strengthening. It is used to put a pasting layer for tile installation. After the slab is installed, be sure that it is fixed firm, otherwise tile will crack and break.

Before installation paste all joints between cement slabs with a tape. In stores you can find a special tape made from glass fiber, which is set in rolls and has a pasting layer in the opposite side for pasting to a cement desk.

Tile installation

4So, now everything is ready for a dry installation of cement tile. Put one row of tile along every wall (without gluing). It will help to choose the best laying variant, where in joint places on neighboring walls there will be no narrow cut strips of a stone tile. If tile has a width less than 2,5 cm at the end of a row, it’s better to cut a part of tile in the beginning of a row, than to cut tile for narrow strips and fit them. Believe that trying to cut narrow tile strips is a useless work and you will have many tiles cracked. Make some marks on the wall with a pencil, where there will be the first and the last tiles in a row. Using a plumb line (a cord with a load) put vertical lines which will indicate a right direction of vertical tile rows.

3These lines will also help you during work by moving upwards of the wall. With a help of a plumb line you may define unevenness of a slab before laying starts and correct where it’s necessary. Make this operation moving along all walls. Keep in mind that tile rows should never finish at the place where there is a joint of a cement slab.

It is considered that tile is easier to lay by small parts. By means of a rule (a testing ruler) and chalky lines put on the surface of a cement slab, divide the whole wall into small parts. Mark an area with a height equal to 4-6 tiles. For such area it’s convenient to put glue or cement mortar. Use a rule and a level for a constant check of accuracy in tile laying. In case if tile rows start to “gather”, it’s easier to adjust tile both by width and height.

An adjustment is made by means of careful increase or decrease of joints width

5For tile laying use mastic for walls of a high quality, as it simplifies the work for a non-professional. During work in a separate small area you do not need to do all types of work at once. But do not take a large area, laying tiles on the wall in a hurry. If you observe excess of glue, take a pallet, scrape them off and remove.

Mastic manufacturers point out in the manual, what toothed scraper suits more for putting this glue. Be sure that glue can be used for tile laying on vertical surfaces. Glue for a wall tile should strongly and quickly grab in order the neighbor tiles would not “slip” when you are putting the next tile. Tiles should be firmly pressed to the bonding solution. Hit on tile surface from time to time and listen to the sound in order to check if glue filled the space under the tile completely. In order to lay tile more tight, move tile slightly forward-backward after pressing into glue. (Do not try too hard; you can press out all glue through joints). It will make you sure that tile surely “sat down” into the glue.

For cleaning from glue, which got into the space of a tile joint, use a thin wooden stick or a plastic pallet of thickness 2,5 cm.

You should put glue on the surface of a cement slab with a help of a scraper with an appropriate size. A scraper should have a saw-toothed edge. A tooth enables to distribute glue by even “crests”. It is usually recommended slightly to incline a scraper. Never distribute glue with a smooth scraper or a smooth side of a toothed scraper. When teeth in a scraper become worthless, stop work and take a new one. To change a scraper is cheaper than tile because of a low quality of work. Buy scrapers of a high quality and always hold them at hand. Check more often whether teeth wore out.

As you will lay tile, a part of glue can grab on the tile surface. Hold a bucket with warm water and a sponge always at hand. As you finish tile installation in a small area, damp the sponge and wipe glue rests from the tile surface. Do it carefully in order not to move the laid tile. Rinse and wring out the sponge more frequently; wipe the tile surface only well-wrung wet sponge.

In order to cut tile, make the marks on it before putting glue. With a help of a tape measure, a pencil and one or two tiles, mark that tile area, which should be cut. In order to round pipes, use benders for stone tile, snapping off small pieces of tile step-by-step. You can buy tile cutters in special instrument stores.

6In order to cut straight tile pieces or to cut tiles in two use a tile-cutter. With its help tiles are cut easier and more accurately, and the edges become planer. At first a line is drawn on the tile surface, by which tile will be cut. Then you should press a device’s handle and under pressure influence tile will easily split in two parts by the drawn line. A tile-cutter can be rented for tile laying period.
After tile was laid, glue should get dry within 24 hours.

Tile floating

If you work with wall tile with very small spaces for floating, use grouting not containing sand. A grouting which contains sand is usually used for floor tile which should be laid with wider spaces between tiles. Add a latex solution (“latex milk”) into the grouting. Some people can advise to dissolve a latex half with water in order to save money. Do not do this! Use an additive namely of that concentration which a manufacturer recommends. A latex additive gives a grouting an additional strength of adhesion and elasticity. An additive makes the cleaning-up more difficult, but finally increases life span of a coating. Mix a grouting and an additive according to the instruction and stir them carefully. It’s necessary to keep the mixture for some minutes before the usage.

A grouting is spread on tile surface with a help of a special rubber slick. A slick must be held angularly and moved diagonally on tile surface. In such a method a grouting is filling the spaces better. Be sure that all spaces are completely filled with a grouting. When you finish with floating of a wall under the bath, the place where you started your work will be ready for cleaning. Read for sure the instruction on the packing with a grouting mixture concerning its usage.

Finishing strokes

To scour tile is boring but easy. Prepare a bucket with clean warm water and a big sponge. Wring out the sponge and start wiping completely all the walls. Hold the sponge always at an angle of 45 degrees to tile joints. Never wipe parallel to joints. It will enable to save a grouting in joints. In order to remove thin coat left on tile after cleaning, wipe the surface with a sponge first, then with an old white T-shirt.

It is recommended to handle a grouting with a sealant minimum in 21 days. Do not be surprised at the high sealant price, it’s very expensive. Remove sealant rests with a piece of an old white material.

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  1. June 19, 2009 at 7:33 pm

    […] Finally, for the easiest in tile patterns, simply use an accent stripe. Get tile in the same size and type, but in a strikingly different color and install a stripe of this accent tile in a row at eye level. Or make a border of the accent tile around the perimeter of the installation. […]