Advice on DIY Ceramic Tile

Discussion in 'Article Discussion Forum' started by polestretch, Feb 26, 2011.

  1. polestretch

    polestretch Senior Member

    I found this article on the internet about home improvements that homeowners should NOT try at home. The first thing mentioned is do-it-yourself tile. I found the piece interesting because it just skims the surface of what can go horribly wrong when doing flooring. The author interviewed a contractor about problems with laying tile.
    Just wondering as you read through the article what else you would mention to warn a DIY when they are considering tackling a project like this.

    [excerpt=Kathryn Elizabeth Tuggle, of Fox Business]When it comes to tiling, "everything is about the details," says Mark Williams, president and founder of RSU Contractors in Murfreesboro, Tenn. "You don't want to be figuring things out as you go."

    One of the main pitfalls with tiling is laying out the patterns, explains Williams, and it's not uncommon for interior walls in houses to be "out of square." For example, one side of a wall could be 60 inches, and on another it could be 62, so when you get to the other side, you can end up with a two inch gap with no tiling. "It's going to look horrible," says Williams.

    Another thing the average homeowner might not look for is an uneven floor - or uneven tiles.

    "Sometimes you can have tiles that are various widths or thicknesses, or a floor that is pitched slightly off," says Williams. "In that case you have to build up a floor with prep work, or add an underlay to correct as much as you can."

    Homeowners should also be aware that not all grout is created equal. For example, tile in the shower requires a different type of grout than tile for the kitchen or exterior of the home.[/excerpt]

    Read the whole article here: Home Improvement Projects You Should Never DIY -
  2. Jim McClain

    Jim McClain TFP Owner/Founder Administrator

  3. hookknife

    hookknife Hard Surface Installer Charter Member Senior Member

    Structure of the floor would be my first consideration when looking at a job for a tile installation. Will the floor support the tile successfully, even more so for stone.
  4. polestretch

    polestretch Senior Member

    Bryan, That was my first thought on reading this also. The guy they interviewed was a contractor, not a flooring guy or more specific a tile setter. The things he pointed out were minor compared to having the entire job fail because the floor can't support the added weight.
  5. Steve Olson

    Steve Olson Hardwood/Laminate Guru Charter Member I Support TFP Senior Member

    Does the "standard" of flooring joists and sub flooring, (at least here in California) meet this standard? Joists 16"o.c. with 3/4" to 1 1/8" T&G plywood? Ceramic is pretty common in most house now, how would a person go about finding out if his sub floor is up to the standard, assuming that he knew what is joist pacing and sub floor thickness were?
  6. Kman

    Kman Tile Expert I Support TFP Senior Member Published

    With joists 16" on center, and provided the span is adequate, the minimum subfloor for ceramic tile is 5/8" plywood. Most installers want 3/4" ply or OSB with an appropriately installed tile backer. Some want two layers of ply no matter what. Two layers is recommended if the bottom layer is not in "new" condition, and required if installing natural stone. It's also necessary if the joists are centered at 24".

    Joist span is also important. Excessive span can be remedied by sistering the joists or building some type of support to effectively shorten the span.

    While many modern homes are built with a joist deflection of L480 or better, many older houses are built with more deflection than the bare minimum for ceramic tile. Still can't understand why builders would have done this...maybe because ceramic wasn't that prevalent 30-40 years ago.
  7. cproader

    cproader All over T's last nerve Senior Member

    Thiset application is quite a complex mix of timing and consistancy. Different tiles and stoneworks require exact combinations of these.
    I use two different consistances, one for substrate and the other for back buttering the tiles. Its an aquired recipe from experience.
  8. cproader

    cproader All over T's last nerve Senior Member

    Except for wall installations, throw the spacers out and work on a grid.
  9. cproader

    cproader All over T's last nerve Senior Member

    If grouting is intimidating to you, it should be. If you're not experienced with epoxy or premixed grouts, best to just keep it that way.

    Any grout can be tooled to a smooth finish, if you know how.

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