Though there are numerous types of projects where a Do It Yourselfer could easily find themselves over matched by the skill and patience required for certain jobs, tile work is one of those types of projects that seems a lot more complicated and difficult than it really is. And while a ceramic tile floor is one of the easiest tile projects around, the truth is that laying down tile for kitchens and bathrooms is remarkably easy as well, so long as you take the time to prepare, outline everything, have all of the tools and materials at hand, and that you are ready to go when the project begins.
For most popular projects that take place in the kitchen, there are three basic tile installations. There is the installation of tile along the back splash of the counter, and around certain plumbing fixtures like faucets and the like.
Then, there is the installation of inset tile in a kitchen counter top. While most modern homes now use a slab of slate granite or marble as the surface area for a counter top, the owners of many older homes are choosing to go the retro restoration route and simply update and replace the existing tile. This should be the preferred option for many art deco home restorations as well.
And, of course, there is the installation of a tile floor in the kitchen. The kitchen is the most popular place to install a tile floor, unsurprisingly.
Back Splashes/Kitchen Counter Tops
The back splash is typically the area that runs behind either the stove or the sink in a kitchen, but really it can be anywhere. The difficult part about replacing the tile in a back splash is the relatively small area that you have to work with means you will need to get the right kind of tiles, and be very adept at measuring, cutting and trimming them. Be careful.
First, you will need to strip out the old tile, and inspect the condition of the wall underneath. If it is in reasonably good shape, you will be able to simply clean if off and place the new tiles right on. If the wall is not in good shape, you will need to redo the dry wall on the area before you can continue on with the tile work. If the back splash is near or behind the sink, you will want to use green drywall, otherwise standard will work fine.
Clean the area and prep it for installing the tile by using a heavy, industrial strength cleaning agent. Make sure that there is no loose debris or material left behind at all.
Then, once you have measured the area for the back splash, and you have acquired the tiles, cutting them to fit (with a rented wet saw tile cutter) you can arrange them in the pattern that you wish. Make sure that the tiles are cut to fit, and make note of any severe gaps or overlap in the tiles. Cut and trim where needed to make everything fit.
Then, use the tile cement, place a dollop on the back of each tile, and arrange them as you had planned. Start from the bottom corner of one end, and carefully work your way outward and upward with the tiles. Clean and trim off excess adhesive or materials from the tiles as you are laying them down.
Once the tiles are laid down, grout the gaps between the tiles and allow them to dry for one day.
Laying down a kitchen floor is somewhat similar, but it will require you to clean and prep the entire floor, work with the arrangement of the tiles from the center of the room, outward, and you will need to make sure that all tiles fit snugly together as you go.