Ask the ex­perts Lay­ing floor tiles

House Beau­ti­ful’s team of top homes pro­fes­sion­als an­swer your ques­tions

House Beautiful (UK) - - Contents - DIY AND PROP­ERTY JO BEHARI A cham­pion for women in DIY and busi­ness as well as an ex­pert on us­ing space and im­prov­ing prop­er­ties, Jo will help you find the answers to all your home and DIY chal­lenges

Lay­ing floor tiles

QI want to up­date my kitchen by re­plac­ing the ex­ist­ing floor­ing with tiles, but there are so many styles to pick from. How do I choose and then lay the tiles cor­rectly?

AShop­ping for floor tiles can be quite over­whelm­ing, so here’s what you need to know.

Ce­ramic tiles are hard­wear­ing, come in a range of shapes, sizes and colours and are easy to in­stall.

Glass tiles are too slip­pery to be used on floors so avoid them.

Nat­u­ral stone isn’t nec­es­sar­ily con­sis­tent in colour, shade or tex­ture, so won’t give a very uni­form fin­ish. Made from hard ma­te­ri­als, it can be more dif­fi­cult to cut and needs reg­u­lar main­te­nance. You’ll also need to ap­ply a tile sealer as it can stain eas­ily.

Ter­ra­cotta styles are made from nat­u­ral clays with lit­tle pro­cess­ing, tend to be unglazed in a range of rus­tic earthy colours, and may need treat­ing to in­crease water re­sis­tance.

Mosaic tiles are great for adding colour and tex­ture and can be made from any of the above ma­te­ri­als. The small chips are laid on mesh back­ing so are easy to cut but can be dif­fi­cult to align due to their size.

Vinyl is a much softer ma­te­rial which makes the tiles eas­ier to fit as they just need to be glued down. They don’t re­quire grout­ing and come in a range of colours.

Tiles are sold in boxes or sin­gles and each box tells you the square me­ter­age it will cover. To cal­cu­late the size of your floor area, mul­ti­ply the width by the depth and then add 10 per cent con­tin­gency.

First plan the lay­out on pa­per so you know where to start and where the cuts will be – spread them along both edges so it looks even. When cut­ting, make a tem­plate as a guide, and for big jobs, in­vest in a wetwheel cut­ter for ac­cu­racy and speed.

Pre­pare your floor with ply­wood or a screed to make lay­ing eas­ier. Ap­ply a small amount of ad­he­sive to the floor, then push the first tile gen­tly on top us­ing a piece of tim­ber so you know the tiles are straight and level. Use tile spac­ers to fit the next tile up to the first one and so on. When all the tiles are laid wait 24 hours be­fore grout­ing to en­sure the ad­he­sive has dried.

l See Take A Closer Look on p145 for more tiling tips

Plan your floor lay­out on pa­per first to en­sure an even fin­ish

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