Floor Tiling Advice Needed!

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  • Floor Tiling Advice Needed!
  • Need some advice. I’m planning on laying a tile floor this weekend and having never done much tiling before, thought I’d seek the STW wisdom on what madness I’m about to start.

    First up, cutting the tiles. Electric cutter (£35ish) or manual cutter (£20 for a decent heavy duty one)? Assume with an electric one will make cutting odd shapes easier (like if I had to cut a square shaped corner out of a tile?). Do the manual cutters just cut straight lines through from one side of the tile to the other?

    Second, what to put under the tiles? Room(s) I’m doing is a new porch with a concrete floor and the kitchen which has floorboards (underneath the current horrid wood laminate stuff). Assume hardboard the kitchen and if I need to, the porch too to make it all one level? Porch floor looks to be the same level as the floorboards are so hardboard throughout I assume?

    I think thats the two key questions I needed answers to. Found various guides online of using the string through the centre of the area to be tiled etc so think I’m ok following that.

    Better book Monday off too… I think its going to take a little longer than I’m anticipating!

    Plywood screwed down for floorboards. NOT hardboard. Latex concrete areas to this level.

    We just had kitchen done professionally, he used an electric cutter, not too many complex shapes but that’s what he always uses. Cracking job too.

    phyncra
    Member

    *19 mm WBP ply.
    *Some kind of sealant on top of that. IIRC I used the PVA plaster prep stuff.
    *Use BAL flexible adhesive. It costs a fortune but are very easy to work with and make it a lot easier to get a flat finish.
    *Def use an elec cutter. Depending on the tile you may have trouble snapping even straight lines.
    *Work out how many full tiles you need across the length of the area, then work out where you need to lay the first full tile to leave an equal gap on either side and nail a batton here. Repeat for the width and then lay all the complete tiles starting fromt the right angle made by your two batons. The fanny around with the tiles round the edge.
    *Clear excess adhesive out of your grout lines as soon as you are able to walk on the tiles as its’ll still be quite soft.

    Simple!

    PeterPoddy
    Member

    We just had kitchen done professionally, he used an electric cutter, not too many complex shapes but that’s what he always uses. Cracking job too.

    Same here. I wasn’t confident I could do the super-neat finish I was after, defpite being rather handy at DIY. It took 3 days (6.3 x 3m room) of solid steady work to get it done. One bloke who quoted for us said not to bother with cheap tile cutters if I did it myself, but to hire a very good (Ruby cutter is it?) one.
    The chap that did it was froma Polish firm, and he’s done a superb job. The floor is astonishingly level: I could see as he was laying that it was bowed in the middle, but you couldn’t see it without the tiles down. It’s a pretty skilled job I reckon. I’m glad I didn’t try it myself now, having seen what’s involved, to be honest.

    phyncra
    Member

    oh and be prepared to feel like youve just had a 12 hr game of twister afterwards!

    Hmmm, only reason I was asking was that we’ve been quoted twice as much per sq m to fit it than the tiles cost (and they’re not cheap tiles!). Might get a few more people around for a quote… Can see it being a major ballache…

    PeterPoddy
    Member

    What’s your quote? 18sqm was £450 + materials, all 3 quotes the same for us….

    That works at £25’ish then. Roughly the same size area as ours I guess too. Quote we had was £30ish per sq m.

    Hmmm, might shop around a bit. A mates told me I’ll want to murder someone by the end if I do it myself. But satisfaction would be nice, knowing I did it.

    When working out your centre lines its also good to consider any features such as French doors or fireplaces so you can get the tiles semetrical. My parents tiler didn’t do this and the groutlines up to their French doors doesn’t line up.

    Saccades
    Member

    Make sure you haven’t bought porcelain tiles.

    Clean as you go, get rid of any excess grout, keep your sponge damp (not dripping wet) and keep changing the water you use for the sponge and the electric cutter bath.

    Pieface
    Member

    Whats wrong with Porcelain? Thats what I’ve just used!

    I used 12mm ply on floorboards, although 15mm tends to be the consensus but reckon I’ll get away with it.

    I’d say get both sorts of cutters as the manual cutters are way faster, quieter and unless you get an extra wide electric tile cutter you’ll suffer a lot of wastge cutting wide tiles in half.

    I used Mapei powdered adhesive that worked out quite cheap, £30 for 20 kilo bag in B&Q, dried much better than the Unibond ‘Rapid sed’ stuff that took overnight….

    On the concrete floor you’d be best off putting self-levelling compound down first IIRC.

    Tom83
    Member

    £20 for a manual cutter – Won’t cut straight and the bars will bend as you try and snap it. Get yourself a plasplugs compact cutter or similar for about £35ish (leccy). If it’s a kitchen floor, I’d recommend porcelain over ceramic any day, but you’ll need a porcelain wheel for your cutter, to avoid it chipping as you put it through the cutter. Instead of the ply, you could use 6mm aquapanel boards or similar, so you won’t raise the floor up too much. And Mapei adhesive is just as good as BAL adhesive, but doesn’t cost as much!

    And as someone else suggested, just use self leveling compound for the porch to bring it up to the other level if needed. Just don’t over work it when you lay it, or it’ll go off wonky!

    HTH

    wrightyson
    Member

    The ruby cutters will cut straight and true. No fear they are the best.

    Saccades
    Member

    porcelain tiles are a pita to lay compared to ceramic ones, ceramic take the grout better.

    Tom83
    Member

    porcelain tiles are a pita to lay compared to ceramic ones, ceramic take the grout better.

    Using the wrong grout then!

    Saccades
    Member

    Yeah, sommat like that, wtf would I know hey?

    Mary Hinge
    Member

    I’ve just finished laying a porcelain tile floor with underfloor heating in my hall and downstairs loo.

    600mm square tiles. It was a PITA, but ultimately rewarding. Being narrow rooms and large tiles really works and makes it feel wider (honestly), but meant that it was a slow job with lots of cuts. Took about a week all in, with two full days and 5 long evenings!

    Use an electric cutter. Remove skirtings etc. I also cut the bottom of the door frames off so tha I could tuck the tiles under, then replaces with same profile timber to get a real nice tucked under finish.

    Don’t forget you’ll probably need to trim the door bottoms off too.

    Make sure that you wipe off all tile adhesive from the tiles as you are laying them, it will NOT come off when it’s set. Tile adhesive goes “off” after 30-40 minutes and is unusable when it goes off, so make sure you are ready to lay a few tiles for each mix. Expect to waste some adhesive when it goes off. And wash your tools down at the end of each mix or it will just be lumps of adhesive everywhere.

    Get a “whisk” mixing tool from the tile shop and mix adhesive with a leccy drill. I mixed it in a garden trug.

    Get the floor as level as possible first so you can lay a thin adhesive layer with a comb spreader and haven’t got to piss about with different thicknesses of adhesive trying to get the tiles level(lesson learned).

    I was amazed how long it took me, and I’m pretty handy. But I did have a perfectionist wife standing over me “advising”, which made it feel like it took much longer.

    Have I put you off yet?

    It depends how much of a challenge you like if you’ve never done owt like it before.

    Enjoy.

    When working out your centre lines its also good to consider any features such as French doors or fireplaces so you can get the tiles semetrical. My parents tiler didn’t do this and the groutlines up to their French doors doesn’t line up.

    +1 for this. When we got quoted it was the same company who’d done our conservatory floor, and it was noted that the joints in the kitchen area would need to line up with the joins in the conservatory. Helped that MrsMFL likes the tiles in the conservatory so much that we’ve gone for the same in the kitchen.

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