Tile Installation and Replacement: Questions You Should Ask First

Tile installation is one of the most popular ways to finish your floors or walls, and the results appear in almost every home and commercial building in the Valley. It's well-loved for its durability, protective qualities, and beauty. But when your floor or wall is cracked, chipped, missing pieces, and generally just looking worse-for-wear, it isn't doing its job of protecting your Lehigh Valley home against water damage — and it's certainly not doing any favors for the visual appeal of your house.

Because it comes in such a wide variety of colors, sizes, shapes, textures, patterns, and materials, a new tile installation is the perfect opportunity to infuse your home with your own sense of style and personality, or to choose a neutral, classic style that will increase your property value when it's time to sell. But before you jump straight into planning an installation, there are a few questions you should ponder.

This guide will explain six Lehigh Valley tile installation and replacement questions you should ask yourself before you start swinging the hammer, to ensure that the finished product is everything you were hoping for. Once you have a good idea of what you want and need, rely on the service professionals at Mr. Handyman of Easton, Bethlehem, Nazareth, Allentown, and the Lehigh Valley to get the job done. Our experienced home improvement experts focus on providing efficient, high-quality workmanship and excellent customer service for every Lehigh Valley tile installation and replacement project.

Do I Need Replacement, or Just Repairs?

Is it necessary to take out your entire floor and replace it, or would some basic repairs suffice? We are often asked "repair or replace," and when it is about tile, the answer is almost always replace. If you have a few minor cosmetic scuffs or your grout is looking dingy, then repairs could be the best course of action. But for anything more serious like cracks or missing chunks, replacement tile installation is probably going to be more cost-effective in the long run, and will definitely look better.

Potential Problems with Tile Repair

Some issues with repairing instead of replacing are:

  • Pieces that have been repaired with epoxy will still be weak and prone to cracking or falling apart again

  • If water is able to seep through a cracked tile, it will damage your subfloor and can cause serious problems like mold, mildew, and wood rot

  • Replacing just one or two tiles is possible, but it can be difficult to find an exact match — and even if you have extra replacements stored away, they might not be a perfect match because the old ones will be more worn-in than new ones

What Type is Best for My Lehigh Valley Home?

This is a big question! There is such a wide selection available, it can feel overwhelming when you're trying to choose the best option for your house or commercial building. Appearance is a personal choice based on your taste and what will work best with your existing decor, but the type of material it's made out of warrants some additional considerations in the Lehigh Valley.

Here are some material options that are available:

  • Porcelain or ceramic tile (by far the most popular choice because it's inexpensive, durable, and easy to maintain)

  • Natural stone including slate, marble, granite, limestone, and travertine

  • Glass

  • Cement tile

  • Mosaic

  • Quarry

  • Metal or resin

Not sure what's best for you? It really helps to see and touch some options in person instead of just squinting at a computer screen and trying to figure it out from an image. Mr. Handyman of Easton, Bethlehem, Nazareth, Allentown, and the Lehigh Valley has a showroom conveniently located just off the Lehigh Valley Thruway where you can consult with our experts about various materials and installation services. And, if your Lehigh Valley tile installation is part of a kitchen renovation or bathroom remodeling project, you can check out our cabinets at the same time — they are 100% made in the U.S.A. of solid wood, and you won't find better quality anywhere else.

What Is the Location and Purpose of Your Tile Installation?

When you're trying to decide on material for your installation project, make sure to consider where your tile will be going and what its main purpose is. For example, glass tile is far too delicate for a flooring installation, but its translucent beauty is perfect for adding depth and style to kitchen backsplash installation. Some types of tile, especially natural stone options, need to be resealed regularly and can chip more easily than ceramic or porcelain tiles, so it makes sense to use them sparingly in low-traffic areas. And on the other hand, it makes sense to use the most durable and easy to maintain options for installation in high-traffic, moisture-prone areas like your mud room or bathroom.

Can You Put New Tiles on Top of Old Ones?

The answer is maybe, possibly, sometimes — but it's generally not a good idea. The existing floor needs to be completely level and free of any defects in materials such as cracks, ridges, or gaps, and that's usually not the case when you're considering a new installation. It's also not a good idea to put a heavy floor on top of another heavy floor unless you've got a solid concrete foundation underneath, because the weight can actually damage your subfloor and cause it to collapse. The third problem is that it can raise the level of your floor too high, making doors scrape on the floor or leave a "lip" for you to stub your toes on.

Can I Tile Over Asbestos?

It's a definite "no" on that one. Asbestos is a highly carcinogenic material that was used in builds for a good portion of the 20th century and no longer meets building code requirements. The danger arises when an asbestos layer is broken — and those tiny poisonous fibers get into the air and are inhaled. If you have asbestos tile in your home, it's critically important that you have it safely removed by a Lehigh Valley asbestos removal professional.

Can Tile Be Installed Without Grout Lines?

Technically that is possible, but it's not recommended. Your installation won't meet industry standards and you likely won't be happy with the results in the long run.

Here's why grout joints are necessary:

  • Every house shifts and settles over time, and tile joints give some "wiggle room" to allow that to happen. Without it, the pieces will grind into each other and crack.

  • While the individual pieces may appear to be exactly the same, there are slight variations in size. The grout allows for tiny variations in size while maintaining an even, uniform appearance.

  • Even if the pieces are laying flush against each other, there will still be a tiny gap that particles of dust will work their way into, making cleaning a lot more difficult than it has to be.

Looking for Expert Tile Installation in the Lehigh Valley?

Whether you're in Allentown or another part of the Lehigh Valley area such as Bethlehem, Easton, or Nazareth, you can rely on Mr. Handyman of Easton, Bethlehem, Nazareth, Allentown, and the Lehigh Valley for efficient workmanship and outstanding customer service on your flooring project — or dozens of other home improvement, repair, and maintenance projects!

Give us a call today at 610-463-1667 to chat with our friendly customer service representatives and request service, and we'll help you join the club of great Lehigh Valley tile transformations like this!