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FAQ: Planning Tile Installation and Repair

Tile is featured in almost every home across our beautiful country. It's one of the most durable and attractive materials available to finish floor and wall surfaces and it goes a long way in beautifying rooms and helping protect the interior structure of our homes from water damage.

If you're thinking about a new installation for your home or business or your old tile is banged up and needs repair, you likely have a lot of questions about tile installation and repair. Below we discuss some common questions to help inspire you to plan a project that makes your home more beautiful, more comfortable, and more valuable.

Q&A: Tile Installation

If you're starting from scratch with a fresh installation, you have plenty of decisions to make. Tiles come in a dizzying array of colors, patterns, textures, sizes, and materials. It can be surprisingly fun browsing through your options and selecting something that shows off your personal style and stands out in your home.

Which Type of Material is Best?

There's a number of materials available, and they all have their own pros and cons in relation to your specific needs. First, consider questions such as:

  • What is the purpose or location of the tile?

  • Is appearance or functionality more important to me?

  • How much maintenance am I willing to do?

  • What is my budget for materials?

Then, take a look at the benefits and challenges associated with each type:

  • Ceramic: Durable, water-resistant, easy to clean, and relatively inexpensive, making it a popular floor material for high-traffic, moisture-prone areas such as mud rooms and bathrooms.

  • Porcelain: A type of ceramic with a different composition and manufacturing process that makes it more durable and water-resistant, but also more costly.

  • Slate: Made from natural stone. The quality, strength, and beauty of slate is impressive and it makes a striking addition to your floors or walls. However, it does need to be sealed regularly to keep it looking good.

  • Marble: While this classic natural stone material is gorgeous and practically shouts "luxury," it's easily chipped or stained and therefore best used in low-traffic areas or for wall materials.

  • Glass: A popular homeowners choice for their kitchen backsplash, glass is easy to clean and known for its translucent beauty and incredible variety, but it's too delicate for flooring.

What Size Do I Need?

The easiest way to decide is to simply choose a size that matches the size of the area you're working with. Large areas, like floors in bigger rooms, should have larger pieces, while smaller areas such as a kitchen sink backsplash can (and should) use much smaller pieces—sometimes only a couple of inches or even smaller.

Large pieces make a small room seem bigger—to an extent. If they're too outsized, they'll just seem out of place. Conversely, small ones can add depth or make an area seem too busy. Keep in mind that the pattern and size of the tile can affect the installation time and thus the cost. If you roughly match the size of the pieces to the size of the space, the rest just comes down to personal preference.

 

What Color Grout Should I Use?

If you haven't considered this before, that's understandable—we tend not to notice because most grout is either white or a neutral color so it fades into the background, but it is available in bright colors too. Your tile supplier or handyman will be able to show you samples of your color options so you can hold them next to your tile, which will help you choose the one that matches best.

Can Tile Be Installed Over Existing Pieces?

Sometimes it can—but there are a couple caveats to remember:

  1. The existing surface needs to be completely level, including lines of grout, and not have any damage, mildew, or warping that will affect the new layer.

  2. It's a bad idea to cover heavy floors with another heavy layer unless the foundation underneath is firm concrete, because otherwise the weight could cause structural damage.

Q&A: Tile Repair

When you already love your tile, but you've noticed cracks, chips, and other signs of damage, you don't need to throw the baby out with the bathwater. There's a number of things your handyman may be able to do to get your pieces looking as good as new.

How Hard is It to Remove Tile Flooring?

It really depends. The key determining factor is what's underneath. It could be cement, some kind of underlay like plywood or mason board, or even (as we saw in the previous question) another layer of flooring.

The type of surface that the material is bonded to can make it pretty easy to rip up, or a total nightmare—and you usually don't know which until you've gotten started. Even in the best circumstances, removing tile is a lot of hard labor that can take anywhere from a few hours to several days.

Can Chips in Ceramic Be Repaired?

Some chips can. The basic steps for repairing chipped ceramic are:

  1. Clean the area and let it dry completely

  2. Slightly overfill the chip with repair epoxy

  3. Use a leveling tool to smooth out the filler and blend it in to the surface

  4. Let it dry for a few hours and then sand down the hardened filler

How Do You Repair Cracked Tile Without Replacing It?

If we're talking about surface-level damage like a hairline crack, you can try a process similar to what we described above for chips, or you can attempt to disguise the damage with paint for some types of materials. But, that tile will still be weak and vulnerable to more serious damage.

For bigger cracks, it pretty much needs to be replaced. That’s why it’s best to ensure you have extra tile for a perfect match. If you don’t have extra pieces or a good match, then a non-matching tile will have to be used.

Trust Mr. Handyman to Complete Your Installation or Repair

Whether you want a whole new surface or are just looking to banish problems such as cracked tiles and ugly grout lines, our qualified local service professionals at Mr. Handyman of Newtown and Yardley have the experience and tools to provide expert tiling services for all your projects, coupled with outstanding customer service.

Pick up the phone today and give us a call at 609-372-5867, or request service online to get started on the tiling project you've been dreaming of. See why local customers continue to choose us for all their home improvement needs!