Installing Ceramic tiles in Kenya
Installing ceramic tiles can be tricky. Successful tiling jobs are a direct result of good planning and a methodical approach. Take the time to do the right amount of prep work before you begin.
STEP 1: Assess
Begin by inspecting the surface upon which you plan to install the tile. The substrate, or what tile is installed on top of, is just as important as the tile itself. A flexing floor or a wall that is uneven can lead to broken tiles and failed grout.
STEP 2: Measure
Walls-when tiling a wall, you’ll want to establish a top line that is level. Establish its height so that you won’t have to cut very thin tiles, snap a top line on your walls, and then snap a center line. Be sure to lay out all the walls you plan to do before you begin tiling.
Floors-to make your finished ceramic tile surface appear symmetrical (even if it isn’t), you need to find the center of the surface first. Then measure in from the sides. Pay special attention to this step if you’re tiling a small area.
Once you’ve identified the center and baseline from which you will work, snap a pair of perpendicular chalk lines. Roughly divides the room into equal quadrants, work outward from the center point in each of the four sections.
STEP 3: Lay out the tiles
After you’ve found the center point and squared the room for floor installations, lay the tiles out to see how they will appear. Do it dry, before you mix the adhesive or mortar, within each quadrant of the grid.
STEP 4: Cutting the tile
The first step in cutting tile is measuring the size of the tile you wish to cut and transferring the dimensions to the glazed surface of the tile via felt-tip marker. Position the tile on the tile cutter, aligning the center line of the cutter with the axis on which the tile is to be cut. To keep it square, the top of the tile should be held flush to the fence at the top of the cutter. Then, using the lever to which the cutting wheel is attached, draw the cutter across the surface of the tile, exerting a firm, even pressure. Make only one pass with the cutter. Finally, snap the tile.
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STEP 5: Adhering Tiles
If you are using tile, chances are that it’s in a setting where moisture is a given—kitchen, bath, entryway and so on. Make sure you use a waterproof adhesive. You can use a premixed adhesive or a mortar, but if you choose the latter, make sure it’s a thin-set variety.
Follow the manufacturer’s instructions and stay off the installation for the required amount of time before beginning grout work.
STEP 6: Grouting tiles
Grout is usually purchased as a powder and mixed with water or a recommended additive. Read the instructions on the package or ask for advice at the tile store. Wear gloves and spread grout evenly, forcing it into the joints with a blunt stick or another tool.
STEP 7: Cleaning and sealing
Make sure you sponge off the residue on the surface of the tiles before it has the chance to dry. This step will require several passes over a period of an hour or more. It’s a critical stage when you’re working with tiles that have a porous or variegated surface. Dried grout can prove almost impossible to remove from indentations.
Finally, apply a grout sealer according to the manufacturer’s directions, and your tile job is complete!