The DIfferent Tiles and How to Lay Them
Tiles are used as a finishing and waterproofing component in floors, walls and ceilings. They are known to add beauty, comfort and durability in today's homes. Tiles have been made and used since 4000 B.C. Historical evidence points out that only the royal bloods used tile works in their homes. Only the affluent, kings and queens and other nobilities' homes and palaces and churches had tiles. The primary reason for this could have been the exorbitant cost of tile work.
Archaeological findings showed the world that ancient civilizations were already using tiles in their homes and in their artwork - mosaic. Colourful and beautiful tile works faded by time could still be seen in the old pyramids of Egypt and in some Babylon temples. Over time, tile making became available to the common man. More production means tiles become affordable. Some manufacturers still handmade their tiles but most do so by automation. There are different types of tiles used in today's homes.
Types of Tiles
- Ceramic tiles are not cheap but they are not that expensive too. They are the most popular kind of floor tiles used today. Ceramic tiles are made up of clay or a mixture of sand, gypsum and shale then converted to a material called bisque. The bisque is then moulded into its desired shape and size then fired in a 2500 ° F. The higher the kiln's temperature, the stronger the tiles will be. Since ceramics can be rather porous, glazing is applied to its surface then fired again. Notice that there are glazed, unglazed and semi-glazed tiles. The glazing makes it possible for ceramic tiles to come in a variety of colours and design.
- Porcelain tiles are ceramic tiles that generally made by a dust pressed method that result in a denser, fine and smooth, and solid tile. Its water absorption is high available in unglazed or high gloss finish.
- Quarry tiles used to be real stones cut away from the quarries. The tile was ground and polished one by one. Today, manufacturers use a method called extrusion to make vitreous clay tiles that are almost as hard as natural stoned. Natural or quarry stones are good for flooring but not for countertops.
- Stone tiles are the likes of marbles and granite. They are beautiful and quite expensive. Since these stones are porous, they need to be sanded, sealed and polished. Granite and marble are prone to crack in high temperature and they also scratch quite easily. However, these two are still the most favoured in terms of aesthetics.
- Terracotta or Mexican Tiles are generally handmade and could come in various shapes and colours and textures. These tiles usually require some sealers for durability.
- Terrazzo tiles are a mixture of granite and marble chips in Portland cement or epoxy shaped into various sizes and thickness.
- Mosaic tiles are small tiles made out ceramic, stone, porcelain or glass. They come glued together on an adhesive backing for easy application.
The beauty of tiles as materials is that you can use them for indoors or outdoors, on walls and ceilings. The effect can be varied as there are also different patterns in laying out tiles. It used to be that laying out tiles was daunting work for a regular DIY-er. Ceramic and other non-porous tiles had to be properly soaked in water then laid out and applied to the area by means of cement mortar as paste. Today, new technology with tile adhesives and additives has made tiling an easier job for the average DIY-er.
Laying out Floor Tiles
Before you start, choose the right tiles for your area. If you are tiling an indoor floor, then better choose a tile that is suited for indoor use. If you are tiling an outside area that would be exposed to the elements, then choose tiles that are recommended for outside use. Here is an easy step by step process on how to lay out tiles.
1. Find the midpoint of the two walls, snap a chalk line on each and you'll get the centre of the area. That point is your starting point. Trial layout a row of tiles from the centre to the edges using a joint spacer for uniformity. If the last tile at the edges is less than 2 inches in width when cut, adjust the "centre" point to give you a wider tile edge.
2. Make sure your first tile row is in line and on slope (if outdoor or in a bathroom) by using a chalk line then setting a straightedge on the floor for a level and inline layout.
3. Spread a thinset mortar on the floor using a trowel for the application. The ideal area for the mortar layout is 2 feet by 3 feet. Re apply as needed. When applying the thinnest mortar press hard that the trowel makes a scraping sound.
4. Gently lay the tile on the thinset following the straightedge or chalk line as guide. The first tile row will serve as your guide for the succeeding rows. Continue spreading the thinset on 2 feet by 3 feet area. Check on intervals the straightness of the tile layout by using an A-square. Apply consistent pressure on the tile when laying out to avoid lippage - a tile's edge is lower that its neighbouring tiles. If there are corners to fit, measure the area to be cut from the tile then cut it with a wet saw.
5. Let the laid-out tiles set overnight. The next day, fill the joints with grout that has a consistency of mayonnaise. Spread a trowelful of grout and spread with a rubber float.
6. Allow the grout to set for 20 to 30 minutes before you wipe the excess grout on the tiles. Don't be too forceful when wiping out the grout or you might just wipe all the grout away.
Repeat the cleanup if the grouting is still evident on the finished tiles.
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