Tips for Top Notch Tile
By Mark Clement
Installing tile is one job I consider deceptively easy. A quality job looks awesome but it is equally unforgiving; you can’t sand it, caulk it or re-nail it. Installation takes a lot of work, too. Don’t be fooled by TV shows that make it look so easy a baby could do it. From what I’ve seen those shows omit most of the home-improvement skills that matter.
For tile magic, you can always pay a pro to design and install it. Or, go DIY style, and get your game-face on. Here are ingredients to a tile job you’ll love.
My wife Theresa’s eye for color, balance, texture and space never fails to amaze me. For this job, she chose TileBar’s succulent wood-themed large format Cerpa Arena plank tile to anchor a look she’s calling “basement sophisticate.” In the world of tile it provides a sensational look for a large but intimate room. The Cerpa’s length unifies the spaces. Its color shift creates cohesion.
Conversely, a square tile like a 12-by-12 (better suited for a kitchen, perhaps) might have a pixilating effect in the room.
Choose a tile pattern that works best in your particular space, accounting for the room’s shape and surrounding house features. Thoughtful design like Theresa’s matters a great deal.
A crappy installation ruins the design.
In my search for the best products and procedures my job as co-host of the MyFixitUpLife show brought me to the International Builders’ Show in Las Vegas. That’s where I met the guys from Custom Building Products. Those guys know tile and they set me up with the right stuff to make this job a success.
Make sure to familiarize yourself with every phase of a tile project before beginning the job. Check out some of Custom Building products’ online instructional videos and even consider buying a how-to book for detailed instructions.
In most remodeling applications we use floor leveler to flatten the floor, not actually make it level.
If your floor has pocks or bellies (some people call them “bird baths”) deeper than 1/4 inch, then mix up some self-leveling floor underlayment and pour it on.