Bathroom & Kitchen Guide

Your complete guide to remodeling, design and new products.


How to retile a bath area using ceramic or clay tiles.  E-mail

Clay and ceramic tiles are dense and hard, and accurate cutting is a tedious and exacting job. Because some tiles are likely to crack during cutting it is best to buy three of four more than you require. If you are re-tiling the entire bathroom area then it would be best to get an extra 6-12 tile.
It may be possible to take the tiles, after measuring and marking your cut lines, to an engineering workshop, to be cut with a diamond tipped saw. Make a few phone calls to those listed in the yellow pages and ask if they do cutting work.

Cutting a clay or ceramic tile.
 To cut your tiles yourself you will need; hammer, small cold chisel, pincers, carborundum stone or an abrasive disc (just ask at your local hardware store and they will get you what you need).
1. Hold the marked tile on a brick. Tap a row of indents along the line with a hammer and cold chisel.
2. Hold the tile in both hands and strike it against the brick edge/corner directly underneath the marked line on the tile.
3. If the piece to be cut off is too narrow to hold, snap or nibble off with a pair of pliers.
4. Do not try and snap off a curved shape. Mark and indent the tile, then nibble off the waste with pincers.
5. Smooth the edges after cutting with the rough surface of a carborundum stone or an abrasive disc.

Replacing a ceramic or clay tile in your bathroom.
Some tiles have lugs, to ensure even spacing. If these tiles are not available, use small pieces (3mm) of wood as temporary spaces between the tiles.
When filling joints – called grouting – stand on a board 1m square. This will spread your body weight over a large surface and will ensure that the tiles that have already been grouted will not be displaced.
Allow at least 4 days after laying the tiles before walking on them. Different tiling products have different drying times, keep your products recommended drying time.
To replace your tiles you will need; tile adhesive, tiles and skirting (if needed), cement and sand, cross-pein hammer, small cold chisel, pointing trowel, wood float, clean rag, sponge, bucket and access to water.
1. Carefully tap across the top of any cracked tile with a cross-pein hammer to craze and crack the whole surface.
2. Work for the centre of each tile towards the edge and chip out fragments with a small cold chisel.
3. Use the chisel to smooth the concrete underneath. Scrape the corners and brush the floor clean.
4. Place the new tile in position to check that it is level and sits just below the surface level of adjacent tiles.
5. Remove tile and spread on a thin layer of adhesive or a damp mix of 1:3 cement and sand.
6. Press the tile into position. Straighten the joints and remove surplus adhesive with the trowel.
7. After leaving for 24 hours, grout the joints. Rub a 4:1 sand-and-cement mix between the tiles with a rag or you can use a premixed grout mix, this is best suited for the bathroom and will allow you to have white grout to match the rest of the tiling.
8. Remove surplus grout carefully with a damp sponge. Rinse the sponge out frequently in clean water.

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