The quality of your tile project depends a lot on your prep work, whether you're tiling a floor, a wall or a countertop, the supporting material needs to be firm and stable and the surface cleaned flat and free of dust. For floors, this means removing old carpet and clearing away any loose debris or old adhesive. If you're tiling a bathroom floor, it may be easier to take out the toilet than to tile around it. This is also true for cabinets and pedestal sinks. Most floors have baseboards along the wall. While preparing your floor, remove the base board entirely so you can set your tile to the wall. Don’t worry, you’ll hide the edge with base mold.
The surface you're mounting your tile to is also very important. The supporting material and under need to be solid and particle board is totally taboo here. If you have an uneven surface, you’ll need to use some floor levelling compound to make everything nice and flat. If you find rot, simply remove that part of your floor and patch in a whole new piece. And hey, if your old floor already provides a flat, even surface, feel free to tile right over it. In many situations, cement board is required. This is a rigid sub-straight panel that comes in different thicknesses for a variety of situations. Cement board is always used for wet areas like bathrooms and kitchen floors and countertops because unlike wood, it won't expand and contract with temperature changes. All cement board seams need to be filled to make an even surface for the tile. This is simply done using a layer of mesh tape and a coat of thin set mortar.
Walls are no different than floors when it comes to surface preparation. All existing wallpaper and panelling need to be removed, along with light switch and outlet covers. Any holes in the wall should be patched and the surface cleared of any debris that might interfere with a flat tile surface. Shallow walls need to have cement board backing that’s secured to the studs with cement screws. If you're tiling a shower floor, it’s essential there’s a flexible waterproof membrane under the flooring material. This job may be best left to a professional.
Wherever your tile project is, always protect adjoining surfaces from mortar and grout with resin paper or cardboard and masking tape before you begin. All the preparation you would do in advance will make your tile project easier. More enjoyable and reward you with beautiful, long-lasting results.
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