How to Find and Install the Best Ceramic Tile

Ceramic tile is an easy to clean and sturdy surface that can be used in many ways in your home.  From kitchen counters and backsplashes to bathroom tubs and walls, the tiles can be very small or two foot or larger.  Ceramic tile flooring offers many options for combinations that make any rooms style complete.  Ceramic tile installation is not difficult or time consuming to do, so for the home improvement enthusiast, this type of project can be very appealing.

Of course, like any remodeling project, you need to take measurements of the area that you wish to tile.  If that is a floor, then your measurement should be from wall to wall.  In a bathroom, from the edge of the tub up as high as you wish.  Are you tiling to the ceiling or leaving some space to paint or wallpaper?  Since tile, no matter the size, is sold by the box, an accurate measurement saves you from under or overbuying. Some stores will showcase the tiles individually and then you can purchase one ceramic tile to bring home, much like a paint swatch, or to finish a row instead of buying another whole box.  Usually the individual tiles are more money than when you buy in a box, so you don't want to put too much money into the loose ones, unless it is necessary.

If you are working on a counter, then a few more decisions are needed before you purchase the tile.  One thing to consider is the type of edging that you want.  Do you want a rounded tiled edge or a wooden one, or something else?  If you want the edging to be tiled, then looking for corner tiles can make that look possible.

Ceramic tile installation takes a little preparation.  The tile is cemented in place with a thin-set mortar.  This is usually mixed with water and should be the consistency of peanut butter.  You can also buy already mixed mortar.  To spread the mortar you can use a flat tool called a trowel and it can be spread on the floor itself or onto the individual tiles.  A benefit to spreading it on the tile is that you have a bit more time to place the tile before the mortar dries out.  If you spread it on the floor, it may dry out a bit before you get the tiles placed.  Next, the grout needs to be added in between the tiles.  The grout should be the same consistency as the mortar when applied.  Using a tool called a grout float you can spread the grout into the cracks or lines. Once it has been spread, let it dry for about fifteen minutes and then wipe it off with a clean cloth.  Work on a small area at a time for the best results.

The mortar and grout is basically the same process for tiling a counter or a wall.  The difference is that the walls need to be placed straight so that your wall wont look crooked or lopsided when you finish.

Ceramic tile is a nice way to add a new look to your kitchen, bathroom or other spaces in the house.  With a bit of planning and some tools, you can install the ceramic tile flooring or counter that you have picked out yourself.  Stores like Lowes will install it for you, but there is a fee for that service.  Either way, it is a project that can be done quickly and with little experience.  Your biggest worry with this project is the color and size of the tile.

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