What to Expect Series: Session 15: Tile Installation

Another one of the exciting aspects of a renovation is when tile is installed. In the past, tile was mostly about function – it is extremely durable and easy to clean. But now, tile can be used as art as well! There are artisans out there who take a lot of time to craft handmade tiles in small batches to create one of a kind masterpieces. In this post we will discuss how and where tile can be used, as well as the process to install it.

form and function

Tile is a great option for many different elements of a home. It is often used throughout bathrooms, powder rooms, fireplace surrounds, backsplashes in kitchens, flooring and even feature walls. It is important to factor in where you will be using the tile prior to choosing which kind of tile you select. Certain tiles may be better suited for different places through the home. For example, high gloss finishes should be avoided on bathroom floors as they’re very slippery when wet!

Some of the decisions that must be made are:

  • Main tile selection throughout
  • Accent tiles
  • Tile edges or pencil tiles
  • Niche and niche ledge tile (in showers)
  • Grout (Grout can be used as a design feature as well, and when it comes to natural stone it can really change the overall look of the tile color)

In addition, we need to also decide on the layout (horizontal or vertical; stacked or offset).
We have created custom tile backsplashes with 7 different tiles to create a one-of-a-kind pattern. This also requires detailed and precise drawings to communicate layout and installation.

An image that shows how different grout colours can make the same tile appear so different!

installation process

Prior to tile being installed, the area will need to be prepared for the tile setter.  For wet area applications (showers) this includes proper waterproofing. Antifracture underlay should be used throughout floors, and the ultimate luxury is heating below the floor tile as well as onshower bench seats.  Install timelines vary greatly on the complexity of the installation.

Your tile setter will strategically place the tiles according to drawings. They will use mortar  to act as a glue and ensure even layouts. Some tiles will need to be cut on site in order to fit your layout – this is why we always order some extra tiles as well. Tiles will need to set for about 12 hours prior to applying the final grout overtop. The excess is then wiped off and the grout will need to set once again. 

after installation

After installation is complete, you will need to care for your tile properly to ensure its longevity. Care and maintenance will depend on the type of tile you have and where it is located in your home. Overall, cleaning tiles is fairly easy and can be done with many household cleaners, but take extra caution when cleaning natural stone as they may react with these household cleaners. Always consult the care and maintenance recommendations according to the manufacturer. Tile should last for many years without needing to be replaced.

next week

We are reaching the final stop on our What to Expect Series, so we are doubling up this week to share our final session prior to the holiday season. Our final session covers Styling and Installation Day. Keep an eye out for this post a little later this week!

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