Ceramic Tile How To: Materials
Some of the materials you will need for your ceramic tile job are generic to all tile jobs. Mastic or tile glue (also called adhesive) and grout sealer are examples.
Perhaps the most difficult part of a tiling job is selecting the tile and grout to be applied. This is because it comes in a vast array of styles, colors, patterns and designs. When you go to the tile store, first be sure that you are looking at the appropriate type of tile. Some tile is too thin to be putting on the floor, but is perfectly acceptable for a wall. Floor tiles will be thicker and usually more rugged.
Some patterned tiles come connected together by a plastic mesh so that they can be easily laid down without bothering with spacers. When selecting tile, remember that, once laid down, it is not likely to be changed for a long time, so future decorating plans should certainly be taken into account. As for the amount of tile, estimate based on square footage of tile and square footage of the surface area to be covered. Be sure to buy about 10 percent extra for wastage and slop.
The glazing on tile can make a difference as to lighting in the room and durability of the surface. Most tile comes presealed by the glazing, but not all of it is glazed. Be sure you know this about your tile, because if it is not, you will need to get tile sealer and apply it at a later point in the process. Plain tile can also be hand painted and incorporated into a design. Special paints are required for this and are available at your local craft supply store. The mounted tile in the picture at left were specially painted using this technique.
Another nice feature of ceramic tiles is that you can actually tile in certain fixtures. A good example of this is a toilet roll holder or soap holder in the bathroom. Rather than drilling though tiles later to secure them, consider getting a ceramic fixture and permanently mounting it on the wall.
Most of your wall tiles will be field tiles, but you can usually also get associated tiles with rounded edges that form a kind of molding. These are not strictly necessary, but part of the job of tile is to beautify a surface, and you may wish to make the additional investment in edge tiles for this reason alone.
Just as the tile itself can come in a variety of styles, the grout can come in a variety of colors. Be sure to compare and contrast with the tiles you are planning to lay. The most common colors are white and light grey. Don't panic when you are applying the grout and see that the color appears different than what you thought it was originally, like paint it will usually dry slightly different than the wet color. Be sure to get the appropriate quantity for the job, this will vary widely depending on the size and number of the spaces between the tiles. Normally, you will also want grout sealer. Check the label for necessary amounts.
Some tiles come with ridges which create the separation between the tiles. However, in order, to maintain even spaces, spacers may be needed. You may buy plastic spacers, but a large number of any small regular sized objects will do. I have even used finishing nails between tiles when they seemed to provide the optimum distance.
When you have gathered tools and materials, it time to make your preps.