Steven Rowe, aka Tidy Tiling Service, answers our questions about what to consider before tiling your bathroom
What are some of the trends you’re seeing in bathroom tiles?
Steven Rowe: The trend seems to be using larger (600 x 600mm) floor tiles for small rooms like bathrooms. Although these may visually expand a small space, the larger tiles are difficult to work with because they are easily damaged due to the customised cutting. This can also be expensive because you end up wasting excess cut tile pieces.
Floor-to-ceiling tiles look amazing, but do they cost a bomb to install?
Tiling a wall from floor to ceiling is always going to be expensive because you’re increasing the total tile area. It’s important to keep in mind that floors and ceilings are never completely level, so you’ll always have to cut more pieces to fit.
Can tiling be a DIY job or is it best left to the professionals?
When laying tiles there are several things to keep in mind. Unlike painting, once the tiles are cut and placed, it’s next to impossible to move them unless you destroy them and start over. Before starting your project, it’s critical to set up the job for your customised tile sizes – tiling requires the use of specific equipment like a diamond blade and angle grinder. To avoid injury, it’s important to have experience using these kinds of tools.
Lastly, the key finishing touches are properly grouting and adding silicone between the tiles. For a top-quality job, my advice is to go on builderscrack.co.nz, read the reviews of experienced and qualified tilers, then post your job for available professionals to respond with a quote.
Is it best to get your tiler to supply tiles or get them yourself?
Most of the time tilers will suggest shops and suppliers for their customers to choose from. There are so many different types, colours, sizes and textures of tile, it’s easiest for the customer to pick what suits them best. Tilers will usually advise their customers what to watch out for when buying the tiles. Certain tiles are more suited for bathrooms, given the heavy use and moisture build-up. For bathrooms, be sure to avoid tiles that have lots of texture as they accumulate more dirt and grime.
How should you look after tiles and grout in the bathroom to prevent mould build-up?
A sealer will do the job! This is something that can be done easily after the tiler has finished. To protect the tiles from stains, mould and cracking, apply a thin layer of mould-resistant silicone. After years of wear and tear it will help to reapply a new layer of silicone. Before laying a new layer of silicone, clean off all the dirt and moisture build-up with a brush so the silicone sticks to the grout properly.
What are some of the main do’s and don’ts when it comes to tiling in the bathroom?
It’s important to have the right floor drain for shower installs and shower trays. Experienced tilers should know how to fit drains properly. If installed incorrectly it can lead to leaking showers and tile cracks. To avoid spacing and sizing issues, measure out the space accurately, leaving a space between tiles for grout. If you are tiling a wall, it’s easiest to lay out the tiles from the ceiling down so your cut tiles are at the bottom.
What are some of the things that can go wrong when tiling in the bathroom?
One of the biggest things that can go wrong when tiling a bathroom is the tile cracking. To avoid this happening, be sure the surface you are laying the tile onto is clean, smooth and solid. After completing an entire bathroom project, the last thing you want to do is replace tiles that are loose or cracked. Take some time sanding the floors and walls before laying the tiles to ensure the surface is strong enough to support the tiles and withstand everyday bathroom use.
What are the pros and cons of black tiles?
They are practical and, when installed correctly, can look amazing. When choosing them, go for porcelain tiles which are black all the way through; this way, if they are chipped it will be hard to see any damage.
We found Auckland-based Steven Rowe via builderscrack.co.nz, an online marketplace where homeowners can post jobs and builders and tradespeople can chase jobs, provide quotes and win work.
Words by: Kristina Rapley. Photography by: Nick Watt, Prue Ruscoe, Maree Homer and Michael Gordon Hill\Bauersyndication.com.au