Tiling Mistakes to Avoid at DIY Time

Personal home renovation projects risk some pitfalls.

“Some home projects, including tiling, can be easy and fun. But no matter how experienced you might be, a number of things can still go wrong. If you want a quality installation job, do it right the first time,” advised Dean Dupre, owner of Champion Tile and Marble in Tampa Bay, Florida.

Frequently, would-be installers fail to prep their surface properly. If the surface is not smooth and completely clean, the tiles may not adhere to the wall or floor properly. Grouting needs to go on slowly and smoothly. Clumps dry unevenly and create an uneven final surface.

“Do not dot the corner of your tiles. This does not, contrary to popular belief, make the tile bond stronger. Instead, it ups the chances that the tile will crack when the adhesive shrinks while drying. And speaking of adhesive – choose the right one for the job, or you’ll have problems later,” added Dupre.

Without battens, tiles cannot be positioned correctly vertically or horizontally. Crooked lines create a haphazard-looking floor. Battens prevent installers from having to tear out tiles to start a job over again. Mistakes need to be caught early before the floor is completed. The sooner an error is caught, the easier it is to repair it without dealing with hardened grouting.

“Scrape off excess grouting carefully and accurately. You don’t want the floor to have spots where the grout is protruding up past the tiling. Nothing says “amateur” like a lumpy floor,” Dupre explained. “Before you begin, assemble the correct number of tiles and add about 12 extras in case something goes wrong.”

If a bathroom wall or shower stall is being tiled, ensure the top row of tiles is sealed correctly with the proper sealant. Water gets in behind improperly sealed tiles. Seal tubs only after filling them with water. Tubs move when filled, which can crack sealant in use later.

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