HomeownerHelpful Info: Home Improvement

Tile Installation

Tile Installation Educational Content

There is a wide variety of tile available at an equally wide range of prices. Sometimes, a higher price indicates better durability. But in most cases, a high price point just means that the tile is detailed and could require more skill to install. Cheaper tile is typically just as water resistant and easy to clean as expensive tile. In other words, more expensive tile is not necessarily a better choice.

Many tile contractors bid their jobs with a tile allowance. This means that you don’t necessarily need to select your tile before signing a contract for home remodeling work. Rather, you can select the tile later, and the price of the job will be adjusted accordingly. When you’re ready to choose tile, lean on the expertise of your contractor and the tile store employees. You can even pick some samples with your contractor, if they’re available to help you. Their experience with and knowledge of the different types of tile can help you narrow your selections.

Tile is popular for bathrooms and kitchens because it wears well and is easy to maintain. These rooms see a lot of moisture and foot traffic, so tile is the natural choice for its water resistance and durability.

Different areas of your house may require slightly different tiling processes. On walls that will be dry, the installer will attach the tile to the drywall with special adhesives. For bathroom walls that will typically stay dry, the installer will attach the tile to greenboard. Greenboard is a mildew-resistant drywall product. Blueboard is a similar material to greenboard. The main difference is that blueboard isn’t water resistant. Blueboard works better in kitchens and other dry areas. Water-resistant cement board is another common option. It is heavier than greenboard and blueboard, but it’s smooth and solid. This smooth surface is great for tile.

Cracks. Cracking is the most common problem with tile floors. Tile is strong, but it can be brittle. If it isn’t installed on a solid, even surface, tile can crack. A tile floor must have a solid subfloor. Conventional wooden subfloors flex slightly when they’re walked on. This means that these types of subfloors might need reinforcement before installing tile on top.

Water damage. In a tiled space that will get wet often, it’s normal for some water to permeate the grout. The key to preventing water damage is installing waterproof backer board and vapor barrier. The backer board and vapor barrier must be installed (and installed correctly) before the tile goes up.

Loose tiles. Movement in the substrate, like shrinkage in a cement slab or warping in a wooden subfloor, can also cause tile to come loose over time. The tile needs to be installed with enough adhesive. The grout should also have control joints to allow the tile to move without loosening.