Tile Laying for the Home Handyman
You always have the option of paying someone to tile your own floors. However, when building my last two homes I have saved on average $5000.00 by tiling myself. The next few paragraphs provide tips and tricks on how to tile for yourself.
Don’t be fooled by all the fancy advertising for tiles on sale. I have found some ceramic floor tiles in one shop at $45 per square meter, and only just up the road at another shop, the exact same ceramic floor tile (matching serial number) for only $17 per square meter! This is by far the most expensive cost for tiling, the cost of the tiles themselves.
Other materials include the tile adhesive, tile grout, adhesive spreader tool, mixing attachment for your drill, a power drill, tile cutter, buckets and old rages. The best tip I have had for all my own building or landscaping jobs is how useful $1 buckets are to have handy. They can be used to carry items, store items, mix products, carry water, and can be replaced easily and cheaply at only $1 or less each. Another tip is to never throw out your old shirts and pants. If they have holes in them, rather than use them for land fill, cut them up into small square that can be used for rags.
For example, a house requiring 140 square meters of tiles, cost myself $2400.00. The adhesive seems to work out at one $25 bag per 10 square meters (total cost $350.00) and tile grout at one $15 bag per 25 square meters (total cost $90.00). The most expensive tool would or could be the tile cutter as they range from $25 to $400. I have easily produced great tile cuts with a $75 tile cutter which I have been using now for more than 10 years without problems. Total cost with all the extra tools would be around $3000.00.
If I paid someone to professionally lay these tiles it would cost around $35 per square meter. That is a total of $4900.00 for something I believe I can accomplish myself over 10 days of tiling. In other words, I can pay myself almost $500 per day to tile. Not bad pay if you can get it!
When tiling always take time to stand back and look at your work. This will give you an idea on how straight your tiling is, and also allow you to stretch your back. I always lay my tiles as full tiles first, then come back and cut tiles for the edges of my tiling areas. In areas that require very difficult cuts, like around drains and pipes, many shops offer to cut tiles for you, and for only a dollar or two per cut can save you hours on tiling time. Also remember to only create enough adhesive to cover say 3 to 4 square meters at a time or you will end up with dry adhesive that is hard to spread. The adhesive and laying of tiles can take 24 hours, before you can grout your tiles. Tile grout can take up to 24 hours to cure and harden.
Please remember that since you are tiling, and that you are the person cutting tiles, you can choose special colorful feature tiles like a mosaic tile to incorporate into your tile design. Having a professional tiler can cost so much extra money for these few extra hours of work.
When the work is finished, clean the tiles with a soft damp cloth and polish with a clean dry cloth. Now stand back and admire your own handy work. Another bonus is having all the tools and left over products to repair your own floors if they are ever damaged!