Cutting Your Own Tiles

Posted by on Sep 25, 2015 in Ceramics, Knowledge | Comments Off on Cutting Your Own Tiles

Cutting Your Own Tiles

Installing tile floors can be very expensive. Whether you’re remodeling a bathroom, kitchen or washroom, tiles tend to make some of the best floors in places where water reaching the floor is a regular issue. This is why you don’t tend to see many bathrooms with carpeting. Getting back to the tile though, it can sometimes be very expensive, with prices in the $10 + range per square foot. It all depends on the material in the tile – or at least that’s what manufacturers would have you believe. Ceramic tiles, which are some of the best, can also be some of the cheapest if you cut your own.

To begin, you’ll first want to get your hands on some ceramic sheets. These aren’t sheets like you might put on a bed or the back of a chair though – they are flat panels made of ceramic material, more akin to drywall than a bed sheet. These ceramic sheets can be purchased at most home improvement stores and easily found online as well, so locating them shouldn’t be a problem. The real issue is cutting tiles from those sheets once you have them. You need a tool which is both powerful but gentle, something which can make the cuts without destroying the materials.

Cutting Your Own TilesThis is where a reciprocating saw comes into the equation. If you don’t know what those are, you can always see examples here to get a better idea what sort of tool you’ll need. While they were designed specifically for quick cuts that don’t need to look very good, nobody would leave a sawed surface without sanding it clean and flat if they wanted the job to be done well in the first place anyhow. This saw will cut the ceramic sheet into whatever sized squares (or other shapes) you might need. But that’s not the end of the project.

What good is a tile floor with cracks, or jagged bits that might cut your feet when you walk on it? Well it’s not good for much, anyhow. But sanding was already mentioned. Additionally, you’ll need to prepare a grout mixture to keep tiles flat and even on the floor once you put them down. If you’re working in an area where old tile needs to be removed, you’ll probably need to scrape up plenty of existing grout under the current floor before you can put down new tiles. This will allow for the best possible adhesion to the floor surface.

With the tiles cut, sanded and set, you only have one decision left to make. Most ceramic sheets are flat, sure, but they’re not exactly smooth on the surface. This is excellent for the side being fastened to the floor, since that rough surface makes for a great bond. But do you want the upper surface, the one you’ll be walking on, to be rough as well? It could be a good choice if you don’t want to risk slipping on wet tiles. It’s really just a matter of preference though.