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Replacing Damaged Kitchen Tile

How do you know when it's time to re-tile your kitchen?  There are two good times:  If the floor you have has sustained some serious, or if you just want to create a brand new look for the room, you might consider laying some new tile.  In either case, a new tile floor will bring new life and a different personality to your kitchen.  You can have your tile installed the easy way -- hiring someone else to do it -- or you can have it done the chap way -- doing it yourself.  The rest of this article assumes you've decided to install the tile yourself.

First let's discuss what you'll need for this project. In order of important, you must have:

  • Tile. There are many styles and colors to choose from. Remember you should buy about 15% more tile that what it will take to lay the entire floor. This is because there will be breakage, and plus you will probably need filler for those last couple inches at the end of the project that aren't big enough for another entire tile.
  • Mastic, or tile adhesive.  There are different mastics for different rooms, so make sure the one you're buying is suitable for kitchen tile, otherwise you stand the chance of water from the sink ruining your new tile job.
  • One notched trowel for everyone who is helping with the project.
  • A tile saw
  • If you'll be cutting out any radiator pipes or similar holes, you'll need  diamond-hole.
  • Grout to fill in the crevices between the tiles.
  • A rubber or rubberized float. In case you're wondering, this is a rubber rectangle that has  a wooden handle and metal backing for applying the grout. (This is much better to use than a putty knife, which could scratch the tile faces.)
  • A tape measure that is long enough to reach from one corner to the opposite corner.
  • A bucket or pan full of warm (not hot) water.
  • A good-quality level.
  • A chalk-line.
  • An adequate supply of tile spacers.

Once you've got all the items you need, here's the process to follow.

  • Measure the width and length of the room with your tape measure. Get your square footage by multiplying these numbers. This will tell you how many tiles you need.
  • Determine where the center of the floor and wall is, then run your chalk line from there to the center of the wall across from it. Snap the chalk line. Then do it the other direction. Where the lines cross is the room's center, and where you'll start tiling.
  • Remove all baseboards, then check to make sure the entire floor is clean and smooth.
  • First, do a test run with the tile, laying it out in the pattern you want.  See how many tiles you will required, and put spacers between each tile to mark where they will go.  You will start from your center point and work out toward the walls.
  • Pick up the tiles and spread your adhesive on the bare floor with your trowel, starting from the center of the room.  Do only a small section at a time, raking with the trowell so your grooves are not too shallow or deep.  Once you've got adhesive on a decent size section of the floor, lay the tiles, pressing but now twisting them in. Set your spacer and go to the next tile.  Once you've filled in the section of the floor with adhesive, you may apply adhesive to another section, followed by placing the tile.
  • Use your level constantly to make sure your laying a completely level floor.  If there are any tiles not completely flat, level them out with a rubber mallet or a hammer.
  • When you reach the place where another full tile won't fit before you run into the wall, measure the distance, and cut parts of tiles to fill in those spaces.
  • Now mix your grout and apply it at a forty-five degree angle with your rubber float.  Work the grout in between all tiles.  With a sponge, wipe excess grout off the tile tops as you go. It's important that you clean it off before it dries.  Let the grout set for a week or more.
  • Finally, using a damp sponge or mop, clean any excess residue on the floor. You now have your brand new kitchen.
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