Tile Guru Vaults: Tiling Tools and How To’s

Taking on a tiling project, and got a question about tools? You’ve come to the right place. Below are some questions I’ve answered previously surrounding this matter. If you can’t see the answer you’re looking for, ask me directly at technicalhelp@wallsandfloors.co.uk and I’ll get back to you ASAP.

Drilling ceramic tiles

Q. How do I cut crackle glaze tiles without the glaze chipping?

A. Firstly, we’d recommend sealing the tile with LTP Crackle Glaze Protector. This will add extra bond to the crackled glaze surface and strengthen it prior to cutting. Use a manual “score and snap” to score the surface, but don’t apply too much pressure, as the weight can damage the glaze. Two subtle scores should be enough. Drop the breaker and you should have a nice clean cut. For angled cuts, score as above, the shape you want to take out. Using an electric wet cutter, line up the blade next to the score line, on the side that is to be discarded. This should cut cleanly as your previous score lines, will act a stopper, and prevent cracks travelling onto the good side.

Q. Can I drill a hole in a ceramic tile?

A. Yes. Holes for brackets for toilet roll holders, towel rails, soap dishes etc, can be done easily after the tiles have been fitted. Cover where you want the hole to be with masking tape and mark where you want the hole. Using a masonry drill bit and a hammer, gently tap and chip away the glaze. Once the glaze is dented, this should be sufficient to continue drilling at a SLOW speed. Holes for water pipes need to be measured out and cut before the tile is fitted, and require a hole cutter with a centre bit.

tiling tools

Q. What tiling tools do I need for the job?

A. This varies depending on whether you are tiling a wall or a floor. But the basic essentials consist of; Pencil, Tape Measure, Spirit Level, Mixing Bucket, Spacers, Trowel, Tile Cutter, Grout Float and a Sponge. If you were to open up the back of a professional tilers van, you may also find Laser Levels, Straight Edges, Set Square, Knee Pads, Drills and Tile Levelling Systems.

I hope these FAQ’s have answered your questions. If not, send your query to technicalhelp@wallsandfloors.co.uk and I’ll reply as soon as I can!

written by Paul Collins the Tile Gurur

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  • Catherine Worrall
    Catherine Worrall on January 11, 2016 at 2:11 pm
    I am hoping to revamp my bathroom BUT on a budget.... Currently I have the full room tiled in the large tiles half white and other half the same but with a slight grey vein running through. I have boarder tiles half way up the wall to break it up. Is there anyway I could just try and chip the border tiles off or would I be able to paint them ? I was thinking of a grey or metallic silver and then get the rest of the room grouted again but in grey !! What do you think ??
    • Paul Collins, Tile Guru
      Paul Collins, Tile Guru on January 13, 2016 at 4:10 pm
      Hi Catherine and thank you for your enquiry. Chipping out borders without damaging the adjacent tiles can be a very difficult job. But not impossible. It can be done by gently chipping away with a chisel and hammer. But the concern would be that it would leave a gap, meaning that you will need to find an alternative border of the exact same height to fill the gap. If you can send me the dimensions and the required style, I will have a look to see if we can supply one. Your other idea of painting is also a possibility, but you may need to lightly sand the existing glaze of the borders and use a proper tile paint. If you are going to re grout the room in grey (which I have seen done before and looks very good), whatever colour you paint the border may blend too much if the grout is the same colour. So try and use a contrasting colour to make it stand out. I hope this information is helpful, but if you have any further questions, please do not hesitate to contact me. Thanks
  • Chris Clifford
    Chris Clifford on June 6, 2016 at 10:56 am
    I have purchased the split face tile 13986, does the tile butt up to the next tile or are they staggered on the wall like brick laying. Also they have arrows on the back of the tiles is this indicating that they should all be facing the same way as the arrow is pointing and they have numbers on the back do they run concurrent (1,2,3,4). Thank you Regards Chris p.s these are lovely tiles and I will be purchasing again.

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