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5 DIY tile installation tips from a tile expert

5 DIY Tile Installation Tips From a Tile Expert

Congrats on your upcoming renovation! A home improvement project can do wonders to enrich the space around you - transforming your house from a simple dwelling into a luxe, relaxing sanctuary.

When you’re taking on something as important as a project to beautify and enhance your living space - as well as increase the value of your home - some professional advice is always a good idea. We recommend an interior design consultation... but we also know that you’re super busy.

To help you on your renovation journey, we picked the brain of a renowned tile sourcing and installation expert in hopes of making your life a little easier. 

Here are the top five tile installation tips they wanted us to share with you:

  1. *Design Before You Buy*

There are dozens of tile varieties on the market & it is so easy to fall in love with one (or ten) of them. When you have a bunch of gorgeous shiny, shimmery tiles smiling at you it can be hard to pump the brakes and slow down your project – but patience is imperative.

Designing the exact look you are trying to achieve is CRITICAL to ensure you are happy with the results. Prior to buying your tile, it’s time to let your creativity flow and get really clear about what you want.

Our expert recommends sketching out what you envision your perfect finished project looking like, and then considering the different preferences you have. For example:

  • If you are adding subway tilesto your bathroom, will you use a monochrome or two-tone pattern?
  • Will you mix hexagon tiles with chevron shapes, or do you prefer the uniformity of square tiles?
  • Is there a pattern you like, or are you willing to modify some things to make your project totally custom?

...and while we would totally LOVE an excuse to break out a sketch pad and colored pencils, we also know that in today’s world we have a plethora of options for home renovation inspo! Design magazines, such as Interior Design Magazine or Luxe, are a perfect starting point - and of course, browsing Pinterest and Houzz are ALWAYS a surefire way to get your creative juices flowing!

  1. *Materials Matter*

Before you purchase your renovation materials, pay close attention to the technical specifications which will let you know how the product can be used. Using the wrong tile could really mess up a good project, so again, patience is critical here. Make sure to read ALL the product information.

Your online tile store will likely have a section in the item description called “application” or “application suggestions” that will outline where the tile can be installed. Before you decide on a material, make sure to know:

  • Can it be used on walls only? Or floors?
  • If being used for flooring, does the material offer slip resistance?

Be especially careful about choosing materials for areas where the traffic will be a little higher, such as breezeways and kitchens. 

  1. *Consider Long-term Performance*

Some materials are simply easier to maintain over time. Some people prefer porcelain or ceramic tile flooring, rather than natural stone tilesor wood for this reason. It’s important to understand the care and maintenance of stone and tile before selecting. Here are some examples of what to think about before you purchase:

  • Possibility of Staining
    • If you want to use stone tile or mosaics for your kitchen backsplash, you'll need a dense material that’s not too porous – to help avoid stains. 
    • Soft stone types may stain if exposed to grease, dirty water or harsh chemicals. 
    • Porous limestone tiles are more likely to stain than dense marble tiles or porcelain tile flooring.

  • Abrasion Resistance
      • Materials with high abrasion resistance, or a higher Mohs scale rating, will be less likely to show signs of wear and tear. 

  • Honing
    • Some people don’t mind the look of a slightly worn material and prefer tiles that will hone over time. Is this a look you want to achieve?

    1. *Get Your Tool Box Ready*

    Tile installation is like any creative process – once you are ready to get started, it’s generally best to keep the momentum going and finish the project without interruption. So, it’s important to be prepared.

    For many, it’s easiest to hire a professional tile installer or sub-contractor. These individuals usually know how best to level the floor to help prevent chipping and cracking. (Note that ALL materials are prone to chipping and cracking if the floor isn’t level.)

    When cutting tiles is required, which is often the case, they can often cut the tile with more precision than the DIY’er. But – for those who prefer a DIY project, make sure you have these essential supplies before getting to work:

    • Work gloves.
    • Goggles.
    • Tile spacers.
    • Tile cutter.
    • Tape measure.
    • Level.
    • Notched trowel.
    • Plastic sheeting.
    • Measuring tape.
    • Buckets.
    • Mixing paddle.
    • Rubber grout float.
    • Power drill.

    (Luce di Ceramica | Teal | Ceramic Wall Tile | 8 x 8)

    1. *Finishing Touches*

    As a final design flourish, consider the details of your new room. For example:

    • Do you want to replace your light switch and outlet covers with new ones that complement your tile design?
      • In the kitchen, stainless steel plates look great with porcelain tile flooringor natural stone tiles.
      • In the bathroom, you might opt for decorative ceramic plates that complement your tile selection.
    • Do you want new drawer pulls & knobs?
      • This is a simple way to really add a lot of pizazz to a new room - and affordable too!


    Now that we’ve shared all those tips, we are even more excited for you! We know that when you put in the time and effort, you'll be proud of your beautifully finished project - but, most importantly, you don’t have to do this all alone.

    For a FREE design consultation, call your new besties at Mission Stone & Tile: 888.266.4925 or reach out via e-mailinfo@missionstonetile.com. We can’t wait to hear from you. Thanks for reading & happy renovating!

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