Tiling (my tiling past)

I know all about tiling. I’ve done all types of tiling. My spine doesn’t miss it a tiny bit… Nowadays I stick to tile and grout restoration ONLY. I can still provide tiling services across Auckland, but usually only if it’s a part of bigger restoration project. Get in touch to discuss.

tiling services Auckland

Tiling a patio at 24 Shelly Beach Rd, Auckland, Anno Domini 1994

Sandstone tiles are crafted from slabs hewn from a rock face, with the top polished while the bottom retains irregular bumps. Tile thickness varies from 12mm to 40mm. The tiling process involves sorting tiles by bottom surface imperfections, such as paddocks and humps on a concrete base. Each tile demands varying amounts of adhesive to achieve a flat surface, ensuring consistently impeccable results. Sandstone excels in forming flat surfaces compared to other tiles paradoxically due to its inherent imperfections. This necessitates meticulous attention from start to finish during tiling. Ongoing maintenance is essential for sandstone, akin to other stone tiles. Regular washing with hot water and neutral cleaning agents is recommended, avoiding scrubbing or abrasive cleaners to prevent scratching. Exercise caution with metal or plastic parts of vacuum cleaners, as they can leave marks on the stone’s surface. Avoid leaving metal objects on the stone surface unless non-corrosive, as rust stains are challenging to remove and may require acidic solutions, posing a risk of damage to the stone material.

tiling patios

An example of my tiling and sealing

Terracotta is often the preferred tile for those seeking a homely atmosphere. However, before committing, there are several important considerations to keep in mind. Terracotta tiles are not intended to be flawless; there can be up to a 10mm difference in sizes within the same batch, and the top surface may exhibit curvature with one or several corners either up or down. Additionally, the sides of terracotta tiles rarely form perfect squares, making it challenging to achieve straight gaps and a flat surface. A tiling technique involves creating the illusion of perfection when viewed from eye level, a task best suited for experienced tilers.

Terracotta tiles come in various types, with some exact in size and shape, typically imported varieties. However, as the old adage goes, what you pay is what you get.

To prevent dirt saturation, terracotta tiles should be sealed with a penetrating sealer. It’s important to note that top-finish sealers are not recommended for outdoor use. While some customers prefer a gloss finish, it’s crucial to warn against amateur application of top-finish sealers, as correcting sealing mistakes involves the lengthy and costly process of stripping the sealer coating.

tiling bathrooms

Another example of tiling and sealing

Mexican paving, often considered one of the most “spiteful” materials ever invented, consists of handcrafted tiles baked in the scorching heat of the sun. Each tile is unique, lacking uniformity and often featuring a characteristic hump in the middle. However, far from detracting from their appeal, these imperfections can add a touch of individuality and sophistication to your home.

Yet, the challenges don’t end with achieving a decent surface and orderly gaps; tilers face an uphill battle when it comes to grouting. The tiles’ high level of porosity necessitates multiple coatings with a penetrating sealer—up to five times—before grouting can commence. Unsealed Mexican paving rapidly absorbs water from the grout, rendering the mixture akin to a pile of sand before it can be properly applied in the gaps. Staining poses yet another hurdle, as water from the grout can penetrate the tiles, leaving stubborn, deep-seated marks.

Installation is no less demanding. Tiles must first be soaked in water to prevent the adhesive from drying out prematurely. Dust particles left on the tiles can compromise adhesion, requiring thorough wiping with a sponge before applying adhesive to the tile surface. Merely spreading adhesive onto the floor surface is insufficient; it must be meticulously forced into the tile pores to ensure a secure bond.

commercial tiling project

Commercial Tiling

You’re looking at a tiled fountain located in the Queens Arcade, just off Queen Street in Auckland Central. It’s a prime example of hard work paying off without any letdown. Building this fountain involved days of precise cutting and careful adjustments, as evidenced by the variety of angles incorporated into its design.