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 a patio at 24 Shelly Beach Rd, Auckland, Anno Domini 1994
Sandstone tiles are manufactured from slabs chipped from a rock face. The top of a slab is polished. The bottom part remains untouched, full of irregular bumps. The thickness of tiles can range between 12mm and 40mm. The process of tiling with this particular material starts from sorting it according to the bottom surface imperfections (paddocks and humps in a concrete base). Every tile requires a different amount of adhesive in order to form a flat surface. The result is always perfect. It is easier to form an absolutely flat surface with sandstone than any other tile. What is the logic behind it? Due to the imperfection of the material, a tiler must concentrate on building a proper surface from the very beginning till the end of a job. Sandstone requires ongoing maintenance just like any other stone tile. It should be washed frequently. Use hot water with neutral cleaning agents. No scrubbing, no abrasives. The sandstone can be scratched quite easily. Be careful with metal or plastic parts of vacuum cleaners. Those can leave marks on the stone’s surface. NEVER leave any metal objects on stone surface unless you are 100% sure they are non corrosive. Rust stains are hard to remove and require the use of acid, which presents a risk of damage to any stone material.
An example of my tiling and sealing
Terracotta would be the tile of choice for someone who prefers a homely atmosphere. However, there are several issues you must consider before you commit. Those tiles are not meant to be perfect. There can be up to a 10mm difference in tile sizes from the same batch! Top surface of those tiles can be curved (one or several corners up or down). The sides of terracotta tile hardly ever form a perfect square. Considering all that, it is impossible to form straight gaps. The same applies to building a flat surface. A tiling trick is to make terracotta appear perfect from an eye level position. Only a tiler with a decent amount of experience should handle this material.
Terracotta tiles come in various types, and some of them are exact in size and shape – mostly imports. It’s the old nasty rule again- what you pay is what you get.
To avoid saturation with dirt, this tile should be sealed with a penetrating sealer. It is not recommended to use top finish sealers for outdoor applications. Some customers insist on gloss finish. WARNING – top finished sealer should not be applied by amateurs. The only way to fix sealing mistakes is stripping sealer coating. That is a long, costly process…
Another example of tiling and sealing
Mexican paving- an example of the most “spiteful” material ever invented! Those are hand made tiles baked in the heat of the sun. There isn’t a tile that is the same as another. All of them tend to have a hump in the middle. Do you think that makes them less appealing when the project is finished? They can add unique style and class to your home. On top of the pains of forming a decent surface and keeping gaps in reasonable order a tiler has to put up quite a fight to grout this thing. Porousness of those tiles is extremely high. Mexican Paving has to be coated up to 5 times with a penetrating sealer before any grouting is possible. The unsealed Mexican Paving absorbs water from the grout within seconds. The grout mixture becomes a pile of sand before it can be squeezed properly in the gaps. Staining is another issue. When the water from the grout soaks into the tile, it can leave deep stains behind. That’s not all… The same problems occur during installation. Installation can be done only after the tiles have been soaked in water. Otherwise, the adhesive will dry out before it can bond with a tile. Dust particles left on tiles will impair adhesion. Consequently, there is not only soaking, but also wiping with a sponge before applying an adhesive to the tile surface. Spreading adhesive only on the floor surface is not enough. The adhesive must be forced into the tile pores.
You are looking at a tiled fountain in the Queens Arcade off Queen Street, Auckland central. That’s a good example of enduring pain, but not disappointment. This thing took days of cutting and fiddling. Just look at the amount of different angles.