Too Hot to Be Outside? DIY Indoor Tile
When the thermostat reaches sweltering and it’s too hot to be outside, why not take a look around and see which indoor tile projects you’d like to tackle and DIY. Summer is a great time to spruce up your home and get it entertainment-ready for parties, intimate gatherings, and guests from out of town. From the outdated fireplace and kitchen-dining area to the entry way or powder room, tile can do wonders to make you feel refreshed and “wow!” your guests. Also, did we mention? It’s so much cooler indoors.
How to Choose the Best Indoor Floor & Wall Tile
Selecting the best indoor floor or wall tile has a lot to do with which room it’s going in. One that’s determined, there are three important things to look for before you buy tile: hardness, water resistance, and slip resistance. So, what do you need to DIY tile your entryway, kitchen, or bathroom? For starters, the right tile for the application.
Do you know water can cause unseen damage, and foot traffic and dirt will scratch certain tile? Do you truly understand what will work best in your space? We all use the internet to research and buy stuff, but what you don’t know about your tile can actually harm the longevity of your project and cause a costly re-do. This is too important to wing it, so be sure to consult with tile experts in person—like our full-time tile specialists at St. Louis Tile—from start-to-finish. Here are a few things to consider when choosing floor or wall tile and to help you prepare.
Tile & Room Factors to Consider
- Tile Hardness Check out the I-V Ratings on the Moh’s Scale. At the Level of I, tile is rated for zero-foot traffic, good for wall applications. IV and V are for moderate to heavy foot traffic. For entryways and kitchens, look to the higher end of the Moh’s scale.
- Water-Resistance a.k.a. tile porosity determines the amount of water a tile will absorb. A level of Impervious, is a good tile for bathrooms and kitchens since water will penetrate at .5% or less. At the opposite end, you have Non-Vitreous where water absorption is more than 7% and not recommended for flooring. All glass tiles are impervious, but not good for floors as they aren’t very hard.
- Slip Resistance Think about bathrooms and kitchens—and water. Even the best tile job can get ruined by slippery tiles. Smaller tiles are better for slip resistance as more grout generally means more resistance. Look for porcelain, stone, smaller mosaics, pebble stones, penny round, or even textured tiles. And be sure to consult with a St. Louis Tile expert—we can make sure you get a safe tile for these areas.
Indoor Tile: Styles from Trendy to Classic
Whether you’re a trendsetter or traditionalist, there’s a tile fit for every style. Mixing and matching several types of tile in one design will create visual interest and texture. It’s what takes a design from ordinary to extraordinary. Our design experts are here to help you make the most of your DIY tile design and bring your space to life! Check out these tile ideas and use your imagination to envision your new room.
- Wood-look tile is the newest classic. And it’s not just for floors! Add a focal wall in this delightful style. Thanks to high-tech imagery, wood-look tiles can mimic even the most exotic hardwoods. Save the trees and avoid the upkeep! Buy wood-look tile instead — you’ll love the ambiance.
- For trendsetters, add a little color. Check out mosaics, French or Italian ceramic tile (hand-painted, country charm, pictorial), or classic subway tile made current with color-aplenty as well as an updated elongated pattern.
- Stone tiles will accommodate earthy to luxe character, depending on what you pair them with. Whether it’s slate, travertine or marble, stone tile—ever in vogue—feels incredible underfoot. In addition, stacked stone tiles are great for fireplace and fireplace surrounds and will update the look easily and affordably.
- For great affordability, remember luxury vinyl tiles (LVT). Update a kids’ playroom and make it comfy at the same time. Softer than stone tiles with so many styles to choose from these are great for bare feet.
Remove Old & Prepare for New Tile
DIY’ers, break out the chisel. If you have existing tile and want it gone, this is one of those tasks that’s simply going to take a lot of sweat and effort. You can get into a rhythm, though, and depending on how well the tile is attached and what it’s attached to, there are ways to speed it along.
- Tools: Ball peen or masonry hammer, chisel, pry bar, long-handled floor scraper, possibly a sander to remove old grout from sub-floor.
- Clear the space: Remove baseboards, bath fixtures, appliances, furniture, etc. from the room.
- To remove floor tiles: Try chiseling along grout lines with chisel and hammer. Look for a gap in the tile—around a plumbing fixture, edge, etc.— if chiseling doesn’t do the trick, strike the tile with the hammer to break it up. Once the first tile is cleared, place the chisel or straight edge of the pry bar under an adjacent tile and tap with hammer. If the tile pops easily, continue by placing the straight edge under the next tile. If not, start the process over from the beginning. Make sure you clear down to the sub-floor, including the backer board. Unscrew as necessary.
- To remove wall tiles: Place pointed end of chisel on a grout line and tap with hammer along grout line until grout breaks. You’ll have to re-position it several times. Then rest chisel so the end is under the edge of the tile as much as you can get it and tap with hammer to get tile to lift. Depending on how well tiles were laid, this may require a lot/a little force.
- Start with a level base: Remember, beautiful new tile starts with a level base. Without it, your tile will not only look and feel uneven, but it may crack. Even the most expensive tile will crack on a base that isn’t level. This may require the use of a sander to smooth the sub-floor. Additionally, installing a cement backer board over a plywood subfloor is fairly standard. If you’re planning to tile a wet room, you might opt for a waterproof underlayment membrane.
St. Louis Tile Tip: Use heavy cardboard boxes for easy tile removal. Tile gets heavy quickly so clear your space as you go. Just fill box partially, check for weight, remove, and start another box.
Your Local Tile Shop for Supplies and Expertise
For a free expert tile consultation, a vast selection, and DIY supplies come on in and see us at St. Louis Tile. We’re here 7 days a week and into the evenings for your convenience. We’ll help you create a unique design plan, get you the right tile and supplies for your application, and be a valuable source throughout your project so that your design lasts for years to come.
If you decide DIY isn't for you, we have a referral network of reliable contractors and installers who can help you get just what you're dreaming of—without the hard work. Go ahead, drop in today or schedule a free consultation we’ll help you stay cool while you refresh your space or DIY inside. 636-220-3550