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Tiling: worth paying for, or easy to DIY?

(20 Posts)
WantToGoingTo Sat 22-Nov-14 13:41:51

So we have had two quotes back for tiling a 9m2 floor with tiles we have already bought. The tiles are natural stone, a bit like slate in texture and require sealing. We also want to cut the tiles in two and use as skirting. The rooms is not quite square.

The two quotes we have are for £450 and £480. This seems ridiculously steep to me, or am I just naive?

Neither myself nor DH have any experience with tiling, but DH wants to research whether we could do a good job ourselves before parting with £450 as we have already paid £480 for the tiles alone! :O

Any advice re the difficulty of tiling for a complete novice would be greatly appreciated! We are hands on and willing to learn; we do all decorating ourselves (though agree completely different ball game), have cut down a large 20ft+ tree, landscaped our garden, done a little carpentry, DH is good with cars, fixed our hot water system, can do small electrical work e.g. wiring in plugs/sockets/lights. Not sure how these skills would translate to tiling though...

Are we mad to want to attempt it?


TeddyBee Sat 22-Nov-14 15:43:22

Is the floor totally flat? I don't mind wall tiling, but I've lived with badly laid floor tiles and they all cracked because the subfloor wasn't prepared properly. Cuts can be hard, you would probably want to hire a decent tile cutter. And important to make sure you don't end up with narrow tiles at the edges as they're a bugger to cut.

BaffledSomeMore Sat 22-Nov-14 15:52:41

I've tiled walls and that is relatively straightforward as long as you're slow and steady and do your prep.
Floor tiles seems like a less forgiving job requiring more prep. Not sure it's what I'd pick for my first go at tiling.

soaccidentprone Sat 22-Nov-14 15:56:43

It totally depends of what you are tiling onto.

Is it floorboards, concrete or something else?

Are there any pipes etc you may need to access at a later stage?

I don't think tiling is too hard, but cutting floor tiles can be difficult as they are quite thick, and it can be difficult cutting them exactly to size. You would be better using an electric tile cutter (you should be able to hire this.

If I was doing it myself, I would practice wall tiling first. Do you have something you could practice on first?

You would need to start in the middle of the room, and measure really accurately.

Unless you are super confident of doing a good job, I think I would bite the bullet and pay a professional.

Trazzletoes Sat 22-Nov-14 15:57:15

That quote seems comparable to what we've just paid to have our 12m square kitchen floor tiled. Except we ended up having to pay an extra £300 to have it levelled first as well. Which explains to some extent why the previous tiled floor was so badly cracked.

It's literally been finished an hour and I can't stop just standing in the doorway just looking at it. There's no way I could have done a job as well as he did.

angeltreats Sat 22-Nov-14 15:57:47

B&Q do free classes at some of their big stores, I think there's a separate class for tiling walls and floors. My husband did the wall tiling class and tiled our kitchen and bathroom walls and saved us a fortune.

Floors might be trickier though. We had a wet room downstairs with a sloping floor and it had to be very carefully levelled out, and the huge tiles I bought (800x800mm!) required a specialist cutter. We gladly paid someone to do it, it would have been far too much hassle for DIYers with limited experience.

CleanLinesSharpEdges Sat 22-Nov-14 15:59:01

What type of floor are you laying on to? You need a very very flat floor so if it isn't then you'll need to fix that first. You'll need a very very good tile cutter. Are going to need to make cuts around radiator pipes - that'll need a diamond hole saw - and what about doorframes - will you need to cut around them?

My DH is really good at DIY and will have a go at most things including tiling walls, but he paid someone to do our hall and kitchen floor.

ACheesePuff Sat 22-Nov-14 16:03:25

Just pay someone! Floor tiling is tricky as it has to be prepared and level and the tiles will have to be cut with a tile cutter which you will need to hire, borrow or buy, plus the cost of grout and adhesive.

StuntCodPiece Sat 22-Nov-14 16:56:08

Dh is v good at diy and his first attempt at tiling was a v small bathroom floor. He did an ok job BUT there were areas with a lot of grout to cover tricky tile cutting mistakes. As others have said, it isn't the best job to pick as a first attempt.

Dh has just done an amazing job tiling our new shower room though. White metro with grey grout. <irrelevant>

WantToGoingTo Sat 22-Nov-14 17:16:15

Hi all, thanks. It is a flat concrete floor, has a few nicks in it. Will relay avice back to DH and see what he says! I am swaying more to professional ;)

WantToGoingTo Sat 22-Nov-14 18:17:09

Also, no pipes to cut around, no doorframes to cut around - it will all be square shapes, though the patio doors are at an angle, hence it not being quite square. Previous tilers who quoted said we did not need to use self levelling stuff, but not sure whether that is because they would have skill to make it level enough, or because it genuinely doesn't need it.

Liara Sat 22-Nov-14 20:07:31

If you are doing stone tiles onto a concrete floor, make sure you put glue both on the floor and on the tiles.

Have a long ruler around to help keep you straight, spacers can be used but natural stone may vary a little in size from tile to tile, so having a straight line to keep checking you are straight is helpful.

How thick are the tiles? The main issue will be cutting them, sometimes natural stone is too thick for a tile cutter and you may be better off with an angle grinder, but freehand cutting with an angle grinder is very tricky and not something I would advise a beginner. If they are thin enough to cut with a manual or electric tile cutter you should be fine, I think.

Liara Sat 22-Nov-14 20:08:53

I have to say I find tiling floors a lot easier than walls. I have done loads of both.

LadyKooKoo Sat 22-Nov-14 20:16:23

I would always get tiles laid professionally but the price you have been quoted sounds extortionate to me! £53 a square metre! Does that include adhesive and grout? We paid for 8 square metres a few weeks ago and it was £280.

daisyswirl Sat 22-Nov-14 21:14:07

Dh is a tiler..he charges £30 per sq m..we are north west. The price seems a bit high but if you're down south maybe not so? He also uses big wet cutters when cutting stone..not sure how thick your tiles are. He says that your floor needs to be totally flat otherwise it will show in the tiles and as your room is not square your setting out needs to be thought out so you don't have ood cuts.

WantToGoingTo Sat 22-Nov-14 22:11:18

Tiles are about a quarter of an inch thick.

The prices above include, grout, adhesive, and sealing the tiles twice. Also includes addition of tile skirting, and silicon beeding at the join to the floor to prevent cracking due to changes in temperature.

This is sounding more tricky than initially anticipated...

wonkylegs Sun 23-Nov-14 08:24:53

I well laid floor is worth every penny.
I would get another quote from a different tiler for comparison - same work & check the quality.
I have a beautifully laid porcelain kitchen floor but it took the guys a lot of work to make it look as beautiful as it does. It was tiled before & looked flat but actually it was out in every direction when tested with a spirit level and as it's a long room the difference from one end to the other was actually nearly 2 inches. Not one wall was straight either so tiles laid out from the middle. Beautiful neat fine grouting too - makes a cheap tile look very expensive.

soaccidentprone Sun 23-Nov-14 10:37:24

I believe that tilers usually overestimate the number of tiles needed by 20%. If you did the job yourself you would probably 'waste' a far greater % than this.

Would you have enough tiles if it went a bit wrong and you had to start again. How much wastage have you allowed for?

If it's a small room, which is 'true', then it would be a lot easier.

You will probably need to level the floor before starting (which is actually a fairly easy job).

WantToGoingTo Sun 23-Nov-14 20:22:02

Thanks for all your advice, greatly appreciated.

After much debate we have agreed to go with the £480 guy, on the grounds that two other quotes were within that region. He was reliable (turned up early for quote), sent quote when he said he would and knew about the type of tiles we had chosen. Also lots of good reviews. The £450 guy did not send quote when he said he would, we had to chase, and he had to ask the tile shop about the tiles because he didn't know what they were. We figured the £30 in it was probably not much to pay for workmen that on the face of it seem more reliable!

My experience with workman so far - if they wash their mugs after making tea they are a goodun! The little things are definitely what makes an impression (as well as the workmanship, clearly) but the attention to detail and being considerate makes them more likely to do a good job and take extra care IMO.

Fx it will be done and dusted by Christmas!

WantToGoingTo Sun 23-Nov-14 20:23:05

We were a bit put off about making a poor job of it; we have poorly laid tiles in our kitchen that have cracked (not done by us) and as we had spent so much on the tiles, we want to do them justice! ok, I may have had to persuade DH, he probably would have had a go if I wasn't in the picture...!

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