Should you install tile yourself? Installing tile in Westchester and Stamford.

By
Home Builder with Floor Coverings International - Westchester NY & Stamford CT WC19920-H07 HIC619252
http://actvra.in/47s

Should you install tile yourself? Tile is the one flooring surface that so many do-it-yourselfers think they can install themselves (or they have a friend who can do it). And, tile is also the one surface, moreso than any other surface, where I see such a wide spectrum of skills and some VERY messed up tile jobs, so this is a big watch-out.

brick porcelain tile

 

Because tile is so labor expensive, it is the most expensive surface to install. And, because it’s more expensive, it’s one of the areas customers try to save on, especially these days. Sometimes these jobs are done by do-it-yourselfers, sometimes by handymen, sometimes by people who are handy. Regardless, this can sometimes lead to major issues, and personally I think it’s best to have a professional tile installer help you.

 

By far, the biggest issue is the one area inexperienced installers don’t see or don’t know about and that is floor prep. Your tile is only as good as the subfloor and the prep underneath it! If you haven’t done this correctly, it doesn’t matter how much you’ve saved on your labor or how good your tile laying skills are, or how great a deal you got on those tiles as they will surely crack.

What sorts of issues can happen?

  • Most common issue is cracking. And, this happens often – usually not right away, but sometimes 1-2 yrs later; sometimes 5-10 yrs later. Most common reasons for this are because someone installed on top of plywood or a wood surface and/or because floor is uneven. Floor prep and leveling is super important. If you don’t do it, you’ll be sorry. I can’t even tell you how many jobs we have seen where the tile is cracked, and it’s obvious to me why it’s happened – no floor prep. This is even more important in Northeast and mid-Atlantic areas where homes are older and tend be less level.

 

  • Uneven tile laying – you should always use spacers. I have seen many sloppy jobs – tile and grout lines uneven. I also see lots of sloppy cuts around the edges and the trim and missing transitions. It’s quite sad. Looks terrible no matter how nice the tile is.

 

  • Improper lay out and spacing. My installers measure and center. So whether it’s a floor or a bathroom wall or backsplash, we measure to see how the tile will lay out. We center it in the room so you don’t have ½ pieces on one side of the room or your design or border hitting the electrical outlets.

 

  • Grout lines that are too large – Ugh. Every time I see large grout lines, my nose starts to cringe as this looks so dated. But, so often, this is just done by someone inexperienced and not up-to-date on the trends. Thinner grout lines look nicer, last longer and are easier to clean and maintain. 

 

  • Wrong or no trim pieces. When finishing off tile, especially in a bathroom, you need to have bullnose or wallnose pieces for smooth transition to the wall. Otherwise, it just looks unfinished and it’s obvious that it was done by an amateur. 

I could go on about other issues, but I think this is enough for now. If you’re considering installing tile flooring in your bathroom or adding a tile floor in your kitchen, please consider calling a professional. If you are in Westchester, NY or Fairfield, CT counties, please free to give us a call at Floor Coverings International 914-937-2950. We also have branches in most other parts of the US and Canada.

Posted by

The Flooring Girl logo

 

Debbie Gartner - Westchester Hardwood Flooring

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Debbie Gartner, "The Flooring Girl" and owner of Floor Coverings International, Westchester NY

 

Angie's List Super Service Award winners for 4 years in a row.

 

You can download our free flooring guide.  Or, visit our flooring selector - 2,000 options.  We install hardwood flooring, carpet and runners, tile floors and backsplashes.  We also refinish hardwood floors.

 

Call us for a free estimate 914-937-2950.

"We bring the store to your door."

If you enjoyed what you are are reading, feel free to subscribe to blog to my blog.

WC19920-H07, HIC619252

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Re-Blogged 3 times:

Re-Blogged By Re-Blogged At
  1. Mark Woodward 09/03/2010 08:23 AM
  2. Jeanean and David Gendron 09/03/2010 10:57 AM
  3. Chris Smith 07/16/2011 12:23 PM
Topic:
Home Improvement
Location:
New York Westchester County White Plains White Plains Home Improvement
Groups:
Westchester Real Estate Network (WREN)
Keller Williams 'Rainers
Connecticut Professionals
Addicted to Active Rain
Tags:
tile installation
porcelain tile
ceramic tile
westchester
stamford
doityourself tile installation

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Rainmaker
575,760
Valerie Zinger
House Proud Ottawa-Ontario-Canada - Ottawa, ON
Home Organizer

Debbie - this is an excellent article.  Thank you so much.  My husband and I tiled a very small entrance and learned that we will never do it again.  As you said, there are many ways to mess up -  uneven lines and grouting are at the top of my list.  Thank you for this blog. 

Sep 03, 2010 07:16 AM #1
Rainmaker
1,727,206
Debbie Gartner
Floor Coverings International - Westchester NY & Stamford CT - White Plains, NY
The Flooring Girl - Westchester hardwood flooring

Valerie - Thank you so much for your comment.  I really appreciate that.  yes, if it's your first time attempting this, it can be even worse.

Sep 03, 2010 07:30 AM #2
Rainmaker
358,562
Scott Hayes
(512) 786-8300 - Austin, TX
Realty Austin, Broker Associate

Debbie- I have a friend who installed his own flooring two years ago, because he wanted to save money on labor. Needless to say, it hasn't been completed. and wont for the foreseeable future.

One of our mutual friends in Rockland County, near you, likes to do the same thing. When he and his wife move to Westchester, I'll be sure to give them your number. He will sure want a fixer upper, and at least you can assure one of his projects are completed.

Sep 03, 2010 08:10 AM #3
Ambassador
611,919
Jeanean and David Gendron
Real Living, Real Estate Professionals - Redding, CA
Specializing in Selling Unique Properties

Hello Debbie, I had a client that installed his own tile and we ended up with 1/4" diagonal gap in the dining room. Had to disclose and that room made you feel dizzy. Reblogging this and thank you for this good work.

Sep 03, 2010 10:55 AM #4
Rainmaker
1,727,206
Debbie Gartner
Floor Coverings International - Westchester NY & Stamford CT - White Plains, NY
The Flooring Girl - Westchester hardwood flooring

Scott - LOL, I hear that so often.  It's on the "honey do" list which never gets completed.  I have one wife who got so annoyed w/ her husband that she has now written on the walls pointing out all the things he still needs to do - now this was the most creative approach I had ever seen - much better than nagging.  Oh, and thx so much for passing along my contact info.  Yes, Rockland is right next door.  My office is 10 mins away from the bridge.

Jeanean - OMG, oh, that stinks.  That's too bad that it is dizzying.  Oh, and thx for the reblog.  I really appreciate that.

Sep 03, 2010 11:45 AM #5
Rainmaker
495,586
Lora "Leah" Stern 914-772-4528
Coldwell Banker, 170 N Main Street, New City NY 10956 - New City, NY
Real Estate Salesperson

Debbie, Ive always used professionals when laying tile - but even the professionals are not all very professional.  We extended our dining room and the room still sports cracked tiles all along the extension line due to faulty floor prep.  When floors are not properly prepped you haven't saved a penny and if the job needs redoing, then in addition to the cost of the tiles, you've got the mess involved in picking up the old and then properly laying the new.

Sep 03, 2010 01:09 PM #6
Rainmaker
734,808
Debbie Walsh
Keller Williams Realty - Middletown, NY
Hudson Valley NY Real Estate 845.928.8000

Debbie-such a great post.  You can always tell when tile hasn't been done by a professional.  And once it is done it is so hard to have it fixed without major work being done.   Always check references and prior work on tile people. 

Sep 03, 2010 04:02 PM #7
Rainmaker
1,727,206
Debbie Gartner
Floor Coverings International - Westchester NY & Stamford CT - White Plains, NY
The Flooring Girl - Westchester hardwood flooring

Leah - Yes, you are absolutely right.  Floor prep is critical.  "Real" professionals know that.  You should always check references.  And, I think AngiesList is an amazing resource - you can really get objective opinions from real customers - both positive & negative.

Debra - Thank you.  Yes, you really can tell the difference.  And, yes, completetly agree - always check references.  And, that's even more important for tile work.

Sep 03, 2010 04:39 PM #8
Rainmaker
1,269,137
Jay Markanich
Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC - Bristow, VA
Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia

Excellent post!  I had an inspection not long ago in a bathroom with a new tile job.  They apparently started on the right side, which ended up under the cabinet, and ended on the left side, right at the tub.  There was 1 1/4" of grout beside the tub.  Now how long is that going to last?

You can always tell when no sub floor was added under the tile because of the cracking in front of the fridge and often the range.

Do you have references?

 

 

Kidding...

Sep 03, 2010 09:10 PM #9
Rainmaker
1,727,206
Debbie Gartner
Floor Coverings International - Westchester NY & Stamford CT - White Plains, NY
The Flooring Girl - Westchester hardwood flooring

Oh no, inch and 1/4?  They'll prob. be using a lot of caulk at some point.

And, yes, I proactively give out references - a list of 36 customers.  List needs to be updated (when I can find time) w/ another 10-20 that have either asked to be on there.  I encourage my customers to call them because I want them to feel comfortable.  I print out my Angies List and Service Magic reviews for them, too.

Sep 03, 2010 09:20 PM #10
Rainmaker
1,269,137
Jay Markanich
Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC - Bristow, VA
Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia

You have many good references!  I was teasing you.  You originally posted this in Nevada Real Estate.  You just get to New York?

Sep 04, 2010 06:01 AM #11
Rainmaker
1,727,206
Debbie Gartner
Floor Coverings International - Westchester NY & Stamford CT - White Plains, NY
The Flooring Girl - Westchester hardwood flooring

Oops.  No, just tired.  Must have selected Nevada instead of NY.  I'll go fix it.  I'm orig from NY, but have lived in NH, DC, Chicago, Cincinnati, CT and now back in NY.

Sep 04, 2010 06:43 AM #12
Rainmaker
1,727,206
Debbie Gartner
Floor Coverings International - Westchester NY & Stamford CT - White Plains, NY
The Flooring Girl - Westchester hardwood flooring

Oh, no, I stand corrected.  I'm now a contributor for Renee's blog in Nevada which I think is why it's coming up that way.  Just learned about this feature in AR University.  So, soon I might ask some others to contribute to my outside blog.  I still need to finish setting it up.

Sep 04, 2010 06:46 AM #13
Rainmaker
1,269,137
Jay Markanich
Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC - Bristow, VA
Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia

I need to go to that university!  And I remember you lived in DC and Arlington.  You never stopped by, you never called?  Sheesh...

Sep 04, 2010 07:05 AM #14
Rainmaker
1,727,206
Debbie Gartner
Floor Coverings International - Westchester NY & Stamford CT - White Plains, NY
The Flooring Girl - Westchester hardwood flooring

LOL - Well, you didn't send me flowers, so what was a girl to do?

Oh, and yes, I would attend some of those - they have them each week.  I have a hunch the first one (which I missed) is really basic but I learned some good tips from each of the others. 

Sep 04, 2010 07:11 AM #15
Rainmaker
575,751
Chris Smith
Re/Max Chay Realty Inc., Brokerage - New Tecumseth, ON
South Simcoe, Caledon, King, Orangeville Real Esta

Great article Debbie, I have re-blogged this in conjunction with a more recent blog of yours for continuity.

Jul 16, 2011 12:25 PM #16
Ambassador
545,645
Peter Pfann @ 1 Percent Realty Victoria, and Pay-Less For Victoria Real Estate Results!
1 PERCENT REALTY, Victoria BC www.1percentrealtyvictoria.com - Victoria, BC
Talk To Peter 250-213-9490 www.pay-lessrealty.com

Hi Debbie,

We could have used your help a few weeks ago, "before" we tiled about 1,500 sqft in our basement rental suite.....we love your posts, you are always flooring us with your knowledge about floors.

Jul 16, 2011 02:16 PM #17
Rainmaker
1,727,206
Debbie Gartner
Floor Coverings International - Westchester NY & Stamford CT - White Plains, NY
The Flooring Girl - Westchester hardwood flooring

Chris - Oh wow, thx so much.  I really appreciate that.

Peter & Linda - Next time call me before..I may be able to find someone in your area to help you.  And, thank you for the kind words.  That means so much to me.

Jul 16, 2011 05:03 PM #18
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