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01 March 2007

Buying Extra Tile

Whenever I measure the square footage of a room to tile I always add 10% and then buy however many boxes I need to get to that number. That normally leaves me with quite a bit of extra. All of this extra tile gets stored in the attic just in case, I mean, until I need it again.

Recently, I had some kitchen floor tiles that were moving on me. I simply pulled them up, scraped the old thinset off the subfloor, and reinstalled new ones. I even had some of the grout left over making for a seamless fix. Here is a recent article explaining a little more in depth why it is a good idea to have a little extra tile.

Store Your Extra Tile for Repairs by:
Dalton C. Reynolds

A bit of forethought when you tile a floor in your home can preserve the look of your floors and save you money in the future. After you have selected your new tile for a surface in your home, be it a kitchen counter, a living room floor or a bathroom from a local tile resource, you will have to have a tile installer measure the space to determine how much tile you will need for the job. Some people prefer to have the area measured before they begin their search. This just depends on whether you will be hiring the installer yourself or asking the tile company to recommend one. You might even be tiling the floor yourself and arrive at the tile store with your measurements. In any case, once your selection is made it is a good idea to talk to the store representative about buying a bit more tile than is needed for the job. There are many reasons for this which will be outlined next. When your new tile is selected you will take possession of a shipment which has been manufactured at the same time. This ensures that all of your tile will match. This is true of natural stones as well. Think of this as you would a dye-lot with respect to the manufacturing of carpet. While natural stone can vary from crate to crate, tile, with an artificial finish, will match in much larger quantities, but there is still color variation. Purchasing more tile than you need at the time of installation will ensure that anything that may have to be repaired in the future will have a replacement that matches the originally installed product. You can tuck these extra tiles safely away in the attic or basement until you need them. Failure to do this may result in 2 problems. The first problem would be having to find out if the tile is still in production if it has been years since the tile was installed. The second problem, even if the tile were still being produced, is would it match the original floor? A little planning ahead will save you time and the hassle of locating the same product. You can almost guarantee in the case of natural stone, that you will not be able to find a match with the same color and pattern. Any replacement you do with a non-original piece will always look replaced. If you do find that you need to replace a tile in the future, here are a few tips that will assist you. Whether water damage in a bathroom, or movement in the floor, sometimes a tile will need to be replaced. You might have noticed that when you walk on a tile, it will have a hollow sound underneath it. This means that bond between the tile and the adhesive that it is set in has broken. To replace this tile you will need to first remove the grout from around it. This can be done with a grout saw or similar tool. Always wear safety goggles to protect your eyes from any debris. Once the grout has been removed you will need to break the tile and remove the pieces. To break the tile uses a hammer and a chisel. Once the tile is shattered you need to pry any pieces which may still be adhered to the wall or floor. A sturdy, flathead screwdriver can be used to do this. Next you will need to chisel out the adhesive and clean the area in preparation for new adhesive and grout. If you are working on a wall, make sure that you are careful not to damage the drywall behind the tile. In some case this might need to be patched and replaced if moisture has compromised the wall’s integrity. You will not know until you get into the project. Cleaning the area is an essential step because you want the new tile to be level with the rest of the wall or floor. Once the area is free of adhesive you can then apply new adhesive and place the new tile in the open space. It is recommended that you use spacers that are the same size as the original grout lines. These can be obtained at a home improvement or hardware store. After the adhesive is dry, it is time to grout. It is best if you take a piece of the old grout and match it to what is currently available on the market. The color of grout has a tendency to age over time and you will want an exact match to avoid having the tile look like a patch job. Any questions you may have about replacing your tile should be directed to a quality tile installer or tile company. Plan ahead when tiling your home. Whether it is new construction or a new tile addition to an existing home, a few extra tiles will save you major frustration and make any repairs hard to detect.

About The Author

Dalton C. Reynolds is a contributing writer for http://www.atlantadesigndirectory.com and renovates homes for clients in the greater Atlanta, GA area. Copyright © 2006 Dalton C. Reynolds.

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