Too Much for a Novice? (18" Irregular Tiles) [Archive] - Ceramic Tile Advice Forums - John Bridge Ceramic Tile


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03-06-2007, 11:18 PM
Hi there, This is my first time posting but I've been reading the archives for the past few weeks.

I need your advice. i have a 10' x9.5' basement room that I am trying to tile. I spent a weekend scraping off cutback adhesive, and another one leveling out a dip in the floor.

And now I think the floor is ready. I started to chalkline in my layout lines and do a dry layout. 2 hours later I had laid out just 10 tiles. :cry:

Why? Because I am using a tile with irregular edges -- the "Tuscan Bone" porcelain tiles so common at Lowes. The tile I bought said 18x18. But the fine print on the box says 17.52 x 17.52. The tiles actually seem to measure something in between - around 17.75, but it's truly impossible to tell. Each tile is a slightly different size. I wanted 1/4 inch grout lines. The spacers are freaking useless.

I am so frustrated. I cannot seem to dry lay out these tiles straight. Every time I stand back it looks crooked.

I know the solution is probably to snap chalk lines for each grout line. But I have already made a mess of my floor with the blue chalk (a million lines everywhere). Before I proceed any further, I figured I should just stop with the random trial and error and just ask:

How far apart each set of chalk lines should be with this size irregular tile and grout line (1/4 inch)?

And is the 1/4 inch the "average" grout line or the widest?

And is there some kind of trick to laying out all these tiles straight?

And would you advise 18" tiles for a beginner who has done her best to get her concrete slab floor level but no doubt has left some rough spots (the "self-leveling" compound turned out to be anything but, was very hard to work with, and there is some cutback adhesive that would just not come off).

Maybe I should just give it up and return the tile (ugh - each box must way 80 pounds) and get 12" tile with a smooth, straight edge?


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03-06-2007, 11:39 PM
C'mon Sue don't give up on anything yet. Tiles with irregular edges can be a blessing or they can be extremely frustrating.

I have found the most tiles like yours are irregular between the corners but pretty close on ends. If this is the case with yours, get the corners on the chalk line and let the middle wander a bit. Forget about the consistent 1/4", it won't happen here.

Now on to the 18" porcelain. You can do it but you will need to trowel mortar on the floor and then use a skim coat of thinset on the back of the tile as well. This is commonly referred to as backbuttering.