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As with most home projects, mistakes while tiling are pretty numerous. There are smaller ones that are cheap and easy to fix. And there are those that might ruin your entire project. To help you avoid potential headaches, we will cover the most common tiling mistakes and give you an idea of how to stay clear of them.

Most common tiling mistakes

We’ve seen quite a few mistakes people make when trying to tile their floors. Unfortunately, even if we were to write a book, we couldn’t cover all of them. As it turns out, people are pretty creative when it comes to “solving tiling problems”. So, instead, we will focus on the most common mistakes, as you are most likely to either make or be at risk of making them.

Not Using Samples

Viewing tiles online is one thing. But having an actual tile sample to place and feel in your bathroom is entirely another. Too often, people believe that the tiles they order will look exactly as they do online. This, of course, is rarely the case. Even the coolest tiles in the world will look different in person. The lighting and the size of your bathroom will play a significant role in how the tiles look. Furthermore, while you can guess the color, you can only really notice the texture and the finish if you view the tile in person. So, do yourself a favor and always order tile samples.

A person checking tile samples.

Misjudging the Number of Tiles

People usually use a simple formula when calculating how many tiles they’ll need. You take the size of your bathroom and divide it with the size of a single tile. And presto, you have the exact number of tiles you’ll need. While this is mathematically sound, it doesn’t really hold up in practical terms.

 Tiles, as it turns out, often break. Even if you do what advises and safely transport tiles on your own, you still risk damaging them. So, the best course of action is to first calculate the number of tiles. And then to add an extra 15%. Sounds like a lot, but that extra 15% will be pretty handy if you make any rookie mistakes. Furthermore, if you need to make any cuts, you’ll be glad to have the material to work with.

Getting the Wrong Size

Tiles come in many different sizes. From small, 7.5 x 15cm. To quite large 60 x 120cm tiles. And while this variety of choices does give you a ton of options, it is important to be aware of how they will look in your space. The general rule of thumb is to adhere the size of tiles to the size of the room. So, small tiles for small rooms. Big tiles for big ones. Another aspect to consider is the gout lines, as they can play a significant role in the end result.

Tiles of different sizes placed together

Failing to Seal Tiles Properly

When picking the tile material, it is essential to remember that some require special sealing. Tiles made out of natural stone, quartz, polished porcelain, cracked glaze, and cementitious grout require you to add an extra layer of protection to seal them. Again, hiring professionals may be the best course of action, as they will know how to tackle this aspect. But, if you are adamant about DIYing your tiles, know that it is paramount that you get a suitable tile sealer. Depending on where you live, you might not be able to find it locally. So, do your homework, and get it online if need be.

Not Hiring Professionals

While you can tackle tiling on your own, most people fail spectacularly. On the surface, tiling seems like an easy, straightforward project. And while it can be, it does take some skills, tools, and knowledge. This is why, unless you know what you are doing, your best option is to hire professionals. Trying to tackle tiling on your own, thinking that it is a cost-effective option, will only ruin your bathroom. Not to mention that it will cost you a fortune. So, all things considered, hire a professional if you don’t feel like doing the necessary research and making necessary preparations.

A beautiful bathroom made without any of the common tiling mistakes.

Applying the Wrong Colour of Grout

Grout color can significantly impact the final look of your tiles. So much so that you shouldn’t consider how your tiles will look before you are aware of the grout color. Essentially, you can mix and match any grout color with any tile design. But there are some guidelines to follow if you want your bathroom to look all nice. Our recommendation is to use lighter-colored grouts for most materials. Terrazzo, natural stone, and encaustic go exceptionally well with light grout. If you wish to use darker shades, try to avoid natural materials and ensure that you have a good idea of what they will look like.

Final Thoughts

As you can see, most of the common tiling mistakes occur due to a lack of planning. If you take the time to research and plan your project correctly, you will likely avoid all the mistakes. But, seeing how tiling looks relatively simple, most people choose to tackle it with little forethought. Installing tiles in your home can be a great idea, but hire a professional if you do not want to do the necessary research. If you are going to DIY your tiling, do your homework. As simple as that.


Written By: Mary Aspen Richardson