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peter1 06-12-2007 06:54 AM

Laying Tiles - Beginner
I was wondering on a scale of 1 to 10 (10 being the most difficult), where does tiling stand? I'm thinking to tile about 25 sq feet near the entrance area and would like to DIY if possible.

one of the main concerns is cutting the tiles. Straight cuts are not much of an issue, I'm worried about those tricky cuts (L and U shapes), like around door jambs.

I've been told to use wet saws, others tell me just use an angle grinder, then there's also the tile nipper. So what's the best and perhaps easiest way to cut tiles into irregular shapes?

Thanks in advance for your input.

send_it_all 06-12-2007 09:36 AM

Rent a wet saw and go for it. If you have any experience with a tape measure...and any kind of eye for straightness, tiling 25 sq. ft. should not be difficult at all. Getting a how to video would be wise. It will give you a feel for mixing the thinset the right consistency and grouting. Tiling a small area is pretty easy....assuming you are on a slab....wood floor requires some extra steps.

peter1 06-12-2007 10:15 AM

Thanks for your response. Is it possible to cut U shape using a wet saw? How do you cut the bottom of the U?

Also I've seen some relatively cheap wet saws, like under $100, are they cheap and nasty? Or acceptable for small jobs like this? I have no idea how much is the rental, I figure if it's going to cost $50 a day, then might as well just buy one (can be used in the future).

clasact 06-12-2007 12:03 PM

I bought one of those cheep ones for my tiling it worked pretty well the only thing I would recommend is buying a good blade for it the ones that come with are very cheep and didnt last long ,after several cuts you start to get alot of rough looking cuts but a good blade will fix that or at least it did for me otherwise the only difficult part was it got a bit tough on the old back ( I have new respect for alot of the tradesmen who do home renovations and building )

billinak 06-12-2007 12:23 PM

I've cut a U shape before by cutting down the two sides, then using a chisel on the third side. One good whack and it broke right along a line between the two 'legs'.

KUIPORNG 06-12-2007 12:47 PM

I think cutting tile is kind of the not so difficult task comparing to other aspects in tile laying... I find the most challenge is really making sure the sub-floor is flat and level... once that is done... the rest is not really so hard....

rick32 06-12-2007 12:51 PM

I had no choice on mine it had to be a DIY the wife insisted. Im glad she did i learned a lot and it wasn't as difficult as I thought. I started with the kitchen 14' x 14' then the laundry room 8' x 14' and I just finished the bathroom 8' x 14'. For the U shaped cuts, i cut both sides of the u then I used the wet saw like a scroll saw. Remember to wear gloves when spreading the mortar. I didn't and it sucked every ounce of moisture out of my hands.Knee pads will help as well. Good luck and post some pics.:thumbsup:

KUIPORNG 06-12-2007 02:01 PM

If you got a Makita 9.6V cordless wet tile saw... you can cut any shape....

Jeekinz 06-12-2007 03:53 PM

If you come to a difficult cut, make a template out of a piece of cardboard the same size as the tile. Then trace the cuts onto a tile with a sharpie.

As long as the subfloor is sound, I give it a 2 or 3.

johnny331 06-12-2007 07:28 PM

I have an cheapy wet saw, works fine for simple little jobs...

send_it_all 06-13-2007 12:40 AM

The U shaped cuts can be made by cutting the two sides of the U in the normal fashion, then the bottom of the U can be cut by using the blade-height adjustment to raise the blade all the way up so you can slip the tile under it without cutting, then plunging down into the tile in the middle of the bottom of the U. Or you can use an angle grinder with a diamond blade...or Home Depot sells a portable 4" wet saw that looks like a small circular saw with a garden hose attachment on it. It's pretty inexpensive and very handy for those odd cuts.

peter1 06-13-2007 06:22 AM

Thanks for the feedbacks, it really sounds encouraging and I'm now a lot more comfortable going down the DIY path.

A couple more questions about cutting. If I get a wet saw, do I still need a tile cutter for straight cuts (the sliding kind with a long handle)? When cutting with a wet saw, the tile should be faced up or down?

Also how much gap should I leave in between tiles? Does it matter if I end up with skinny grout lines?

Sorry for all the silly questions.

clasact 06-13-2007 06:32 AM

no you don't need the other cutter ,tile should be face down so you don't catch the ridges on the bottom , and the gap depends on you .Do you want big or small lines that is determined by what size spacers you get

KUIPORNG 06-13-2007 08:10 AM

but cutting with wet saw is slower... for straight cut... but you are right you don't need it... unless you want to done it faster...

send_it_all 06-13-2007 09:19 AM

I like to use a combination of both the wet saw and the snap cutter. I take the snap in the house and use it for straight is much faster than walking in and out many times....but it wont cut some types of tile. The expensive type might, but mine wont. I have the $30 special.

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