On Tuesday we mentioned that installing tile on your own without prior experience can be tricky. We know that one vague sentence probably isn't enough to make you reconsider a DIY installation, so we'd like to go a bit more in depth about the challenges that come with installing tile on your own. Not that we're trying to squash any dreams, but we think you deserve to have all of the facts up front.
1) It won't save you much.
Have you ever watched a video of someone trying to make chapstick from scratch? The idea of creating your own lip balm seems like a lot of fun and a great way to save money because you can make so much of it! That is, until you look at the ingredient list. The beeswax that many recipes calls for typically costs around $10 on its own! Think of how many pre-made, perfectly good chapsticks you could buy with the money you'd spend on your DIY project.
Tile installation is similar. To tile a floor or bathroom you are going to need grout, tile cutters, spacers, a tile saw, level, chalk line, trowels, grout floats, tile sponge, tape measure, gloves, knee pads, safety goggles, paper towel, buckets, a drill, mixing paddle, spray bottle, mortar, rubber mallet, painter's tape, carpenter's triangle, film remover, tile nipper, grout sealer, stain blocker, cheese cloth, and lumber in addition to the actual tile. Add that to the time and gas it will take you to collect all of these items, not to mention the actual effort to do the installation, and you might as well have paid for a professional to do the job anyway.
2) Individual tiles are difficult to replace.
Perfectionists beware! Believe us when we say that there really is no easy solution when you find individual tiles with problems. If you make a mistake during the installation process you're stuck with it. You'll have to live with the imperfections or replace everything.
3) Buying tile is complex business.
You can't go into a store and just buy tiles that simply look the same. They have to have the same batch numbers from one box to another, otherwise you're going run into a difference in the shades of the tile and possibly the size. Imagine the frustration of getting halfway through your project and stepping back only to find that you have a two-toned floor. Our guess is that you wouldn't be happy.
Beyond that, you really have to know what you're looking for when picking out your tile, especially if you want to save money. There is a HUGE difference in quality between price ranges. With cheaper tiles you run the risk of a more brittle structure, absorbent material, a lack of durability, a pixelated print, and just overall low-quality product. If you must DIY, do your research, go straight to the manufacturer, and spend the money for better tiles. Remember, you're going to have to look at this for many years to come. It's an investment.
A) Don't buy from some big hardware store. Quality and consistency in their tile is a gamble.
B) Buy more than what you need in case of flaws.
4) Tiling takes a surplus of time and patience.
You really have to dedicate yourself to any tiling project you decide to take on. You can expect to spend a minimum of 2 days tiling a floor if you already know what you're doing. If you don't you'll have to give yourself some extra time to learn along the way. Oh, and you mustn't forget to consider the time it will take to do extensive research on how to properly install your tile, figuring out what materials you will need and then the hours it will take to find and purchase everything.
If you like time-intensive, hands-on projects, DIY might not be all bad for you. If, however, you can't spare the time, you might want to save yourself some trouble and just hire someone.