Limestone Tile Installation: PRO or DIY?
Limestone tiles are beautiful, easy-care natural stone tiles durable enough for high-traffic areas such as living rooms and kitchens, yet they’re gentle enough underfoot for your comfort. They’re also fairly cost effective when compared with other natural stone tiles such as those made from marble and granite. Once you’ve decided you want limestone tiles in your home, you have one more key decision to make: Should you install them yourself or hire a professional? Consider your answers to the following questions to make the right choice for your home improvement project.
Do You Have the Right Tools?
Tilers need special tools for mixing and spreading tile adhesive, cutting their tiles, and installing the tiles. Professional tilers have these tools in their arsenal, but many homeowners do not. If you don’t already have the right tools, you should consider whether it’s worth purchasing them to complete your own limestone tiling job.
The cost of these tools will make your DIY job more expensive, so you need to consider whether spending this money is worthwhile, especially if you’re unlikely to use these tools again. Don’t be tempted to use alternative tools either. Specialized tile tools are incredibly efficient. Taking shortcuts may even damage your tiles and make your work look inferior.
Do You Know How to Properly Measure?
Before you start spreading adhesive and laying your limestone tiles, you’ll need to take some measurements. You should know the dimensions of the space you’re tiling so that you can buy the right amount of limestone tiles you need. If you buy too many tiles, you’re wasting money. If you don’t buy enough tiles, you risk struggling to match the colors as the same type of tile can look quite different from lot to lot.
You should also be able to find the center line of the room. Tiling a room from the center out is the best way to fit tiles properly, without unsightly strips at the far edges that are difficult to work with. If your measurements are off, you won’t identify the center of your room, and your tiling project’s look will suffer.
Measuring is an important part of any successful tiling job. If you’re not confident with a measuring tape, consider putting a professional tiler to work.
Do You Know How to Cut the Tile?
You’ll need to cut your limestone tiles so that they fit neatly around your walls, door jambs, and other tricky elements. Limestone tiles are much harder to cut cleanly than lighter, thinner tiles, such as simple ceramic tiles. If you aren’t confident cutting limestone tiles, or similar tiles, with a tile wet saw, hiring an experienced professional may be a more cost-effective solution.
Even if you don’t break your limestone tiles, poor cutting technique can make them look unattractive. Poorly cut limestone tiles also don’t last as long and aren’t as easily maintained. An accident with your tile saw could also cause you serious injury.
Do You Know How to Spread Adhesive?
Don’t underestimate how difficult spreading tile adhesive can be. You may not see the glue with its placement underneath your tiles, but it provides the base of your home improvement job.
Spreading an even layer of adhesive takes patience and care. Experience using notched and margin trowels is a significant advantage. If you don’t spread the adhesive evenly, some tiles may come loose. Others could sit high above your tiling surface. You should also know how much adhesive to spread out at any time. Spread out a large area of glue, and it’ll dry before you can lay all your tiles. Spread too small an area, and your work will be inefficient.
Do You Know How to Lay Out Tiles?
A good tile installer doesn’t simply take limestone tiles out of the box and lay them. Working with limestone tiles is an art. As the colors and markings vary from tile to tile, it’s a good idea to get them all out and move them around until you find the best combination. Experienced tile installers look for a good blend of colors. They also put the most beautiful tiles in pride of place and hide away any less attractive tiles near the edges so their flaws aren’t so noticeable.
Do you trust your creative instincts? Do you think you have an artistic flair or do you struggle to color-coordinate your wardrobe before heading out the door each day? If you have natural aesthetic instincts, laying tiles will feel like second nature to you. However, if you aren’t as confident with interior design, you’ll likely get a better result from a professional tile installer.
Are You a Careful Person?
Some people power through life and home improvement projects. They may make mistakes, but they feel these errors can be easily corrected along the way. Others are much more meticulous, preferring to get the job right the first time. The second type of person is much more suited to installing one’s own limestone tiles.
Since limestone tiles are so porous, they can be easily stained when they’re being installed. When you’re laying many types of tiling, you can simply wipe away any errant grout and mortar without any hassles. However, if these substances go astray, their color can leach into the limestone. Knowing this problem, people typically choose white grout and mortar, rather than gray. Even if you’re using white, working precisely is still important. DIY tilers should always take extreme care when they’re installing their limestone tiles to ensure the tiles look their best. If that task sounds too tricky, trust a professional to do the job right.
Limestone tile installations are classed as medium to difficult jobs, depending on the location you’re tiling, the quality of the surface you’re tiling, the size of your tiles, and other factors. Consider all these factors, the answers to the questions above, and your own DIY experience to decide whether you should complete your own limestone tiling home improvement job or enlist professional help.