Create a welcoming entrance in only a weekend by laying a new tile floor.
Has your front entrance become tired or dated? If so, it might mean your home lacks kerb appeal, but fortunately this can be easily fixed.
Tiling is a quick DIY solution that makes a huge improvement to your home and can be done in a weekend, for just a few hundred dollars.
Even if you’ve never tiled before, you should find the process quick, cost-effective and pretty simple.
And once you’ve completed your first project, the chances are you’ll be champing at the bit to move on to another tiling job as soon as possible.
What you need:
Short spirit level
Tiles and tile spacers
Mixing paddle fitted to suitable power drill
Tile cutter or angle grinder
Outdoor tiles need to be slip resistant and should have a slip-resistance rating, which is expressed as an R rating.
We used tiles with a rating of R10, which is a safe minimum for level outdoor situations or areas with a slight incline, from 10-19°.
For a higher slip-resistance, or for steep sloping areas, select an R11 or even an R12 rated tile. When in doubt, ask at your local hardware store for advice.
TIP Order about 10% more tiles than are needed for the area you are tiling to allow enough for cuts and breakages.
Tile it right
When calculating the overhang of tiles on the edge of a step, allow for the thickness of the tile that will be used as a kick-plate on the riser, the bed of tile cement beneath it and any overhang for a drip-lip.
So for a 5mm finished drip-lip, your overhang will be around 20mm or more, before fitting the riser tile.
Attach a diamond blade to your angle grinder so you can fit the tiles around small or difficult corners.
Before you begin cutting, ensure you’re using the correct blade type for your particular tile material.
For difficult spots, use painter’s tape to hold tiles as the adhesive sets
Fit exterior trim where the tiles meet the wall to hide any unsightly joints
The final clean of your tiles and grout is done using cleaning acid.
To do this, you should check the suitability of your tiles first by testing the acid on an offcut. Using acid will remove any powdery grout or tile-adhesive residue from the surfaces.
Ensure you wear appropriate safety equipment, including eye protection, chemical-resistant gloves and a simple respirator suitable for fumes, when mixing and applying acid.
TIP Get rid of powdery grout or excess residue by cleaning the newly laid tiles with diluted acid.
Lay the tiles
Make sure the surface to be tiled is clean. Begin by sweeping the area with a stiff brush to clear away any leaves or other loose material. If tiling over concrete, use a pressure cleaner. Spray the surface thoroughly with water, removing any stubborn patches of dirt in corners and cracks.
Mark out the area, experimenting with the layout of the tiles, then check for square and work out the cuts. If you have a step and want a full tile with a 5mm drip-lip at the step end, as in this project, measure the tiles for the wall end first, then gradually work out from the wall and towards the step.
Position and measure the tiles, then make any necessary cuts. Use a tile cutter for this, making sure it has the right capacity for your tile size and the correct cutting wheels for the tile type.TIP We decided to use large-format 600 x 300mm tiles and ran them crossways to make the space feel larger.
Mix the tile adhesive in small batches using a heavy-duty 20L bucket and blending the adhesive thoroughly with a mixing paddle fitted to a corded drill. Spread the adhesive over small areas at a time using a notched trowel, then lay the tiles starting from an edge or a corner, working outwards.
As you lay the tiles, insert spacers near the corners, leaving them upright so they can be easily removed when the adhesive has cured. The spacers will ensure you get perfectly consistent spacing between the tiles. Once the adhesive has cured enough to walk on the tiles, remove the spacers.
Mix small batches of grout at a time, using the grout squeegee to push it into the cracks. When it starts to set, remove the excess grout with a damp sponge. Once the adhesive is fully cured, use diluted acid to wash off any powdery grout on the surface of the tiles. Test the acid on an offcut first.