Choose materials based on whether you are tiling a new wall, a prepared surface or directly onto old tiles.
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These are normally supplied in a sheet and are applied to the surface with a tile adhesive. Never use plastic tiles in areas that will receive direct heat, such as close to an oven or stovetop.
Tiles made of glass (image 1), stainless steel (image 2) and some other materials can be considerably more expensive than ceramic tiles. Check that the material of your choice is suitable for the job. For instance, heat from an oven can crack some types of glass tiles.
In addition to square tiles, you can buy border tiles to decorate the edges of the tiled area and trims to finish and protect the edges of the tiles. Both are available in a wide variety of finishes and designs. Quadrant tiles are a further option, creating a decorative edge where tiles meet a bathtub, sink or countertop. They give a more finished look than regular tiles cut to fit a narrow space. Remember to include trims and border or quadrant tiles when estimating quantities.
Narrow border tiles provide a decorative band that runs through a design or along its top edge. Apply adhesive directly to thin border tiles. If the tile widths do not match exactly the width of the main tiles, use spacers cut down into T-shapes or apply cross-shaped spaces perpendicular to the wall, and remove before grouting. Apply full tiles first, leaving cuts until last.
Tile Edging and Corner Trims
Regular, straight-edged tiles are straightforward to apply, whereas you may have to adapt your technique for those with irregular edges. Trims are usually plastic and applied along external corners. Where the design stops in the middle of a wall surface, they can be used to provide a neat finish and cover unsightly cut edges. Tile edges are often unglazed, and trims may be used to protect the edges of tiles.
Excerpted from Do It Yourself Home Improvement
© Dorling Kindersley Limited 2009
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