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How to Cut and Install Tile Around Obstacles (page 1 of 3)

Follow these easy step-by-step instructions on how to properly measure and cut curves and holes in tile. Plus, find out how to lay tile in a diamond pattern and how to create borders.
Excerpted from Do It Yourself Home Improvement

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Tiling Around Obstacles
Most surfaces have obstacles that interrupt the run of tiles and make tiling more complicated. Many of the problems that obstacles present can be dealt with by carefully planning your tile layout. Remove fixtures if possible, and tile with just the supply pipes in place. Choose those techniques that are most suitable for your own project. Often there is more than one way of tackling some tasks, depending on which tools you have, or the circumstances you face.

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Determine Tile Layout

When dealing with a number of obstacles, you will first need to plan the overall tile layout and work out a solution that addresses most problem areas.

Tiling Around an Outlet or Switch Plate

Turn off the electricity supply and loosen the plates. Hold a tile in place and mark it so the cut edges will fit behind the plate (Image 1).

Use an electric tile cutter to cut along the guide lines (Image 2). Another option is to use a tile saw on the first line, then score and snap the second.

Tiling an Internal Corner

Measure the space between the last full tile and the corner, allowing for grout gaps. The gap may be uneven, so measure at both ends (Image 1).

Mark your measurements on the tile. For an even gap, mark on one edge. For an uneven gap, or a large tile, draw a guide line right across (Image 2).

Cut the tile, placing it squarely in the cutter to cut for an even gap, or placing it at an angle in the cutter if the tile needs to fit in an uneven gap (Image 3).

Apply tile adhesive directly onto the tile, and put it in position, using spacers as required. Repeat until the corner is completely tiled.

Tiling a Recess Shelf

Start tiling at the center of the outer edge and work outward toward the corners and up around the inner edge of the recess (Image 1).

Support tiles inside the top of a recess by wedging a piece of wood beneath them while the adhesive dries, to prevent them from falling off (Image 2).

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Excerpted from Do It Yourself Home Improvement

© Dorling Kindersley Limited 2009

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