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How to Cut and Install Tile Around Obstacles (page 2 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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Alternatives for Finishing an External Corner

There are various ways to finish tiling an external corner. In some cases, such as around a window reveal, a neater finish may be achieved by making mitered corners. For these you will need to use an electric tile cutter with a platform that can be angled. Overlapping edges are a simple solution, but may be unattractive if the tile edges are unglazed. Corner profile strips are a neat and protective solution.

Mitered Corner Tiles (Image 1)
Press the angled edges neatly together at the corner. Leave a gap along the joint for grouting.

Overlapping (Image 2)
Tile to the corner seam so that the tiles on one surface butt up over those on the other. Some ceramic tiles have one glazed edge.

Using a Strip (Image 3)
An L-shaped strip can be used to cover unglazed tile edges. Fix it in place with a sealant.

Cutting a Curve

Cut some paper to the size of a tile and place it up against the curved surface (Image 1). Mark the profile of the curve on the paper with a pen.

Cut along the pen line to create a template of the curve (Image 2). Place the paper template over a tile and trace a guide line onto the tile.

Use a tile saw to cut along the guide line. This may take a while. Hold the tile in place to check the fit before placing it in position (Image 3).

Alternative Technique for Cutting a Curve
Press a profile gauge against the obstacle, and trace the curve onto the tile for a guide.

Tiling Around a Pipe

Remove the fixture, if possible. Hold a tile to one side of the pipe and mark the top and bottom edges of the pipe's diameter on the tile. Even if the fixture has not been removed, use this technique to measure where the hole will fall (Image 1).

Hold the tile below the pipe, in line with its column of full tiles, and mark on it the left and right edges of the pipe's diameter (Image 2).

Use a try square to join the marks, forming a square where the tile will fit over the pipe. Join opposite corners to find the center (Image 3).

Adjust a tile hole cutter to the size setting you need (Image 4).

Attach the hole cutter to a drill, set its point on the mark in the center of the square guide lines, and remove a circle of tile (Image 5).

Apply tile adhesive directly to the tile, and put the tile in position over the pipe. If it has not been possible to remove the fixture, score and snap the tile along a line through the hole, so that you can fit the tile around the pipe (Image 6).

Other Techniques

There are many different types of tiles and designs available, and, depending on your choice, you may need to adapt the basic application techniques or use alternative methods. Some designs will use regular square tiles in irregular grid arrangements, while other types of tiles, such as inset tiles, border tiles, and mosaic tiles each require a specific approach. Depending on the shape and size of the tiles you select, you may also need to improvise when applying spacers.

Excerpted from Do It Yourself Home Improvement

© Dorling Kindersley Limited 2009