Archive for the ‘Tile Installation’ Category

A couple more from the Photo Contest

Thursday, January 20th, 2011

Like always, it is really hard to pick the winners for the installation photo contest.  Here are a couple that came soooo close.

This kitchen is simple and stunning.   The Standing Java Pebbles add texture and detail.

Java Kitchen

This bathroom used our best selling and favorite combination, the Ocean Pebble and Sage Green glass.

Ocean Pebble Tile and Sage Green Glass

Again thank you to everyone that entered!

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Bathtastic! Pebble Tile Video

Wednesday, November 10th, 2010

Bathtastic has a great “Quick Tip” Video on installing the pebble tile.  The best tip in the video is how to make a pastry bag for the grout so that you can avoid using more grout than you need to and keep it super clean.  Definitely going to be passing that one on to people from now on!

This is a good “How To for Pebble Tile Installation” as well

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XAWJNCougfc

Check out the video on DIY’s website…

Bathtastic Pebble Tile Video

Bathtastic Pebble Tile Video

There are also still images with written instructions.  Including project budget and completion time,  See Step by Step.

Another link leads to a list of all the materials you will need,  See Product List.

Hope this is helpful!

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Sealing the Ipe Deck Tiles

Wednesday, October 13th, 2010

It was great to finally be able to let all the contest winners know that they won last week.  Everyone was thrilled and ready to get started on their next projects.  When the owner of that beautiful Ipe Deck got back to me she sent me a picture of her newly sealed deck and I had to share.  They said they had sealed the deck tiles and were loving it even more.  “Wishing summer never ended…”

Here is what the tile looked like before it was sealed.

Deck Tile Floor

Deck Tile Floor

The tiles look great natural like this but all hard woods will silver over time if you do not seal them.  Which means that these warm tones will start to fade and grey a little.  Some people choose not to seal the tile and let them take their natural course.  But if you want to make sure you retain those warm tones or enhance them you are going to want to seal the tiles.

This is what the tiles look like after they were sealed.

Sealed Ipe Deck Tiles

Sealed Ipe Deck Tiles

As you can see they have richer color and look much more finished.  Now it won’t stay this way forever and you will need to reseal depending on your climate and the look you want to achieve.  As a general recommendation you should reseal every year with Cabot Stain Australian Timber Oil.  Others that we have had good results with are Messmers Exotic Hardwood sealer and Penofin hardwood sealer (brown can) these color tints add UV protection to the wood and make the sealer last longer.  You can read about more deck tile maintenance here.

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How To Install Standing Pebble Tile

Friday, September 24th, 2010

As the pebble tiles have become more and more popular we get less and less installation questions.  When we first started most contractors and home owners were unfamiliar with the pebble tiles and needed direction on how to install the tile.  Now there is a plethora of installation videos online as well as countless home improvement shows that have used the tile showing how easy it is to install them.  Most installers and DIYers are familiar enough with the material now to tackle it on their own and have accomplished beautiful installations.  Just take a look at our photo contest winner’s DIY project.

The one thing that can still cause some problems with installation is the Standing Pebble Tiles.  A unique twist on the pebble tiles the standing pebbles are the pebble cut in half and mounted to the mesh on the smooth cut edge, creating a more three dimensional look.

Flat vs Standing Pebble Tile

Flat vs Standing Pebble Tile

The standing pebble tiles are perfect for water features, showers, or basically any wall you want to add a little dimension and texture to.

Vivid Black Pebble Tile Standing Tub

Vivid Black Pebble Tile Standing Tub

Standing Pebble Tile Smokey Black

Standing Pebble Tile Smokey Black

Standing Spring Rain Shower

Standing Spring Rain Shower

The most common problem which occurs when installing the standing pebble tiles is that installers grout the tiles.

Example of Standing Pebble Tile Grouted

Example of Standing Pebble Tile Grouted

When in fact the standing pebble tiles are designed to be installed only with thinset and do not have to be grouted.  Using only thinset to install the standing pebbles helps in retaining the three dimensional and textured look of the tile.  This is also why they are in 4×12 pieces, so they are not too heavy to sit on the wall with just thinset.

This does not mean you can’t grout the standing pebble tiles.  Sometimes people feel more comfortable in water applications grouting the tiles, which is fine.  But if you are going to grout make sure you remove as much of the grout as possible with a wire brush. And if you are having someone install the tile for you make sure you have a precise conversation about the look you are trying to achieve so that you do not end up with the tiles grouted all the way to the top and losing the dimension.

Here are some examples of the standing pebble tile grouted while still retaining some of the three dimensional look.

Standing Spring Rain Staircase

Standing Spring Rain Staircase

Standing Vivid Black Grouted

Standing Vivid Black Grouted

We always recommend printing out the installation instructions on our website and having the installer sign off on them after you have discussed what you are trying to achieve with your installation.  If you are installing yourself and have a question, ask.  We try and answer as many questions as we can but sometimes professional installers are the best resource because of their installation experience.  We know our product really well but not necessarily your specific installation.

The next question we normally get when we tell someone the standing pebble tiles do not have to be grouted is, “won’t the thinset show through?”.  There will be a little visibility of the thinset.  But if you want to eliminate any color difference between the tile and the thinset,  there are a variety of products to dye thinset to match the pebble.  Just ask someone at your local home improvement store to guide you in the right direction.  Also you can push the tiles together a little when installing to minimize gaps.  If you have a larger gap just pull a stone off another tile and fit it into the hole.

I hope this helps explain a little bit about installing the standing pebble tiles.  Or opened a whole set of new questions!  If you have any just give us a call 1-888-848-4537 or email at info@design-4-less.com

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How to Install Stone Tile – Otago Kitchen Backsplash

Wednesday, July 28th, 2010

We love hearing about our customers experiences with our products.  Good or bad they all help us to better inform people about the tile they are going to be installing.  What is even better is when we get to see our customer’s experiences.  Enter first place installation contest winners, Cindy and Jess from Arkansas.   They ordered a sample of marble tile in November and were ready to purchase one week later…40 sqft of Otago Black Marble Tile to complete their dream kitchen.

All the pictures they sent us of their backsplash installation were so much fun to look at and absolutely perfect for a DIY how to post.  So thank you Cindy and Jess for sharing your experience and beautiful kitchen remodel with us!

Here is what the kitchen looked like pre backsplash install.

Kitchen Remodel Before

Kitchen Remodel Before

The first step to installing any of the stone tiles is sealing them.  This is an important step that cannot be overlooked.  Natural stone is very porous and if the stones are not sealed before they are grouted the grout will penetrate the stone, leaving a light haze on the tiles and obstructing their natural beauty.

Sealing the Otago Black

Sealing the Otago Black

We have always recommended a company called Miracle Sealants for sealing products.  They have a variety of options and we have always had a positive experience with them.  (If you have another company you have used and liked in the past definitely let us know so that we can pass it on to others.)

Grout haze does happen and it is not fun.   But it is not the end of the world, there are options to try and fix some of the damage.  You can use an acid wash and specific removers, but I highly recommend consulting a professional installer.  Using products like acid wash can be more damaging than the actual haze and speaking with someone who has a larger understanding of building materials will be helpful in making the right decision for your installation.

When you seal the stones you will see them darken a little bit.  The picture below looks like it was taken when the sealer was still wet so it is darker than the Otago Black will actually end up.  If you are looking to get a deeper tone like the look below you can use a sealer with an enhancer.

Natural vs Sealed Stone Tile

Natural vs Sealed Stone Tile

Once you have the stones sealed (The manufacturer’s directions should have the appropriate drying time noted).  You can get ready to install them.  Most of our stone tiles have an interlocking system on the sides so that you can create a seamless look.  But because they are handmade tiles the interlocking system is not an exact science and we recommend laying out the tiles before you install them to make sure you get the least amount of seam lines possible.  Also this way you will be able to see where you will need to make cuts to fit the tiles or to go around sockets.

Laying Out The Tile

Laying Out The Tile

To cut the stones for areas like light sockets and ends, you will need a tile saw.  Most tile saws are wet saws which minimize dust and keep blade heat down.

Cutting the Tile with a Tile Saw

Cutting the Tile with a Tile Saw

Obviously if this is a onetime project you do not want to buy a tile saw.  You can rent them from your local home improvement store to get the remodel done.  Plan the timing when you will be doing the cuts so that you will only be renting the tile saw when you will be using it.  That way you do not have to pay for tile saw just sitting there.

Here are some examples of places that need to be cut – light sockets, corners, and ends.

Installing Around Light Sockets

Installing Around Light Sockets

For the area around the light socket, remove the tile pieces where you will need the hole.   Measure the areas and make the appropriate cuts to the tiles to fit them back in.

Same for the ends and corners, just remove the tiles that do not fit, measure what they should be, and cut to fit.

Placing Cut Piece on Ends

Placing Cut Piece on Ends

Corner Installation

Corner Installation

The next step is to back butter the tiles with thinset to adhere the tiles to the wall.  You should use a high quality thinset mortar which you can find at any home improvement store.

Applying the Thinset

Applying the Thinset

It is important that each individual part of the stone is embedded in adhesive, however they should not be pressed deeply into the adhesive.   Select a product suitable for application with a 1/4″ or 1/8″ notched trowel and apply no more than three square feet of adhesive at a time.

First tile up!

First Tile Up!

First Tile Up!

More Otago tile up…

Backsplash Right Wall

Backsplash Right Wall

Backsplash Left Wall

Backsplash Left Wall

If you think that it would be easier to seal the stones once they are all on the wall you can do that as well.  It definitely works better with a wall or floor installation rather than a backsplash where the cabinets can make it a little difficult to get to the tiles.

Once you have the tiles up and sealed you can start grouting.

Grouting the Tile

Grouting the Tile

The most important part of grouting stone tile is using a sanded grout.  Make sure to follow the manufacturer’s instructions for drying time and when to remove excess grout.  Obviously removing more grout will create a more three dimensional look, while removing less grout will flatten the look. In this picture Jess is using a float to apply the grout.  You can also use this to remove excess grout or a brush.  And lastly go over it with a wet sponge until you reach your desired look.

Close Up of Grouted Otago Black

Close Up of Grouted Otago Black

Once the grout has dried you are going to want to seal the whole installation one more time.  This keeps the grout from getting stains and is an extra protection for your stones, which is very important when you are installing it as a backsplash where liquids may be getting on it.

And that is the end of it.  See, it’s simple, but enough of a challenge that you will feel great about yourself and your kitchen after.  When you do it yourself it makes it that much sweeter.

Here is the finished project!  A beautifully updated kitchen!

Otago Black Kitchen Backsplash

Otago Black Kitchen Backsplash

If you have an amazing kitchen transformation out there we would love to see it.  And you can always enter our installation photo contest which we run every three months.  You can enter by emailing info@design-4-less.com

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Grout Color – Oyster Gray from Custom Building Products

Monday, June 14th, 2010

Customers are always asking us what color grout to use with our various products.  While grout color is subject to personal taste and depends on your particular installation there is one grout color that has really stood out as a great option for quite a few of our tiles.

Oyster Gray is a versatile grout color from Custom Building Products.  To create a seamless look in our showroom Oyster Gray was chosen for its ability to blend with the tiles for a clean modern look.

Oyster Grey Grout
Oyster Grey Grout Custom Building Products

Here it is used with the Pacifica, Ocean Mix, and Ferroker Alumino (from top to bottom).  It also works well with the Sage Green.

Do you have a great grout color/tile combination?  Please share!  We would love to know what it is!

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Pebble Tile Installation Video

Thursday, April 29th, 2010

Really great video on installing the pebble tile from Lowes!

Pebble Tile Install Video

Pebble Tile Install Video

If you like the mixed color pebble tile she used check out Polished Cobblestone.

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Cutting the 3×6 Subway Tiles

Wednesday, March 24th, 2010

If you are looking for a great kitchen design idea or bathroom idea, Subway Glass Tiles are a great choice.  They are a classic shape but the look is updated with a glass finish keeping your home interior current without over doing it.   Below is an example of  Ocean Grey 3×6 being used for a kitchen tile backsplash.

Ocean Grey 3x6 Kitchen Backsplash

Ocean Grey 3x6 Kitchen Backsplash

One of the great things about the 3×6 subway glass tiles is that they are 8mm thick which adds a lot of depth to the glass and in turn your  glass tile installation.  However the thickness of the subway glass tiles can be tricky when it comes to cutting them.   We get calls from time to time about either the glass or the polyurethane back chipping when the subway tile is being cut to fit odd spaces.  But there are some really easy steps to take to ensure you get a clean easy cut for your wall tile installation.

To start you will need a wet saw with a diamond blade.  Make sure to use a brand new blade for the best results.  On the cutting board lay the subway tile face down with the white polyurethane backing face up.  Cut half way through the depth of the tile and then flip the subway tile over (glass side face up) and finish cutting all the way through.

Following these tips will minimize the amount of chipping on both the glass and the backing.  While not all chipping is preventable when cutting any glass tile this really helps!

For more detailed information on installation visit our installation guide on The Glass Mosaic Outlet.

Installation Guidelines

About Glass Tiles.com also has a great picture essay on the process.

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