National Home Improvement Week

It's that time of the year where winter is starting to recede and we're looking forward to lots of chocolate and spring (probably rainy) bank holidays. It's fitting then that it's national home improvement week, a week dedicated to inspire, educate and excite UK homeowners to maker their homes better. The perfect time then to start planning your next home project and we've put together a quick few jobs to tick off the list over the upcoming bank holiday weekends.

We love how your tile choice can transform a space whether it's a wood effect floor tile in a striking laying pattern or a mosaic splashback in your kitchen. If you're looking to DIY we'd recommend starting by tiling a wall, if you've never done it before here's five simple steps.

Step 1: Preparation is key to achieving a flawless and professional finish when it comes to tiling a wall surface so start by ensuring you have all the right tools. Aside from the obvious tiles, tile spacers, tile adhesive and grout you'll also need a spirit level, tape measure, grouting float and square notched trowel. It's also useful to have on hand a bucket, sponge, rubber gloves and a hammer and nails. Don't forget some safety eye goggles!

Step 2:  You'll then need to prepare your surface and mark out where to place the tiles. Ensure all surfaces are clean, dry and free from dust/debris. Remember to check for any cracks or bumps in the surface, as this can become a problem when fixing the tiles later on. If you're starting at ground level, you cannot guarantee the floor is level so attach a level batten and work from this to achieve a balanced design across the wall.

Step 3: Apply an even layer of adhesive to a notched trowel, and starting from the corner, spread the product over the area of two or three tiles at a time. Place the tiles firmly on the adhesive, using tile spacers to ensure your spacing is consistently even. These little plastic crosses are available in different widths depending on the finish you desire. Wipe off any splashes of adhesive with a damp sponge as you go – if you let it dry it'll be very difficult to take off.

Step 4: Allow your tiles to dry for 24 hours, and then fill the spaces between each tile using grout and a grout float. Work across your surface methodically and push the grout deep into the joints. This will prevent moisture from getting behind your tiles, which is particularly important if the tiles are being laid in areas where water is present, such as the bathroom or kitchen. A top tip is to hold your float at a 45-degree angle to the wall, working the grout deep into the joints using the edge of the tool. If you hold the float flat it can smear the grout over the tiles and not get into all the little gaps leaving an uneven appearance.

Step 5: Once finished, wipe down your tiles with a clean, damp sponge using our First Wash solution, working at a 45-degree angle down your surface.

Replacing tiles

If you're on a budget or love your existing tiles but have a couple of cracks or chips then you can simply replace the odd tile without having to retile the whole area.

Step 1: Make sure you are wearing safety glasses or goggles then take a grout saw or rotary tool and cut as deeply as you can to remove the grout surrounding the affected tile. Remove the pieces of grout and wipe down the surface to get rid of any dust as you go.

Step 2: Scour the broken tile using a scouring tool. Use the tool to draw a diagonal line across the tile and repeat until the line is around a 16th of an inch deep. Do the same across the second diagonal line.  Once you have two diagonal lines running across the tile, strike the centre with a centre punch to start breaking up the tile. Take a chisel across each of the diagonal lines and hit with a hammer until the tile breaks away and can be removed. Continuing to use the chisel and hammer, take away as much of the adhesive left under the tile as possible.

Step 3:  Following this, mix some fresh adhesive and spread across the area you have just cleared as well as on the back of the new tile. When fitting it, twist the tile left and right to spread the adhesive evenly and then tap it down with a flat board and mallet. Remove the excess adhesive that squeezes into the joints. Let the adhesive dry, then grout and seal.

Job done!

National home improvement week is a great time to look around and be inspired by the brands you love. Sit down one evening, create a few Pinterest boards, and start collating your favourite looks. Another great way to narrow down your taste and what inspired you is to trawl through Instagram feeds and save the images you love, look back over it after a couple of weeks and you'll soon see common denominators.

Instagrammers: @blossomingbirds, @hannahcrosskey, @end_of_the_row, @rvk_loves


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