Secrets to a beautiful, handcrafted tile installation

You’ve decided to create a home that is a beautiful reflection of who you are, your hopes, your dreams… You want a home where your soul can just be. Handcrafted ceramic tile has caught your attention for the rustic quality it brings, the texture it can add to a room and the customization that only handcrafted can bring, but you hesitate… How on earth do you install handcrafted tile? You’ve come to the right place. Below, you can find the best secrets of the trade to help you install handcrafted tile beautifully!

tile installation

2 x4 inch handcrafted field tile and 4 inch Pine Tree Tile

 

  • You’ve heard the phrase measure twice, cut once?  When ordering handcrafted field tile, its measure twice, order once.  Make sure to have a good idea of how many tiles you will need and order 10% more.  Handmade tile varies from tile to tile, and from firing to firing.  Adding 10% more tile than you think you will need will ensure that you have enough tile after cuts are made and that all of your tile will match. If you are using an intricate design, for example setting the tiles “on point” (laying square tiles on the diagonal), consider ordering more than 10% extra. You will be making more cuts than with a basic layout.    Glazes can vary due to glaze application and firing conditions with each kiln load.   If you are ordering an accent tile only, make sure that it will fit in the spot that you’ve designated for it.
  • Once you’ve received your tile, make sure to lay them out.  You want to look for damage during shipping.  If you find damage, make sure to contact your supplier immediately.  As hard as tile artists try, a handcrafted tile will never be commercial tile flat.  The bits of wonkiness is what gives handmade tile its character and adds the texture to a room.  Laying out the tile will help you decide what tile will go where for the most beautiful look.
  • Before you grout your installation.  Take a moment to Blue tape over any high relief areas on the accent tile.  This will prevent a lot of headache when its time for cleaning the grout off of the tile.
  • Due to the variances of handmade tile, using a larger grout line will help account for those variances.  Fire Creek suggests using a 3/16″ grout line.  The perfect balance between smaller grout lines that may draw glaring attention to slight differences in the tile and a really large grout line that drowns out the tile completely.  Using the spacers for grout lines are the best way to ensure straight grout lines. With the variance of handcrafted tile, it is also useful to step back and regularly visually check your grout lines.
  • Choose your grout wisely.  To create a clean, uniform color, choose a grout color that is similar to the color of your tile.  To highlight the shape and color of your tile, choose a grout color that is contrasting to the color of your tile.  Using a single component grout will make your tile installation so much easier.  Single component grout spreads easily with a quick clean up. This grout does not require sealing, is stain resistant and has remarkable color consistency. Make sure to use the coordinating tile caulk when horizontal and vertical surfaces meet or to use around your sink or tub.  You can find the single component grout at your typical big box home improvement stores.
  • The final clean up.  There will be a haze left on your tile from the grouting process.  Allow the grout to set up.  Wipe down your tile with a damp, microfiber towel to polish up your tile.

 

Have questions?  Fire Creek is always here to help, drop a comment below and let’s get the conversation started.

Your home should tell the story of who you are, and be a collection of what you love.” ~ Nate Berkus

Happy Tiling!

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