There is nothing quite like the feeling of pride and accomplishment after completing a difficult home improvement project. It usually follows a long time of putting the project off and finally mustering up the energy and ambition to start it. I want you to be proud of any project you complete. I am going to inform you of the absolute worst mistake you can make when running tile with varying colors and textures. I will explain how to avoid this mistake and define how to make the area of tile you are running as eye catching as possible by adding one important step in preparing your tile project.
When you finally carry those boxes of tile into your home, ready to start that tile project, it can be tempting to start running the tile right away straight out of each box. After all, why would anyone want to take all of the tiles out of the boxes only to have them scattered all over the place, taking up space and keeping you from you desired goal of the project completion. This is the worst mistake you can make. It is vital when using tile with variations in color and texture to remove all the tiles from the boxes before you start. However, the last thing you want when running these tiles is to complete the project, step back in what will be a short feeling of satisfaction, and notice that the tile you ran has all similar colors in one area. Or that the tile you ran has all similar textures in one area. This creates a very bad blotch in the tiled area and turns your sense of satisfaction to a sense of horror. Let me help you avoid a heart attack and explain my tile selection process in working with two different types of tile.
The first tile, cultured marble is relatively small. Any tile about 3×6 fit into this category. Cultured marble has variations in color and has a wide assortment in the amount of pits in them. Some may be almost smooth with very few pits where others can resemble a moon rock with a large quantity of pits. My goal in separating my tile is to create individual stacks of tile in a grid pattern and one stack of what I call my “Special Stack”. This stack is of tile that is very unusual with special features all its own. You will notice these as you go. Allow me to explain my process. I take the tile out of each box and separate them in 3 to 4 columns with the lightest shade to the left continuing to the darkest shade to the right. Continue this process through all the boxes. You will find yourself moving tile from one column to the other because the variation in the shades of the tile is subtle. The objective is to get about the same amount into each column. I then take each column and separate them into 3 stacks with the fewest amounts of pits in the bottom stack continuing to the largest amount of pits in the top stack. Again, move them from stack to stack as you go and try to finish with about the same amount of tile in each stack. Continue the process for each column you created. You now have 9 to 12 stacks of tile separated by shades and textures, and one “Special Stack” of the tile with lots of character. I then layout my first two rows of tile to be ran on the counter, so they are ready to install on the wall. You can now very easily select from the different stacks of tile and place them in the two rows. You want to mix and match the tile by shade and texture. Be aware of the tiles next to each other horizontally as well as vertically. Pay attention to continuing this variation through any wall corners. Lastly, remember to place any of your “Special Stack” tile sporadically in your tiled area.
The second tile is a large scale tile, 6×12 or larger, usually used on tub or shower walls. This tile, a smooth surfaced marble, may have no variance in texture. However, there may be variations in the tiles color, shades, color patterns, and direction of movement. The larger tile is harder to sort through to create variations because these require you to lay the entire pattern on the floor. It is also much more important to pay attention to continuing the variations through the wall corners with this larger tile. First, remove the tile from the boxes sorting them in stacks based on their variations in color, shades, color patterns, and direction of movement. You should pre plan your tile layout before running them on any wall surface. This tile layout is based on how you want the tile centered, is it going to be a stacked or subway pattern, tile waste avoidance, etc. This is an entirely different topic, so I will assume you have that planned. Based on your preplanned tile layout, create the layout by setting each tile on the floor with a variation in color, shades, color patterns, and direction of movement. Be aware of surrounding tile of similar looks. Take your time with this because this is the most important step in creating a stunning tile project. Also, please, please, please make sure no children or rather large pets step on your tile after you have them laid on the floor. This not only requires you to purchase more tiles after it is cracked, but you are also left with the dilemma of finding another suitable tile to fill its space. Ask me how I know this!
I hope this helps you create a finished tile project you can be proud of. Here’s to avoiding the absolute worst mistake in running tile. And “Good Luck”.