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Would you believe that less than half of millennials always call professionals when tackling a home improvement project? A DIY tile or grout project can be a great way to learn a new skill while beautifying your home. But many people quickly find that Pinterest and reality TV shows make home renovations look easy — too easy, in fact. For those who are in a little over their head, we’ll provide a few quick tips here to get your tile and grout project back on track when your DIY goes wrong. Here are some issues that can be avoided if you ask a grout and tile expert first!

DIY Problem: Uneven Ceramic Tiles

Uneven ceramic tiles, known as “lipping,” are unsightly and unsafe. This problem creates a tripping hazard for you or your guests. It’s safe to assume that any noticeable variation among ceramic tiles is unsafe. However, the Tile Council of North America officially defines unacceptable lippage as any warpage that exceeds 1 percent along the tile edge, or 0.75 percent along either diagonal.

A Contractor Can Help

Unfortunately, there’s little that can be done to fix the issue after a tile is firmly in place. That doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll have to rip out your entire DIY tile floor project though. A tile contractor might be able to identify and replace particular tiles or areas of tiles that are uneven. Doing so can salvage (some or most) of the hard work and money you’ve already invested in your project. Ask a grout and tile expert to find out what options you may have.

DIY Problem: “Peaks and Valleys” in Grout Joints

Grout is an incredibly affordable, durable building material — but a lot can go wrong on DIY grout projects. One of the most common grout problems DIY renovators experience is “peaks and valleys.” That means thick grout creates mounds in some areas, where thin grout creates valleys in others. This can be caused by grout that’s improperly mixed, by not packing grout into the grout joint tight enough, or not running a wet sponge over joints before it dries.

Don’t simply add new wet grout to even out the “valleys” in your dried grout joints. Simply put, grout is not designed to bond to itself — and it absolutely won’t bond to grout that’s already been sealed. The best solution is to cut out the entire uneven grout joint and to start fresh with new grout, being careful to apply it evenly this time. A tile contractor will be able to handle any significant re-grouting jobs — or identify any issues with the substrate that could be behind your grout issues.

DIY Problem: Loose or Wobbly Tiles

If you notice loose or wobbly ceramic tiles after installing a floor or backsplash, the most likely culprit is your thinset. Thinset that’s too thick or too thin, that isn’t applied with a trowel notched to match the size of ceramic tile you’re installing, or that is simply beyond its usable shelf life are some of the most common reasons for loose or wobbly tiles. you’ll need to remove the grout surrounding any loose tiles and reapply them. A tile contractor can help repair loose tiles, or identify any underlying problems with the subfloor that you could have missed.


5 Comments
  1. I want to have floor tiles installed in my home. It makes sense that I would want to hire a professional contractor to help me out with installing them! That seems like a good way to ensure that they get put in properly.

  2. It’s great that a tile contractor can replace specific parts of your floor if it’s uneven. My brother has been telling me about how parts of his floor have started to peak recently. I’ll share this informant with him so that he can look into his options for professionals who can help him with this in the future.

  3. You made a great point about peaks and valleys in the joints and how they can create bumps. My husband and I are looking for a shower re-grouting and sealing service that can help as we remodel our master bathroom. We will keep these tips in mind as we search for a professional that can help us best.

  4. I never thought that an expert would be able to finish your tiling project without tearing apart the entire thing! My wife and I live in an older home where the shower tiles look like they weren’t done by an expert. Because we want our shower to look the best it can, we’ll be sure to keep your tips in mind as we call an expert and find out what tiles can be cleaned and what tiles need to be replaced altogether!

  5. It’s great to know that the thinset actually has a shelf-life and needs to be used before it’s bad. My spouse and I are going to do some renovations around our home this year so that it has added value. We need to get the right tiles for the outdoors so that we have a dedicated space to host gatherings.

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