Northern Tile Gallery has a range of tools and accessories to equip you with everything you need for DIY tiling jobs. Whether you plan on tiling a small feature piece or a whole floor in your home, we can get you started with all the tricks of the trade. Our expert team will also provide you with plenty of advice on the right way to use each tool, as well as ensuring you have the correct tool for your tile's material.
Spacers are rigid pieces of plastic in the shape of a cross. They were developed as a way of making sure there are uniform gaps between tiles when they are laid.
Once your spacer is in place, leave it installed while the adhesive is setting. Spacers are available in a variety of different sizes, so you can select them according to how wide a grout line you prefer. When it is time to remove the spacer, needle nose pliers are best for quick and easy removal.
In some cases, laying tiles can be difficult because of uneven floor foundations. As a result, tiles that seem perfectly level during installation may vary in height once the adhesive has cured. To avoid this, use a tile levelling system. These can be used for stone, ceramic, marble, granite and large format slab tiles. The system interlocks the tiles, creating a virtual single flat slab surface while the setting material is curing.
The interlocking system reduces settling from shrinkage and minimises warping. It reduces the need to re-lift tiles to add more adhesive, making installation a lot faster. The tile levelling wedges are also reusable.
To quickly remove old, cracked or damaged tiles, a tile chisel is an essential item in your toolbox. They are available with elastomer protectors to absorb impact and reduce fatigue on your wrists. The chisel can also be used to remove old plaster. Cut away small sections of tile, or cut the tile into shape with a pair of tile nippers. They are easily manoeuvred by hand, allowing you full cutting control. Nippers are available with a variety of tips so you can select the right material to cut through your tile.
When you need to cut a group of tiles in a straight line, a manual tile cutter is ideal. Select from additional features such as grip handles, lateral stop guides and foam grips. There are specialty mosaic tile cutters, as well as cutters with positive locking for pre-set angled cuts. Before purchasing, make sure the cutter is strong enough to slice through the largest tile you have.
If you need to cut a number of tiles, or thicker tiles, a power saw is the right tool for the job. Power saws can be used for cutting ceramic, porcelain, marble and granite materials. Ensure you select a saw that is able to support the entire tile while you are cutting it. Additional features to look for are diamond blades, overload protection, as well as a water tank and jet nozzles to cool the blade and reduce the chance of overheating.
A tile scribe is used to mark the surface of your tile so that a cutting line is established. Adequate surface markings reduce the risk of inaccurate cutting or breaking, particularly when used against a straight edge. Scribes are available with carbide-tipped blades, which ensures a smooth, steady marking movement.
To spread glue over the surface you are tiling, you will need a trowel. Select from either a gauging or pointing trowel, depending on the size of the job. Notched trowels are also available, which are used for consistent thick levels of adhesive. Be sure to apply adhesive in small sections at a time, otherwise it will begin to dry before you can lay all the tiles.
You will need a spreader to ensure grout is pushed into the gaps between each tile. It is also used to remove any excess grout before it begins to set. The spreader's material is soft enough to ensure the tiles are not scratched during the grouting process.
A small hand-operated tool, the grout rake has a steel blade covered in grit which attaches to grouting materials. Pulling the tool along the joints is sufficient to rake out the old or discoloured grout. In most cases you will only need to remove the top portion of the grout, so using a hand tool gives you more control.