Successful DIY Tile Installation: A Weekend Guide for Homeowners

Introduction: DIY Tile Installation

DIY Tile Installation; should I do it? At The Tile Installations Specialists we like to create a sense of awe in everything we do and part of that is transforming spaces with the art of tile craftsmanship. Whether it’s a sleek subway tile for your backsplash or a durable 12×24 porcelain for your entrance, the right tile can elevate your home. But the question we often encounter is: Should you attempt tile-setting on your own? Let’s explore this together.

Table of Content

Know your project

Firstly, understanding the scope of your tiling project is crucial. A small backsplash area in your kitchen? Perhaps a manageable undertaking…. maybe… depending on the tile you choose. However, flooring an entire room or a complex pattern may require precision and expertise beyond casual DIY skills. Here is a blueprint for a major bathroom reno to help you on large projects. Consider the size, location, and purpose of the tiled area. These factors can influence the complexity of the job and the materials needed.

Tools & Materials

DIY tile-setting requires specific tools and materials such as tile cutters, trowels, spacers, mortar, and grout. At TTIS, we utilize professional-grade equipment for precision and longevity. Inadequate tools can lead to uneven cuts, poor adhesion, and ultimately, a less durable finish. For those without these tools, the initial investment can increase the overall cost and complexity of the project.

Skills & Experience

Tiling is an art form. It requires a steady hand, an eye for detail, and experience. As professionals, we’ve spent years perfecting our craft, from understanding how to properly lay out a room to mastering the intricacies of how tile behaves in different conditions (exterior, interior, hot, steam showers, humid areas, enclosed areas). While some homeowners may have a knack for precision work, the experience gap can be a deciding factor in whether a DIY project will have a professional-quality finish.

DIY Tile Installation Skills & Experience

Time Commitment

Consider the time you’re willing to dedicate to the project. Professional tilers like ourselves can tackle a job efficiently, thanks to our experience and focus. A weekend project for a DIYer can quickly turn into a multi-weekend saga with disruptions to your daily life and potentially unsatisfactory results if rushed.

Cost-Benefit Analysis

Cost is often a motivator for DIY, but it’s important to do a thorough cost-benefit analysis. The hidden costs of DIY include tool rental or purchase, material waste due to inexperience, and the potential need for future repairs. Conversely, hiring professionals like TTIS ensures the job is done right the first time, with workmanship guaranteed and even better we warranty all of our installations for as long as you own your home. 

When to hire a pro

So, when should you definitely call in a pro? Jobs that demand waterproofing expertise, such as showers and outdoor tiles, large areas, and complex patterns or materials, are best handled by professionals. Not only for the sake of quality but for ensuring the longevity of your investment. Imperfect tiling can lead to water damage, loose tiles, and costly repairs down the line.


Q: Do you know how many inches of subfloor is required by code in Edmonton for a tiled system on your floors? A: A minimum of 1 1/4″ is required

Q: Do you know how to plan a layout? Small cuts on the edges is not acceptable. Watch for “U” cuts in certain sections because it isn’t always possible. Also for “L” cuts. Symmetry is a must. What are you willing to live with for the next 20-30 years of your life? A: If the answer is yes. Check pattern both ways. Check size tile (12×12 or 12×24 or hexagonal 8×9), pattern install (70×30, stacked, side to side or front to back), Grout size line, and measure the pattern on repeat until edge of area. Spend the extra time here to avoid problems after you’ve place tile with mortar and its drying.

Q: Are you going to be renting the tools? Buying the tools? A: Unless you’re planning on becoming a tilesetter after you finish your project, this will increase the cost of the project a lot and then tools will collect dust in storage.

Q: Do you know what mortar to use depending on the location of the tile application? Different size tiles require different mortars. A: This is pretty self explanatory. Depending on size of tile and location of application there are mortars to make your life easier and also a best project outcome.

Q: Application on different substrates? What do you do if you’re going on top of linoleum? Particle board? Top of tile? A: Mortar has moisture and particle board likes moisture. You do not want to install on particle board. Remove and install appropriate substrate prior to tile install. Do not install on top of linoleum, unless proper testing and priming of the substrate is done first.

Q: What material to use in a shower application? Drywall? Mold resistant drywall? Tile backboard? Cement board? A: As long as there is a waterproofing membrane installed after the boarding of the shower, you are 100% good. You could save money if you just use a waterproofing board and then just apply sealer on the joints.

Q: Are you confidently willing to put thousands of dollars in tile and material on the line to potentially save some money? And your own valuable time? A: It is up to each one of you.

Q: Have you ever had a quick and easy weekend DIY project turn into a month long nightmare? I know we have a fair share of our own. It can be really stressful on a marriage. A: How much do you value your time? How much do you value your marriage? These are really important before you jump into a DIY tile setting project.

Q: Why is tile installation so expensive? A: Tile installation extends far beyond the simple act of laying tiles. It involves a thorough and detailed process in which the tilesetter meticulously covers the designated area a minimum of seven times from start to finish, ensuring that the installation meets the highest standards of quality. This degree of scrutiny is a bare minimum and does not even take into account the added complexity when opting for intricate designs like chevron, herringbone, or complex multi-size tile patterns. Moreover, it’s important to recognize that tile laying is not just a task but an art form that demands specialized skills, precision, and a keen eye for detail. The process is elaborate and demands significant time investment, with a focus not only on ensuring the structural integrity of the installation but also on achieving a level of aesthetic excellence that complements the overall design vision. Rest assured, our commitment to these principles ensures that your tile installation will not only last but will also be a visual delight.

Conclusion: DIY Tile Installation

To sum up, DIY tile-setting can be a rewarding project for those with the time, tools, and modest ambition. However, the assurance of quality, efficiency, and expertise often makes the investment in professional services worthwhile, particularly in complex projects or high-stake areas of your home. At TTIS, we believe in doing it right while delivering beautiful, lasting results. You can find us on Facebook, Instagram, TikTok, and Youtube. Our website is full of resources for all of the DIY folks out there because we do want you to attempt it. BUT Remember… just because you can doesn’t mean you should.

What things can I do to update my Kitchen

If you’re looking for a way to update the look of your kitchen without a major renovation, a tile backsplash is one of the best options. A tile backsplash can give your kitchen a modern, stylish look while also protecting the walls from splashes and spills. Plus, tile backsplashes are relatively easy to install and come in a variety of colors, textures, and patterns, making it easy to find something that fits your style and budget.

If you’re looking for a way to update the look of your kitchen without a major renovation

Tile backsplashes are also very practical. The tile material is easy to clean and maintain, and it’s also water-resistant and heat-resistant. This makes it ideal for use in the kitchen, where it can protect the walls from splashes and spills. And because tile is so durable, your backsplash will look like new for years to come.

Tile backsplashes come in a variety of colors, textures, and patterns, so you’re sure to find something that suits your kitchen.

When it comes to installation, tile backsplashes are relatively easy to install. You can try to do the job yourself. Of course, if you’d rather leave the installation to a professional such as ourselves, that’s an option too. Just click here for an estimate and we’ll be happy to assist you.

Tile backsplashes come in a variety of colors, textures, and patterns, so you’re sure to find something that suits your kitchen. From classic subway tile to colorful mosaic tile, there’s a style for everyone. And because tile is so affordable, you can update your kitchen without breaking the bank.

If you’re looking for an easy way to update the look of your kitchen, a tile backsplash is a great option. It’s affordable, easy to install, and comes in a variety of styles, so you’re sure to find something you love. Plus, it’s extremely durable and easy to maintain, so your kitchen will look great for years to come.

For more about what we do you can check out our services. The tile on this kitchen backsplash was picked out at The Tile and Stone Source

Kitchen Backsplash and why is it important

When it comes to kitchen design, the backsplash is one of the most important elements. A tiled kitchen backsplash not only adds a stylish touch to your kitchen but also serves a practical purpose. It serves as a shield from water, grease, and food splatters that can discolor your walls and create an unsightly mess.

A tiled kitchen backsplash not only adds a stylish touch to your kitchen but also serves a practical purpose.

Tiles are an ideal material for kitchen backsplashes since they are durable, waterproof, and easy to clean. Tiles come in a variety of shapes, sizes, colors, and textures, so you can customize your kitchen to fit your personal style. You can even mix and match different tiles to create a unique look.

Tiles are also great for creating a focal point in your kitchen. Whether you choose to feature a patterned tile or stick to a single color, you can use a tiled backsplash to create a beautiful accent wall. You can also use tiles to frame a window or even as a border around your countertops.

Kitchen Backsplash – after shot

It adds style and personality to your kitchen while also protecting your walls from splatters and spills.

Another great advantage of a tiled backsplash is that it’s relatively easy to install. You can try and do-it-yourself and if you don’t see it possible you can hire a professional such as our company to install the tiles for you. Read more here or you can submit a request for an estimate here

Overall, a tiled kitchen backsplash is an essential element of any kitchen design. It adds style and personality to your kitchen while also protecting your walls from splatters and spills. With so many options available, you can easily find the perfect tiles to create the perfect look for your kitchen.

Tile Store Supplier we work with:

Bathroom Renovation in Magrath Heights Edmonton

This Bathroom renovation was done due to a leak on shower from original construction of the shower. The leak originated from the bench form inside corners and it leaked to the back wall of the shower into our clients walk in closet.

Here are some before pictures of the shower and a video of the demolition stage of the bathroom shower.

Here is a time lapse video of the demolition stage

With all the demolition completed, our plumbers and electricians came in for rough in. This shower our client selected a Riobel Fixture with 2 outlets. A handheld with an adjustable anchored bar and a shower head dead centre of the back wall. Beautiful things about this Riobel fixture that our client loves is the preset temperature mixture valve which you can set one to the desired temperature and never really have to touch it again. Just turn on the water and temperature will always be the same.

Our client selected a lit niche for this shower with 2 ceiling pot-lights. American Lighting and Prizm Lighting have great solutions for this application.

Now we’re onto the boarding stage, waterproofing and tile. We use the Schluter Waterproofing systems for most of our showers. We also work with the Wedi Shower Systems, as well as Custom Building Products, Ardex, Laticrete, & Mapei if our client has a preference. Typically client look at us for making that decision and Schluter has always done good by us so we keep on using them.

With all the tiling done, and grouting complete. Our glass installation take place.

The big final step, all finishing touches. The lit niche requires a few extra steps to work well with the tiling. Electrician & plumbing final come through. Silicone our vertical and horizontal plane corners and she’s is good to go.

We want to take this moment to Thank Brett & family for choosing us & giving us the honour to do this job for them. It was a wonderful time for us to do the work for you guys. We would love to hear from you in the future for your future tiling needs.

Here is a small video clip of what the inside looks after all is done.

And lastly a before and after side by side picture of the job finished up.

The Great Grout Debate

Welcome to the Great Grout Debate. Where we are going to discuss which grout is better or if it is really about which one is better but for what applications specifically.

Lets begin with the grout sold at your favourite retail stores. Home Depot, Lowe’s, etc

Home Depot has your basic Custom Building Products Polyblend and then the more hardcore and expensive Custom Building Products Fusion Pro

Lowe’s has MAPEI Ultracolor Plus FA, Flexcolor CQ Premixed Grout, and MAPEI Keracolor U

The biggest thing so far is that they all carry your starting cement based grout and then the premixed grout which is either quartz particle or something else like it mixed in the grout for durability and colour consistency.

If you go to specialty shops like the ones we go to. There will also be available a Custom Grout Prism. Or the Ardex brand grout. Or the Laticrete brand grout. Or the Flextile Grout Brand.

For other subject please check our blog