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A day on the tiles.

While there are alternatives, tiled floors and walls or splashbacks in bathrooms and kitchens are a smart and practical choice.

With so many different tiles on the market, it's easy to find a look you like and can afford, whether you're laying the tiles yourself or getting a pro to do it. Tiles come in various shapes and sizes and it's important to get ones that are in proportion to the size of the room.

There are also lots of different materials to choose from, depending on your taste, budget and the style of the room.

Ceramic tiles are a popular and often inexpensive choice. They're easy to lay and look after, as are glass tiles, which tend to be more expensive but look stunning.

The problem with glass tiles is that they're difficult to cut because they chip easily.

Real stone tiles, such as slate, marble and travertine, can be tricky to lay and may have to be sealed (with tile-sealing liquid) before being laid, which can cause problems in itself. They need more aftercare than ceramic and glass tiles and can vary a lot in thickness, colour and texture, so they're not for everyone.

Mosaic tiles are available in all of the above materials, plus metal, and are perfect for creating a feature wall. They come in sheets on a mesh (or paper) and the mesh is supposed to keep the tiles evenly spaced, but it doesn't, in my experience, work well.

FOR To get straight, even grout lines, it's best to put tile spacers between each tile, which is timeconsuming and tedious. Mosaics can also be hard to keep looking good, depending on where they are and the colour of the grout, because there are so many grout lines.

If you're buying tiles online that you haven't seen in person, make sure you get a sample first. Of course, the safest option is to buy tiles in store, where you can see what you're getting.

B&Q has upped its game this season, both in terms of the tiles on offer and the presentation of them, so check out your local store.

Another advantage of buying in store is that you can ensure all the tiles come from the same batch (the batch number should be on the box), which minimises differences in colour and finish.

To work out the number of tiles required, multiply the length by the height of each wall or part wall to be tiled and add them together to get the total area, plus at least 10% more for breakages, cutting and wastage.

A lot of tiles are sold per square metre and even if they're not, it should say what the price is per square metre - this is the easiest way to work out the cost.

Don't forget to factor in the cost of the tile adhesive and grout, spacers and tools.

The adhesive and grout must be suitable for where you're tiling and the sort of tiles you're using. Most professional tilers like to use powdered products that are mixed with water, but it can be hard to get the right consistency and to judge how much to mix up.

Ready-mixed combined adhesives and grouts produce less waste, but only use them if they're suitable for the job and you want the grout and adhesive to be the same colour.

Product of the week If you want to protect your wooden shed, fence, gate and outdoor furniture before winter, now's the time to do it. For a vast range of colours, Cuprinol Garden Shades, which colour and protect garden wood, take some beating.

There are some lovely colours to choose from, including pretty greens and blues, but my favourite is Pale Jasmine (PS22.98 for 2.5ltr, B&Q), a delicious vanilla that makes a statement but blends in to the garden well and will never go out of fashion. This matt paint dries pretty quickly and can be sprayed on, as well as brushed, which is really handy if you have a lot of wood to cover. When there's little colour in the garden, this is a brilliant way to add it.

How to cut tiles One of the hardest parts of tiling is cutting the tiles.

There are various methods, but by far the easiest is using an electric tile cutter with a wetcutting diamond blade, such as the Titan TTB336TCB 500W Tile Saw (PS39.99, Screwfix, screwfix.com), because you just push the tile through the rotating blade. The great-value Titan is easy to set up and use and has a maximum cutting depth of 20mm, which is sufficient for most tiles.

It cuts quickly, accurately and safely and has lots of userfriendly features.

This is the only way to cut tiles!

HOMES FOR SALE PAGE 18

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There are a wide range of tiles to choose from based on your taste, budget and room style
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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:Daily Post (Liverpool, England)
Date:Nov 3, 2012
Words:820
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