10 Best Tiled Shower Ideas
Terracotta and quarry tiles are very porous and must be sealed before you add grouting in order to provide a hard-wearing and easy-to-clean surface. Ensure the surfaces of the tiles are free from dust and any traces of tile adhesive. Brush one coat of boiled linseed oil over the tiles with a brush or short-haired paint roller. It is important to apply an even coat to avoid the risk of streaking. The oil will soak into the tile, the surface losing its gloss 210 minutes after application. If it appears matt in less time than that, apply the oil more liberally. Allow the sealer to dry and then grout. A second coat of sealer should be applied after grouting.
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Grout terracotta tiles with a grout that is suitable for wide joints; porous tiles are grouted using a pointing method rather than by simply spreading the grout over the surface as you would for ceramic tiles. Fill the joints using a pointing trowel, and avoid spilling any of the grout onto the surface of the tiles. Finish the grout by making it slightly concave; bend a round metal pipe into a convenient shape and use that.
Some types of handmade tiles benefit from ‘slurry grouting’, a technique which fills in all the pits and dents to create an antiqued appearance. Mix up the grout to a creamy consistency and grout as you would ceramic tiles ( 162-163), ensuring that the grout fills all the crevices. Clean the excess grout off the surface with a damp sponge.
Apply a second coat of seal once the grout has thoroughly dried, using the oil more sparingly than before as the tiles will be less porous. Any excess oil that does not soak in after 20 minutes should be cleaned from the surface of the tile. After the oil has had time to soak into the tiles fully, which usually takes a few hours or overnight, the tiles can be waxed. Use a proprietary floor wax and wax the floor twice. The new floor should then be waxed once a week for the following month in order to build up a smooth and hard-wearing, yet mellow surface.
Although they are usually laid in the more demanding areas of the home the kitchen and bathroom – flexible materials can be used in any room and would be a particularly sensible choice for a hallway. In practice, these materials should never wear out in a domestic situation.
Linoleum, the forerunner of more modern materials such as vinyl, was once all that many people could afford to lay over their floorboards to increase their practicality while at the same time enhancing their appearance. In its most usual manifestation, a dreary brown colour, it was used in many public buildings. Linoleum virtually disappeared as domestic flooring with the introduction of the more versatile PVC flooring known as vinyl, but having only recently shed its traditionally dowdy image, it is currently undergoing a real renaissance. It has brightened up considerably and now offers a dazzling array of bright and cheery colours that look bang up to date.
Due to its ready availability and particularly extensive potential for decoration, vinyl has been the flooring material of choice for many years. It is possible to add far more colour and design to the surface of vinyl than of linoleum and consequently it is made in a wide range of patterned, flecked and marbled hues, as well as in imitation of expensive natural flooring materials. In some cases it is hard to tell apart from the real thing. Indeed, it can be even more expensive to buy than the real thing, the vinyl version often being chosen because of its low maintenance and because it is warmer and softer than its natural counterparts, such as stone.
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