Author: Allen Rhaines

A newbie’s guide to laying beautiful tile for any room!

A newbie’s guide to laying beautiful tile for any room!

Tiles have a long history that dates back around 4000 years, but when you start your first ever tiling project you’re bound to need some tips to help you to master the art. Although tiling may look complicated, it’s surprisingly easy to approach and when you pay attention to this helpful advice, you’ll find that you can easily achieve the effect you’ve been dreaming of while saving yourself money!

What Supplies Will You Need?

  • Tile Markers
  • A mixing paddle
  • A drill
  • Screws
  • Backerboard
  • Grout
  • Mortar
  • Tile Saw
  • Trowels
  • Measuring tape
  • Bucket
  • Knee pads
  • Utility knife
  • Spacers
  • Straight edge
  • Level
  • Sponges
  • Tiles

Step One

Ensure that your surface has been cleaned of all dust and dirt by vacuuming the space and checking for any exposed nail heads or loose plywood. Once the area is tidy, install the backerboard to provide a protective, even surface which is resistant to moisture. Use a utility knife or scoring knife to cut the boards and then snap it along the edge. Stagger each sheet as it is laid down as you won’t want the sheets to come together corner to corner – leave a gap of 1/8” between every sheet. Use a trowel to apply a small amount of mortar in a thin layer under each sheet. Screw or nail on the backerboard.

Step Two

Start tiling from the back wall of the space and work forwards. Mix the mortar following the directions and trowel it onto the backer board covering enough space to accommodate two tiles. Lay one and tap it down. You can use tile spacers to achieve a uniform gap between each tile. Work down row by row and use a tile saw to cut the end pieces. Once you reach the final row you will need to measure and cut carefully to ensure the perfect fit. Once you have finished, you need to wait for it to set before removing the spacers and troweling grout into the gaps. Keep the tiles as clean as possible as cleaning grout off once it has dried is virtually impossible.

Extra Tips

  • Take the time to ensure all debris and dust is removed from the floor before you begin
  • Don’t buy the most expensive tools if this is your first project.
  • Keep all of your tools as clean as possible, and remember to rinse off all grout and mortar before it has time to set.
  • Plan your tiling route before you begin to avoid tiling yourself accidentally into a corner.

When you follow these newbie tiling tips, you’ll find that your project is much simpler than you first imagined. You’ll be able to achieve a great result and save yourself a fortune instead of engaging a professional contractor at a high cost to do the job for you. Once you’ve tiled one room, you won’t be able to wait to do it again!

Pro Tips when Painting those ugly old kitchen cabinets

Pro Tips when Painting those ugly old kitchen cabinets

If you have solid kitchen cabinets but they’re starting to look dated, giving them a lick of paint can make them look brand new without breaking the bank. While you could hire a professional to do the job, it would be cheaper to paint them yourself. There’s no need to spray paint cabinets in order to achieve a smooth finish, and using a brush is just as good as long as you follow the essential steps. While it may be more time consuming, the final result will be a durable finish that looks flawless and has cost you a fraction of the amount.

Preparing The Space

Before you begin, you need to make sure the room is well prepared. Empty all cabinets, clear the counters and remove all appliances. Move furniture into another room and tape rosin paper over all flooring and countertops. Place plastic sheeting over the windows, backsplash, interior doorways and fixed appliances and mask off all of the wall around each cabinet. Last of all, put up a work table on which you can paint the shelves, drawers and doors.

Removing Drawers And Shelves

Take the hinge screws out of the cabinet frame and then remove the door. Label each with a piece of numbered tape. Number each cabinet shelf’s end as well as the bases of each drawer. Place all the hardware to one side and remove all hinges and pulls.

Clean Surfaces

Open all windows to allow better ventilation and wear safety gear. Scrub all of the doors, face frames, shelves and drawer fronts using an abrasive pad that has been dipped in a liquid deglosser then wipe the residue away with a clean damp rag.

Fill The Holes

When relocating hardware, always fill the old holes using an auto body filler or 2 part polyester wood. It will set quickly so make it in small amounts. Overfill each hole to allow for shrinkage. Once it has set, sand it down until it is smooth.

Sanding Down

Use 100 grit sandpaper for sanding down all surfaces with the grain. To ensure there is no dust marring your flawless finish, use a vacuum to clean the cabinets both outside and in and then rub then down using a tack cloth.


If the cabinets are made out of a wood with a tight grain such as maple, cherry or a man-made material you should use a primer with an oil base, however If the cabinets are made from a wood with an open grain such as ash, mahogany, hickory and oak, you should apply an oil based coating first to fill up the grain, starting from top to bottom. Allow to dry for at least a day before applying another coat and leaving again to dry for another 24 hours. Sand the surfaces using a random orbit sander and 220 grit sandpaper.


Fill open seams with a thin bead of latex caulk, smoothing it with your damp finger. Fill all scratches and dents with vinyl spackle and smooth it flat using a putty knife. Leave it to dry for an hour before sanding down, vacuuming and wiping. Spot prime the spackle using a spray of oil based rapid drying primer. Wait 60 minutes then sand, vacuum and wipe once more.

Painting Cabinets

Apply paint from the top to the bottom across the grain and then tip it off. Use a mini roller to paint the inside of cabinets and sand down all surfaces before vacuuming and cleaning once more. Use a new brush for the final coat. Once that has dried, put the shelf hangers back in place.

Painting Drawers, Shelves And Doors

Follow the same sequence that you followed for painting the cabinets but carry out the work on a table so that the chance of any sagging, running or dripping is reduced. Paint one side and leave to dry before painting the other, and always keep the faces flat.

Replace Shelving And Drawers

Once the last coat has dried, put all the shelving back, reinstall the knob and hinges and rehang. Replace all drawer pulls and reinstall drawers into their opening.