20.11.2020

Updated:

6.4.2021

5 min read

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When Daniel and his partner bought their 1970’s doer-upper seven years ago, they planned to renovate, sell up and buy somewhere else – the flipping dream. And being in their early 20’s, it was a stepping stone of sorts..

After moving in, they realised time wasn’t so much of the essence. It was about enjoying the experience, and they’ve been chipping away at their renos for the past four years.

Enter the most recent job: a sleek white tile splashback.

The renovated kitchen was missing one thing: a splashback

Starting the Finishing Touches

With 12 jobs done and dusted on Builderscrack, Daniel was confident he could find a professional to help him finish off the kitchen and laundry.

“We did the kitchen a couple of years ago, and the plan was always to put a splashback in there,” Daniel says.

“It was more of a finishing touch than a necessity at that time.

“But when we renovated the laundry at the start of this year, we thought now’s the time to do them both.”

The Vision

As with most renos, the paradox of choice can make it hard to decide on the perfect finish.

“Originally we were looking at normal subway tiles, but when we posted the job on Builderscrack we had three people come back to us with different options,” Daniel says.

“So we went to a few tile places and actually took some free samples home to see what they’d look like.

“My partner was unsure about tile choice after that,” Daniel laughs.

Mark Gibson of Gibson Tiling recommends ordering 15% more tiles as they can sometimes come out of the box damaged

Choosing a Tradie

“We weren’t deciding just on price; we were looking at previous jobs – similar ones to ours,” Daniel says.

“We were also looking at recent reviews, but everyone I dealt with was good.”

In the end, out of eight tradies chasing their job, they liked the approach shown by Mark Gibson of Gibson Tiling.

Getting Straight To It

After catching up with Mark to get the lowdown on the job, he said it was pretty straightforward – except for the laundry wall, quite literally.

“A lot of older houses have walls that aren’t plumb, and in this case, there was no way I could straighten it,” Mark says.

“I used a level to show them so they were aware, but you know, you do your best to make the tiles as straight as possible.”

Mark says a lot of older houses have walls that aren’t plumb.

The Job Summary

The job entailed tiling a splashback for the kitchen (approx 4m) and laundry (approx 1.8m) up to the height of the overhead cabinets.

Materials:

  • 75 x 300mm Touch Bianco Tiles (White)
  • Mapei Grout (White)

 

Specifics:

  • Job cost: Approx $590 (exl. tiles)
  • BC trade: Floor and Wall Tiling
  • Time to complete: 2 days

Mark also says the last thing you want are tiles going halfway up a power plug. So for aesthetics, either choose a finish line above or below your plugs.

The Result

“The kitchen feels a lot more complete – we had been staring at it for so long like a half-finished project,” Daniel says.

“It kind of reminds me of one of those home improvement shows, when they have their final reveal,” Daniel laughs.

“My advice for other homeowners doing renos is to chip away at it, do little things, and you’ll learn things along the way for next time.”

Thoughts on The Tradie

“I think he did a really good job; he communicated really well with us,” Daniel says.

“We kind of changed our mind at the 11th hour with the tile choice, and he was really patient.”

Thoughts on Builderscrack

“I find it really easy, if you’ve got a job, put it out there, and people will get back to you,” Daniel says.

“You don’t have to hunt around; if you put up pictures and a good description, tradies are usually able to see the scope and show their interest towards your job.”

Tradie Advice for Your Next Tiling Project

  • Power plugs: Mark says the last thing you want are tiles going halfway up a power plug. So for aesthetics, either choose a finish line above or below your plugs. Try looking for tiles that go to the decided height when stacked, while keeping in mind the measurements will approximately be: 1mm off the bench top + 1 ½ mm grout lines.

  • Order 15% more tiles: Tiles can sometimes come out of the box damaged (which can stall works if there isn’t enough to complete the job); and also in case of breakage when being cut to size.

  • Window sills: If your window sills are out by a couple millimetres (1 to 5mm), don’t stress too much as you can fill that with silicon.

  • Walls: On the other hand, your walls might be worth straightening if they’re out by a considerable amount as that can affect the finished look of the tiles.

  • Type of finish: Do you want a matte, shiny, chrome, aluminium or brush finish?

  • Fitting, fixtures, and appliances: Does your cabinetry have black handles? Is your fridge silver or white? Consider the surroundings when choosing the type of tile colour and finish, and grout colour.

  • Looking ahead: Mark’s seeing textured patterns and larger tiles rise in popularity

  • Future-proofing: The biggest question is, will you like it in a few years time?

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