Here it is, the last Ask an Expert of 2017!
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Q. What are my best options for tiling around a fireplace?
A. Make sure that the background your tiling on to is suitable I.e plasterboard / cement board and that the adhesives are suitable. Most tiles will fit the bill but please make sure when purchasing from a reputable tile shop you let them know where the tiles are for.
Q. How can I prevent cracking my tiles if I accidentally drop something?
A. When fitting your tiles always make sure you have a solid bed of adhesive behind the tiles. This may not prevent cracking or chipping but will give your tiles a stronger chance. Also have a look at the tile choice, a ceramic floor tile is not as robust as a porcelain floor tile. Also you may need to look at your background that you are fixing to, a timber substate will be flexible potentially allowing tiles to crack if the adhesive is incorrect.
Q. My grouting has started to peel, what’s the best way to fix/replace it?
A. The best way is to rake the grout outing a grout rake and start again, you need to look at why the grout is coming out, could it be the wrong grout ?? Could it be that the tiles have been incorrectly fitted. It could mean that the tiles have been fitted on to a flexible background and a flexible grout has not been used. Once you are sure the tiles are solid and you have the correct grout using a grout squeegee infill all the gaps in your tiles with the new grout. Then once the grout has gone off enough wipe off any excess with a sponge and plenty of clean water, repeat the process with clean water so you don’t get any grout residue / hazing on the tiles. Once dry buff up with a clean cloth so theres no dust on the tiles.