Tommy’s Tips: Ceramic Tiling & Mastic

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My current building project is coming to a conclusion, with that seemingly never ending list of little things to do.  It has been quite a job, the complete upgrading and renovation of a relatively new, but poorly finished house, hence the very long “to do” list.  Some of those items on the list was hanging two shower doors, and fixing two toilet roll holders, and two hand towel rings.  Not normally a problem, except that I’d used porcelain tiles in the kitchen and both bathrooms, and although they look fantastic, and will last about five thousand years without wearing out, they are as hard as iron, and really tough to drill!

The first thing I had to do was mark the fixing points, but a dark grey tile makes it difficult to see, so I use masking tape which enables you to mark the fixing positions and helps prevent the drill bit from wandering, and scratching the face of the tile.  Now this is important, the drill must not be turned onto hammer, and be running at a slow speed using a drill bit specially designed to drill through porcelain.  Start off very carefully, and don’t apply too much pressure until the position is established, and even though I use the dry drill bit version, I regularly dip the drill bit into a container of water to cool the tip down as it gets very hot.

It was a very slow process, so much patience is required, I had to drill 20 holes in total, which took me a whole day, and I used 3 drill bits in the process!

A little “Tommy tip” before putting the plastic plug in the drilled hole, pump a bit of silicon mastic into the hole to ensure water tightness, and extra grip on the plug!

Although I can use a mastic gun “OK” it’s vital that a quality mastic seam is applied all around the bathroom and kitchen, and also between the skirting’s and any flooring (besides carpets) to give it that professional finish.  That’s the reason I always call in a professional “mastic-man” to do the whole property, both inside and out (renew mastic externally around all windows and doors when painting).

As I said, I could get by doing it myself, but in order to avoid covering myself in mucky mastic and for that perfect professional finish its worth paying for, on average between £300-£350 for the whole job including materials, which is great value for the perfect finish.  The “mastic man” is the last man in, after everything is completed, including the cleaning, that’s when he comes in for the very last touch, a small financial investment for a great return!

Tommy Walsh

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