2 July 2020

Floor tiling help in Canberra?

| Padoof
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I read through some old threads regarding tiling, but was hoping for some more up to date recommendations.

My better half and I are in the process of getting quotes to renovate the kitchen and European laundry (2 are from previous RA recommendations). In doing this it’s become apparent that the floor will be an issue; it’s tiles on tiles (or lino on tiles!) on floor boards.

Any recommendations for a floor tiling specialist who can pull up the two layers of lino/tiles? We may want to just keep the wooden floor boards if they’re in good condition.

One of the fellows out for the kitchen/laundry quote yesterday suggested that the charge would be hourly, rather than just for the job. The area is approximately 4 metres by 7 metres. Do we even need a tile specialist or is there such a thing as a specilist floor-ripper-upperer?

If anyone has any knowledge about the hourly rate or other potential issues, I’d love to hear about it.

If you’re also looking for a tiler, flooring specialist or kitchen renovator, check out our recently updated articles on the best tilers, the best flooring specialists and the best kitchen renovation companies in Canberra.

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I hope the tiling industry isn’t as bad as it was 15 years ago. Have a good look at ‘rubberised’ tiling base. Whatever it is called, I couldn’t get a tiler to use it but it was available. I live in a relocatable house subject to minor movement and tiled the toilet floor using it as a base. Then I had a tiler do the bathroom and laundry and he wouldn’t use that base just the standard mortar. The rest is history. The tiler came back to redo the laundry (no cost that first time) where a straight line crack occurred but that was back then. Now we have a different crack in the laundry and another crack in the bathroom. Thanks a lot Canberra tradies, I guess you like creating work for yourselves – it keeps you going.

Hourly quotes are given where the builder cannot properly scope the work, so can’t determine how long it will take. If you push for a fixed fee, you will get a high fee with a lot of contingency built in (for all those things the builder cannot see). So the hourly rate may not turn out to be higher than the fixed rate (most builders will let you set a ‘cap’ eg they do $2000 worth of work and then stop, you then decide if you want to finish it off yourself). If the builder is trustworthy, then an hourly rate won’t be abused.

Removing tiles is fairly easy. You just remove one (smash it with a hammer or something) then chisel/putty knife under the others. The grout/adhesive usually comes off without too much hassle, although there will be sanding etc to get rid of the residue.

However, lino can be harder or easier. Usually harder because the glue used is tough to remove. Takes a bit (ok, a lot) of physical effort and often the use of a heat gun. Plus there is a high risk of damaging the wooden floor underneath (although usually nothing that cannot be dealt with by a good sanding – or laying new wood over the top, which might turn out to be your best option)

Overall its not a high skill job – probably the builder will use an apprentice anyway or just a general labourer.

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