How do I lay out stairs

Laying tiles on old stairs

Laying tiles on old stairs: Here's how to proceed

Laying an older staircase with new tiles is not rocket science. We'll tell you what to watch out for and how to best proceed.

In addition to wood, designer coverings and carpet, tiles are increasingly popular stair coverings. And for good reason: once installed, they are particularly easy to care for and there is next to no maintenance. In addition, they have a long service life, so that the investment once made is worthwhile in the long term. Regardless of the shape of the staircase you have integrated in the house: tiles can be used on straight stairs with smooth edges as well as on curved stairs or even spiral stairs. Here, however, professional experience is usually required in order to be able to look forward to a flawless result.

The slip resistance of the tile - the basis for safety on the stairs

Before deciding on a particular stair tile, you should always check its slip resistance. Even if non-slip tiles are only compulsory in commercial areas, they also reduce accidents in private homes. In this respect, find out when buying the slip resistance class of the tiles you want, which are divided into classes R 9 to R 13. The code number R11 is ideal for laying on stairs. Tiles with an additional grooved face have a further anti-slip effect. However, the look is not always popular in the living room.

Tile stairs symmetrically

It is not just the tile itself, but also the tile pattern that determines whether the staircase will later shine in a beautiful overall look. As a rule, you will be faced with the challenge of having to cut individual tiles when laying. Then it makes sense to strive for a symmetrical look, as this later looks particularly inconspicuous and at the same time appealing. To do this, you define the middle of each step and think in advance how you want to lay the tiles to the left and right. So you can either place an entire tile in the middle of the middle of the stairs and work your way to the side from here. Alternatively, lay a whole tile to the left and right of the center.

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Laying tiles on old stairs

If the new tiles are to be laid on an older staircase, some preparations must be made. In addition to a primer and a possible barrier layer, unevenness in the steps, possible cracks or dents must first be leveled out with a filler. After everything is completely dry, you can actually start laying the tiles.

Notice: A staircase is always tiled from top to bottom. This ensures that the tile adhesive can dry off while you continue to work on the stairs yourself.

Now lay the step tiles by first applying the tile adhesive to the step and the back of the tile with a suitable spatula. Then place the tile in the adhesive bed as shown above.

Tip: You need expansion joints at all edges of the stairs so that the tiles are not exposed to tension and cannot crack later.

Once you have completed a step, first cover the vertical abutment surfaces in closed stair systems - here too, maintaining the expansion joints. By the way: In order to achieve an even joint pattern, joint meshes in various sizes are available in stores, which you can place between the tiles when laying. This will ensure that all the joints will be the same width later.

After you have covered all the steps, let the tiles dry for a few days according to the manufacturer's instructions, until the surface can be walked on again.

Now seal the joints with a grout. To do this, first scrape the last remains of adhesive out of the joints before the mortar is poured into the joints. It is best to apply the grout diagonally to the actual joint. Let the mortar dry and wash out the joints and tiles with a joint sponge.

Finally, it is best to close the expansion joints with silicone. To do this, mask the joints with a narrow masking tape before you inject the silicone into the expansion joints using a cartridge provided for this purpose. Then peel off the silicone evenly with a putty knife and let it dry.

Laying tiles on old tiles: is that possible?

In order to re-tile an already tiled staircase, you do not necessarily have to remove the old material. The only condition: the old tiles must fit securely and must not show any cracks or damage in the substrate - and above all, they must be clean and free of grease. Because the dirt deposits prevent the adhesive from sticking.

Tip: Find out about special adhesives with which tile adheres best to tile in specialist shops.

There is another special feature to consider, which is more of a constructive nature: Anyone laying new tiles on old material always changes the original floor level. Therefore, always coordinate the height of the tiled floor with the adjacent room height. Otherwise, there will be small edges with a risk of falling, and doors may no longer open without friction.

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