If there was one thing the Victorians knew how to do well, it was their tiled paths. There is something so hypnotising about the geometric patterns that always lure me into taking a sneaky snap of my feet on top of them, I wonder what the Victorians would have thought of this madness?
Being an Edwardian House it would have been more in keeping for us to create a typical black and white chequered tile effect but we fell in love with the more vibrant style of tile.
We deliberated over tiling our path for months, it seemed such a massive expense for something that ultimately was not a necessity and was purely for our (and anyone who walked by) aesthetic pleasure. We had found the tile we loved but had worked out it was going to cost around £600 and for ages we couldn’t justify it.
After posting a photograph of the tiles we loved on Instagram, some kind followers commented they had seen these tiles elsewhere for cheaper. We checked it out and indeed found a much cheaper price for the same tile over at Best Tile. After ordering samples though we found colour variation among the border tiles and the main tiles. Best Tiles explained that this was common between batches and would possibly be that way wherever we purchased from. They said we could return the tiles if we were not happy but as they were based in Belfast; this would be at a large cost. It just wasn’t worth the risk for us.
A few weeks later we saw an advert that Topps Tiles had a half price sale on and as this was originally where we saw our dream tiles we checked their site assuming they would NEVER be in the sale…. they bloody well were!! HALF PRICE. We already had worked out how many tiles we needed and purchased on the spot.
Choose a couple of days to do this when the weather forecast is good (we did it over a dry weekend in October).
If you opt for a patterned tile which requires a main tile, corner tile and border tile then you need to do a bit of plotting. We used squared graph paper and from the sizes of the tiles worked out how many we would need and which of them we would need to cut. Always allow for ‘bodge-ups’ too and order a little more than you need. We also selected a tile that would fit relatively well without having to cut too much. Definitely work with tiles that measure up closely to your specific space.
You need a good base initially and luckily for us our old path was sturdy concrete, albeit a little shabby. We had a large crack across the bottom (no pun intended), which we levelled out with concrete and left overnight to go off. We also needed to even up the sides of the path so used an angle grinder to ensure it was straight all the way down.
Once we had the tiles we began in the storm porch, laying the tiles down first to get an idea of how they would look and then cutting any that required it.
Happy that they would fit we then applied a tile adhesive to the ground and lay the tiles, applying plastic spacers in between. We repeated this for the whole path and left overnight for it to set. Pop a sign on your gate with a ‘No walking’ warning as there’s always one annoying person who steps on it.
The next day we applied a white grout all over and again left this to dry overnight. The tiles required quite a bit of washing down to remove the grout smears afterwards.
As our path ends at an angle we decided to finish off the end of the path with smoothed off concrete.
Total cost was £250 for Grosvenor Black/Blue tiles (half price at the time) and around £80 for grout and adhesive, which we got for half price as Topps Tiles accidently sent half our tiles to the wrong store and took two weeks to get them back.
We absolutely adore our tiles and it has made such a huge difference to the front of our house. It certainly attracts a lot of attention on our street. The tiles have a slightly granular texture so they aren’t slippy and even in the recent 2 foot of snow and ice; they were still safe to walk on. We keep them nice and clean by a quick mop every couple of weeks; the neighbours think we’re mad.