Home Improvement

Masonry Book

Setting Tile (Fine Homebuilding) by Michael Byrne Setting Tile (Fine Homebuilding)
by Michael Byrne

Paperback: 244 pages ; Dimensions (in inches): 0.57 x 10.02 x 8.02
Publisher: Taunton Pr; Revised and Updated edition (July 1995)
ISBN: 1561580805

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Amazon.com: Michael Byrne's Setting Tile is packed with more than enough information for those thinking of taking on a tile job in their home. It is so detailed and thorough that it serves as a Tile 101 introduction for those interested in entering the trade full-time or simply improving their skills and knowledge. Byrne opens this revised and updated version of his previous effort with a brief description of how tile was made 6,000 years ago. Granted, the history lesson may not help someone who's planning to tile a kitchen counter, but Byrne's passion and interest for the subject pay off for the reader in other ways. He advises his readers, for example, that even after they've found the right tile for the bathroom floor or kitchen counter--the one that is just the right color and that the manufacturer recommends--to take those tiles and put them through a few of their own tests. Rub it with your favorite frying pan to see how easily it's marked up and, in turn, cleaned off. Scuff it with junior's hiking boots to see how it endures a day in the life. "I tell my customers in the end that, no matter what grade of tile they select, they can be the best judge of a tile's suitability." Byrne devotes chapters to materials, tools and safety, troubleshooting and repairs, and surface preparation. And in his chapter stressing the importance of doing a proper layout long before setting that first tile, Byrne also gives the reader a few clever ways to check levels, straightedges, and carpenter's squares for accuracy. This is a highly detailed book loaded with technical information that relies equally on photos and illustrations. It's also more about materials and tile samples than completed jobs. Don't buy this book if you're looking for glossy color photos of pristine tile jobs; buy it if you want to learn how to correctly install such jobs. --John Russell

Customer Reviews
If you're gonna tile, you need this book., August 15, 2002
Reviewer: sgonzo from Clemmons, NC USA
Probably the best do it yourself book I've ever used.

I was able to do a complex bathroom job (walls, counters, surrounds, patterns, multiple tile sizes) over an inferior floor surface (low grade particle board) by using the advice in this book, and several years later -- not a single problem with the installation.

If you're providing the labor, you can afford the essential tools, and this is the #1 essential tool.

Complete and realistic for new tilers like me, February 11, 2002
Reviewer: A reader from Ivins, UT United States
Great book, gives you an excellent feel for how to figure out what you want to do and how to do it. Assumes minimal experience yet gives enough detail to do a good job, and explains WHY each step is important.

An essential read, December 24, 2001
Reviewer: A reader from Milwaukee, WI
Michael Byrne's book is an essential read for anyone contemplating a DIY tile installation or for a professional looking to expand their knowledge base. Mr. Byrne demonstrates his thorough knowledge of the subject matter and has been on the forefront of tile-setting education and training. Mr. Byrne's attention to such issues as expansion joints and waterproofing membranes elevate this book above many of the other "guides" for tile installation, and also tackles such issues as tiling a fireplace, exterior tiling, and floating a cement shower floor. I would absolutely read this book (and check out his videos) before attempting a tile job for the first time- I cannot believe how much I've learned!

A great book that shows you how to do it., March 22, 2001
Reviewer: A reader from Three Mile Bay, NY USA
I'd never tiled anything before, but with the help of this book tiled an entire bathroom, including the shower floor, which is one of the more difficult things for the tiling uninitiated to do. It came out great, and looks wonderful! Because I did it myself I was able to put a lot of creativity into it and have an original design, which wouldn't have been possible if I'd had a contractor come in and do the job for me (time is money and I couldn't have afforded the extra time for a contractor to do a fancy job). If you have any ability to work with tools, with this book beside you you can do wonders.

The Only One You Need, January 27, 2001
Reviewer: A reader from Chicago, IL USA
I had never set tile before, and was able to do a professional job thanks to this book. Despite never having tiled, I put in a custom tile floored shower (not for the amatuer, but the book made it straightforward). This is probably the hardest project you could ever take on in this area yourself. It came out perfectly, and the detail and techniques provided by Mr. Byrne made it possible.

This is the only home improvement book I would heartily recommend, and really the only one I would recommend. I was very disappointed by all of the other bathroom, plumbing, and electrical books. This one is great!

I probably sound like I am getting paid for the glowing review (I'm not), but it really is that good.

Excellent Book, January 11, 2001
Reviewer: A reader from Houston, TX USA
Clear, detailed, step-by-step instructions made my first tile job look like I was a top professional.

Great for the weekend warrior, December 14, 2000
Reviewer: bill_farrell from san carlos, ca
In my neighborhood, as in many areas during this boom economy, it is nearly impossible to find contractors willing to do small residential jobs such as tiling a bathtub stall. For us reluctant weekend warriors, this book has been a godsend.

Most tile books provide a number of layout ideas and then either gloss over the details of installation or (more often) give suggestions on how to hire a reputable and skilled contractor. Byrne instead gives detailed but undaunting descriptions of how to design, plan, build, and finish most projects. The organization is useful, the photos are perfect, and helpful hints and warnings abound.

Only a couple things could improve this book. Although the book contained all the info I needed for my job, a quick outline summary for entire projects, with one-line descriptors of each task, would avoid having to continually leaf through the complete text. Also, an estimate of time required for each task would allow for better planning.

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