Safe Ceramic Tile Installation

As any emergency room doctor will tell you, do-it-yourself home improvement projects are a great source of income for them. Like motorcycling and snow skiing, the risk of injury is very high, and the medical bills from an accident can offset any savings you thought you were getting from doing it yourself.

As with any home improvement project, ceramic tile installation should be done with safety in mind. Whether you're installing new bathroom tile, a new kitchen backsplash or garage tile flooring, think safety first.

Ceramic tile installation requires the use of tile cutters, hacksaws, power drills and potentially toxic chemicals in the adhesives, sealants and cleaners that are used. To minimize any risk of injury or illness, a few precautions should be taken.

Goggles
As any do-it-yourselfer knows, goggles should be worn any time you're using power tools. Chips and ceramic dust can fly in any direction when you're cutting into ceramic tile. To protect your eyes, wear a good pair of goggles that fit snuggly.

Face Mask
Any dust, especially ceramic dust, can be an irritant when inhaled. Wearing a face mask while sawing or drilling into tile will keep the dust out of your lungs.

Gloves
Whenever handling sharp instruments and freshly cut material, good leather work gloves are a good idea. And when working with harsh chemicals in adhesives, grout, solvents and abrasive cleansers, rubber gloves can protect skin from irritation or infection.

Clothing
A general rule for any construction or do-it-yourself project is to wear proper clothing. This means long pants of a heavy material like denim, a long-sleeved shirt and sturdy boots: steel-toed if available. A dropped saw or knife or live power tool can do a lot of damage. Make sure that it's your shirt that gets cut, not your flesh.

If sawdust is prevalent, a cap will keep it out of your hair and goggles will keep it out of your eyes. And if you're working with anything overhead that's sharp, easily bumped or might fall, wear a hardhat.

Children
Any work area should be off-limits to small children. Enforce this rule even when you're not working. Idle sharp tools or power equipment left plugged-in can be irresistible to a curious child. Be sure to unplug and securely stow any tools and toxic materials when not in use.

Pets
There's nothing more exciting to a dog than a power tool in operation. The high-pitched whine, the strange new smells and a burst of dust and debris can seem like a tempting new plaything or even a threat to the dog. Send Rover out to play or locked out of the area while working.

Keep Your Work Area Clean
Cleanliness and organization can help keep a work area safe, making your job easier. Keep a vacuum cleaner or shop vac handy to clean up any messes as they occur. Unplug and stow power tools in a designated area out of reach of children when not in use.

Following a few common sense safety rules will go a long way to making the job successful with no interruptions for trips to the emergency room.

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