Personal Safety Gear for Tiling
Wear a few inexpensive safety accessories to protect your eyes, ears, lungs, and hands during the various phases of tiling.
Setting tile may seem like a relatively safe task, but as with any project it’s important that you take measures to protect yourself. And that begins with wearing the proper safety gear. There’s no good reason not to guard your eyes, ears, lungs, hands, and knees from the hazards and rigors of tile demolition, preparation, and installation.
Safety goggles or glasses
Whether you’re operating power tools or trimming with tile nippers, you must wear safety glasses or goggles to protect your eyes from chips, splinters, and other flying debris. Vented goggles can be worn over regular eyeglasses.
Whether you choose in-ear style plugs or over-ear protectors, it’s important to always wear ear protection when using power tools or cutting on the wet saw. The noise generated during cutting, grinding, and drilling is often loud enough to cause damage to your sense of hearing, even after only brief exposure.
Masks and respirators
Two-strap disposable dust masks help protect your lungs from dust caused by grouts and thinsets that contain silica. For protection from more-hazardous dusts and fumes that occur when grinding floors or spreading membranes, wear a half-mask cartridge filter respirator. These feature removable cartridges that may be changed to suit the job at hand (check the manufacturer’s recommendations). A much more costly but incomparably effective alternative is a powered air-purifying respirator (PAPR). This apparatus features a full face mask that’s supplied with clean air pumped through a flexible hose from a battery-powered belt pack with a fan and filter cartridges. PAPRs are the only kind of mask that provides safe protection for bearded users working with hazardous materials, such as particulates or organic vapors (regular masks don’t seal fully against a bearded face).
There are two kinds of gloves useful for tile prep, installation, repair, and maintenance: Work gloves are great for protecting your hands when handling sharp-edged materials or during demolition operations. Rubber gloves protect your skin from dryness and irritation during tile grouting and sealing as well as when performing routine cleaning.
Although not strictly safety gear, knee pads are a must for reducing the risk of knee injuries or problems incurred during all phases of work on a tile floor. Whether you choose a single pad to kneel on or a pair of knee pads to wear, test several before you buy and choose the model you find most comfortable.
Bonus: Find our latest features on knee and leg protection for tiling or any construction project: Knee and Leg Protection