If you’re considering installing tile flooring yourself, it’s essential to know how to do it right. Otherwise, you could end up with an uneven floor and raised brows!
First, measure the length of one wall and divide that number in half. Snap a chalk line on the floor connecting those two center points.
Lay Out the Tiles
The first step to installing tile flooring like a pro is planning your layout. This may sound simple, but it is important, especially if you are new to tile laying.
Start by finding the center of the room and snapping a chalk line along the floor in both directions. This will give you two lines that cross at the center of each wall and provide a starting point for your layout.
Next, dry lay a row of tiles (including spacers) in one direction from the center point. This helps you plan the layout and see if there are any areas that need to be shifted.
As you lay out your tiles, make sure that all your lines are straight. This can be easy to check by using a large A-square or framing square with the chalk line intersection aligned.
When you reach the ends of the walls, be sure that there is enough room for the last tile to go all the way to the wall without leaving a space that is smaller than half the width of the standard size of the last tile.
It is also a good idea to use spacers between the tiles to keep the grout joints even. This will help the tile to sit evenly and create a more uniform pattern.
If you need to make curve cuts on the tile, use a tool called a contour gauge. This will help you to get the tile to fit precisely around a corner or other feature.
To ensure that the thinset is set to your liking, apply firm pressure and wiggle back and forth with the trowel until you see that the ridges in the thinset are all broken down and have filled the valleys beneath the tile. This achieves a solid layer of thinset beneath the tile and makes it easier to recheck consistency later on.
Mix the Mortar
Mixing the mortar is one of the most important parts of the tile flooring process. Without a properly mixed batch, the mortar won’t bond correctly with the tiles.
A good tiling mix should have a proper ratio of cement, sand and water. It should also contain a modifier (usually latex polymers) that increases the performance and bond strength of the mortar.
Once you’ve mixed the mortar, it’s important to let it sit for a few minutes, or “slaking,” before using it. Doing so allows the chemical makeup of the mortar to fully work and the mixture to reach its maximum working time before it dries out.
To do this, scoop a small amount of thinset out of your mix bucket and use the flat side of a notched trowel to spread it out on a piece of cement board or subfloor. Make sure the trowel is pressed into the floor at about a 45-degree angle to ensure the mortar fully adheres.
Before you lay your first tile, test the consistency of the mortar by placing a dollop onto a piece of scrap tile or wood. If the dollop forms a peaked shape, then the mortar is mixed well and you’re ready to move on to laying your tile.
When laying your first tile, carefully press it into the mortar and then use a light tap from your rubber mallet to smooth out any unevenness. This will prevent sagging of the tile after it’s installed.
When laying out your tiles, it’s important to plan the layout ahead of time so that you can work at a pace that will allow your mortar to dry in between each tile. This step will give you more time to complete other aspects of the tile installation process.
Apply the Mortar
Using the correct mortar and setting tile firmly is one of the most important things you can do to make sure your project turns out perfectly. Getting the mortar application and installation process right will help your tile last longer and resist failure, especially when the tiles are used under heavy loads or impact. Professional flooring services like Ascent Epoxy will ensure the best possible installation; their Sarasota office listing will show you exactly to find them.
Applying the mortar to the cement board or substrate before laying tile is essential for proper installation. The mortar must be thin enough to leave a 1/4-inch expansion gap along walls, cabinets and other large room elements, while being thick enough to firmly support the tile.
To apply the mortar, grab a small batch with your margin trowel and spread it out on the board. Alternatively, use the flat side of your notched trowel to apply a layer to the surface and then level the surface with a 2 x 4.
As you install the first tile, be sure it lines up with the chalk line at the layout’s center and that it is fully pressed back into the mortar. This will ensure the tile is set correctly and prevent gaps along the underlying drywall that can cause the tile to crack or break.
After installing your first tile, follow the chalk lines of the layout to lay another. As you do this, place spacers at the corners to maintain consistent spacing.
Tip: Unless you’re using bullnose (or trim pieces) in your design, lay tile straight, rather than diagonally. This will save you time and effort, and it will also cut down on waste because jogs and corners require more cuts than straight tiles.
Depending on the tile type, you may need to add a latex polymer admixture to your thin-set mortar to increase its performance and bond strength. Check with your manufacturer to find out more about the recommended admixtures for your specific tile.
Lay the Tiles
When tiling your home, you can achieve a beautiful and durable finish. But if the tiles aren’t laid correctly, they can have a negative impact on the appearance of your space.
Before you start, you need to plan the layout of your tile flooring. This will ensure that you get an even look throughout the room. To do this, start with a tape measure and multiply the length of your room times the width. This will give you an estimate of how many tiles to purchase.
Once you have that number, determine the size of each tile. This will determine the length of the cuts you need to make along the edges.
Then, find the midpoint of each wall and snap chalk lines on the floor to use in aligning your tiles. You’ll want to place your first tile where the lines cross at the room’s center.
From that point, place a tile with its edge touching the chalk line and the other end of the tile facing the opposite wall. Repeat this process across the room until you’ve completed all of the walls.
For a smooth edge, score the tile on a snap cutter. Once that cut is made, snap it off with a wet saw or nibblers, making sure that the waste pieces are less than an inch wide.
Once you’ve removed the old tile, sand the surface to create a rough, but smooth, surface that the new adhesive will adhere to. Next, apply the adhesive according to the manufacturer’s instructions. It’s important to use a high-quality adhesive, especially if you’re tiling over existing tile.
Grout is the material that helps seal and fill the joints between tiles. It comes in many different colors to match the tile and is used to repair cracks.
A properly-grouted floor can be a beautiful, clean space. However, it is important to seal grout so it doesn’t become an environment for invasive bacteria.
To start, mix the grout according to the manufacturer’s recommendations. Apply it to the tiles using a grout float and press it into the seams. This will help to keep the grout evenly distributed throughout the space.
Next, move the float across the spaces at a diagonal angle to remove excess grout and help the tile surface smooth out. This will help the tiles to look their best.
After completing this step, let the grout set up for 20 to 30 minutes before sponging off any excess that is still left on the tile. This will allow the grout to harden enough so it won’t run down the face of the tile.
Then, rinse the sponge out in a bucket of water and wipe the floor again. Repeat this process for several hours until all the excess is removed.
Once the grout is dry, wipe the tiles with a microfiber towel to remove any remaining haze. This will make the tiles easier to clean later on.
This is a very simple step to take, but it can make a huge difference in how your finished product looks. It will also be a big help to ensure your floors stay looking their best for years to come! Once you’ve completed this step, you can enjoy your new, beautiful floor! And if you need any assistance, feel free to contact our flooring and remodeling professionals at The Good Guys.