Tile Flooring Installation
HOW TO INSTALL TILE FLOORING
Ceramic and stone tile are known for clean, precise cuts and a distinct, natural beauty. This look is easier to achieve than you might think, and with the proper planning can even be a great DIY project! Whether you choose to do it yourself or hire an expert installer, you should know what to expect. See our steps below to be sure your tile floors are installed properly from start to finish!
STEP 1: PREPARE THE SURFACE
Clean your surfaces and be sure that they are smooth and dry before you begin. Repair and level out any damaged or uneven areas. You should also remove any moldings, trim or appliances. If you’re using a professional installer, they may do this for you – consult with them ahead of time to be sure.
STEP 2: BEGIN YOUR LAYOUT
Mark the center point of each wall in the room, then draw a chalk line between opposite points in order to pinpoint the center of the room. The intersection should create perfect right angles.
Starting at the center point, lay a row of loose tiles along each center line. Use tile spacers to ensure evenly-spaced joints. When you reach the walls, the end tiles will need to be cut to properly fit. If any cuts need to be smaller than half of a tile, you can always adjust your center point to make it half a tile closer to the wall.
Large rooms can be made more manageable by dividing it into smaller grids with additional lines parallel to your center lines.
STEP 3: APPLY THE ADHESIVE
Only mix enough adhesive to be used within 30 minutes. Using the flat side of the trowel, spread a quarter-inch coat on the surface of the area in which you’re working. Be sure not to cover the guidelines!
Next, hold the trowel at a 45-degree angle and comb the adhesive into standing ridges with the notched side. You can then remove excess adhesive to create a uniform surface for laying tile. You should only spread enough adhesive to be used within 15 minutes.
STEP 4: CUT TILE
As needed, carefully measure and mark cuts with a pencil or felt pen on the surface of the tile. Use a tile cutter to achieve perfect straight cuts and a nipper or rod saw for curved cuts. Smooth out your sharp edges with a carborundum stone.
STEP 5: SET TILE
You’re now ready to actually install your tiles. Beginning at the center of the room, finish grids one after the other, working outward from the center corner of each.
With a slight twisting motion, set tiles one at a time, avoiding sliding them into place. Leave equal joints between tiles to allow space for grout. You should also save the perimeter tiles for last, leaving a gap between the wall and tiles.
Once a grid is installed, tap each tile with a rubber mallet and wood block to ensure a solid adhesive bond and a level surface. Remove extra adhesive from joints using a putty knife, and from tile with a damp sponge. This will create a more even-looking plane.
Allow your newly placed tiles at least 24 full hours to set before walking on them.
STEP 6: GROUT JOINTS
After 24 hours, your last step is to fill the joints between tiles. Like the adhesive, make only enough grout at one time for a 30-minute period. Remove all tile spacers and spread grout on the tile surface, using a rubber float or squeegee to force it into the joints.
Using the edge of the float at 45-degree angle, remove excess grout from the surface immediately, then scrape it diagonally across the tiles at 90 degrees.
Let the grout set in the joints for 15-20 minutes, then use a damp sponge to clean any remaining residue. Rinse your sponge frequently so you’re not using dirty water.
When your floor finally dries, a haze will form on the tile surface. Polish with a soft cloth and rinse again with a clean sponge if necessary. Give the grout another 3 days before you subject it to any heavy use and before applying sealers or polish.
Enjoy your new tile floor!