If you are thinking about making a tile floor installation, you should make sure you know the proper way of doing this before you start. Here’s a few things that will help you know how to install floor tile.
- Measure the floor
- Understand tiles
- Prepare the surface
It is important to prepare for tile floor installation by accurately measuring your floor and calculating the number of square feet or meters you will need. Rectangular or square rooms are the easiest to calculate for, since you can simply multiply the room’s width by its length. You should always round up this number to the nearest foot to make it even. Other room shapes will be a little bit trickier to calculate for; you will need to divide the whole space into rectangular sections first, and then calculate the square footage for each one of them. You can then add those all up to get the final number.
Tiles come in different colors, styles and sizes; you should think about these points when you decide which ones to buy. If this is the first time you take on a tile project, you might want to keep the tile pattern and layout simple. Consider your needs and tastes when deciding; for example, big tiles work well if the area you are working on is large, but can be too much for smaller rooms. Also, be aware that textured or rough finish tiles are usually safer, since glossy tiles can become slippery when they are wet. You should always buy 10 to 15% more tiles than you need, to avoid running out of tiles and account for possible mistakes and future replacement.
Before making a tile floor installation, you should remove the existing floor. After you have removed any residual mortar or other adhesives, thoroughly cleaned the floor, and checked the subfloor to see if it is leveled, you can start designing the layout.
Depending on the general outline of the room, and how visible tiles will be, you can either use full tiles among the room’s most visible walls, or center the tiles on the floor so as to make the room as aesthetically appealing as possible. These two methods will also help minimize the amount of tiles that require cutting.
For centering the tiles, you should measure the length and width of the room, as well as measuring the diagonals from corner to corner. You will then have all the measurements you need to establish guide lines for laying tile.
How to install floor tile
- Prepare the thinset mortar
- Spread the mortar and set the tiles
- Cutting partial tiles
- Applying and sealing grout
First, you should mix up the thinset mortar. Using a 5 gallon bucket and a low speed drill chucked with a mizing paddle, follow the instructions for the thinset mortar you will use. Make sure you respect the instructed mortar to water ratio, or you will end up with a thinset mix that you will not be able to use. Be sure to make only the amount of mortar mix that you will be able to use in a 15 to 20 minute window, as after this period mortar will start to dry up. Also, keep a clean water bucket and a sponge handy, so you can clean tools and wipe off excess mortar before it sets.
Using a notched trowel, spread the mortar on a small area where you will start laying tile evenly. Be careful to follow your guide lines to press the tiles into place. When you are done with the first tile, use plastic spacers to position the next tile in line, always respecting the guidelines. Before you continue, check to see that the tires you have laid so far are properly aligned, straight and leveled.
You should work your way backwards from the center of the room towards the door, in order to not work yourself into a corner. Also, you should allow 24 hours for the thinset mortar to set before walking on your set tiles.
Once all the full tiles have been correctly placed and it is safe to walk on them, you can begin cutting and fitting partial tiles along the walls where needed. Cut the tiles to the right size, always allowing room for expansion, and set them to the floor in the same manner as you did the full tiles.
Finally, you should apply grout, after removing all spacers between tiles. When the grout is dry, and all excess has been removed from the tiles, you can seal it by using silicone for a clean finish.
If you follow these instructions carefully, you should have no problem with your tile floor installation, and be done in a few days.