How To Properly Install a Tile Floor
Tile floors add beauty and dimension to a room. When installed correctly, they are durable and will last for many years with the right care. Because proper floor preparation and tile installation are critical to the floor's durability, it is usually best to hire a professional for the job. However, that isn't to say that a homeowner with a moderate skill set can't do the job. If you insist on laying your own tile floors, follow these steps carefully to get the best results.
Step 1. Prepare the Subfloor
If you want the floor to last, you must take the time to prepare the subfloor before installing tiles. Any movement in plywood can result in a cracked tile, meaning you will need to repair or replace the floor.
• Use epoxy-coated screws to attach a cement backer board to the plywood subfloor. A layer of construction adhesive underneath will minimize movement.
• Reinforce seams between boards with fiberglass mesh tape.
Step 2. Lay Out the Pattern
This is a tricky step, but taking the time to measure the room and plan your pattern will provide a more professional finished appearance.
• Measure each wall and mark the center point.
• Draw a line across the room from the center marks, making a large "X" in the middle.
• Lay a row of tiles with spacers along this line in each direction. If you end up with a tile that will be less than two inches or so at the end, adjust to remove the cut and reposition the tiles.
• As you move on to setting the tiles, you will start from this middle point.
Step 3. Set the Tiles
Tiles are set into a layer of thinset mortar. This is applied to the subfloor in two separate coats before a tile is placed.
• Using the flat end of your trowel, apply a scratch coat of thinset to the subfloor. This increases adhesion.
• Switch to the trowel's notched side and apply another coat of thinset over the first one. The notches should be the same size as your tile's thickness.
• Gently set each tile into the mortar using a slight twisting motion. This helps remove any air bubbles that could lead to cracks.
• Set spacers between the tiles to maintain a uniform appearance.
• Using a rubber mallet and level, tap the tiles to ensure they are level.
Step 4. Make Necessary Cuts
Any tiles that are not full size are laid after the others. This method is advantageous because it allows work to go more quickly. You also don't have to keep stopping to measure cuts. If you need to rent a wet saw to make any cuts, you can also limit the rental period to a single day.
• Carefully measure and mark your tiles for the correct dimensions.
• Using either a scorer and nippers or wet saw, cut along the marks you have made.
• Use a file or sandpaper to smooth any rough edges.
Step 5. Grout Between Tiles
Grout is applied between the tiles and gives a floor a nice, finished appearance. It is straightforward and simple to apply.
• Mix the grout according to the manufacturer's instructions. You want to remove any lumps because they will affect the finish.
• Working in sections, apply the grout between
• Once the grout has dried to a haze, in about 20 minutes, wipe the tiles with a damp sponge. Use a circular motion and gentle pressure. You want to remove the haze from the tile surface and set the grout lines just below that surface, not pull the grout from between the tiles.
At Mosaic Tile Outlet, we carry a wide selection of beautiful and durable floor tiles. Whether your next project is a mudroom, kitchen or bathroom, we can help you find the best tiles for the application. Contact Mosaic Tile Outlet today online or by calling 1-833-7MOSAIC for more information.