You’re an avid do-it-yourself-er. You live and die for DIY, but up until this point everything you’ve done has been on a small scale. You made your own wedding invitations, and you sew your own tote bags, but when it comes to heavy-duty home stuff, you’re usually ready to call a professional.
A Beginner’s Guide to Tiling a Floor
Not anymore. Doing house projects on a home that you own is a point of pride. It’s a real accomplishment to be able to say that you completed a home renovation project. So what better task than installing your own tile flooring?
It’s going to look great, and it’s going to impress your friends, your family, and anyone who follows you on Instagram. Here is a beginner’s guide on how to tile a floor.
Pick Your Tile
Choosing your tile is the fun part. There are so many designs, colors, and finishes to choose from that you are sure to easily find something to fit your décor. The tricky part is deciding what kind of tile you want to put down.
Vinyl tile flooring is durable, easy to clean, and easy to install. Many brands are available with peel and stick tiles. It is comfortable under your feet, but it is prone to punctures and divots. A laminate floor is virtually impenetrable, and it can be installed using a click and lock system.
Ceramic tile flooring is durable, beautiful, fade resistant, and easy to clean. It’s more complicated to install, and it is susceptible to cracks, but it can otherwise pretty much last forever.
Make Your Plan
Whatever type of tile flooring you choose, the planning stage is the most important. Laying a tile floor isn’t incredibly difficult, but it does require a lot of planning. You have to sketch things out. You have to have straight lines. You might even have to do a little math.
The biggest part of planning out your floor is creating straight lines that you can use as guides. If your tiles aren’t laid out perfectly straight then the floor won’t look right, and you’ll have lots of trouble when you come to walls and corners.
Find the Center of the Room
To begin laying your tile you need to start in the exact center of your room, which means you need to know where the exact center is. To do that you measure the length of the room, divide it in half, and create a mark. Then you measure the width of the room, divide it in half, and create another mark.
Then using a straight edge, like the flat side of a level, draw lines connecting the two marks. You will be left with a perfect plus sign that indicates exactly where the four center tiles go.
Gather Your Tools
The type of tile you are laying will determine the type of tools that you will need to help you. Ceramic tiles are the most intensive, and the list of supplies is fairly lengthy. Besides grout and a thin-set mortar you will need tile spacers, a mixing bucket, a trowel, a drill to mix the mortar, rubber gloves, and of course, knee pads.
Test the Mortar Consistency
Once you have all your supplies, and you’ve laid out your plan, it’s time to get started. If you’re using tile that is peel and stick then the hardest part is behind you. All you have to do now is follow your grid.
If you are laying ceramic tile you need to follow the instructions on the thin-set mortar to mix it properly. You’ll need to test the consistency of your mortar by applying a generous amount of it to the floor with your trowel. You then press your first tile into the mortar and slide it back into the combed ridges of the mortar. Lift the tile up, and ensure that it is covered with mortar. If it is, then you are good to being laying the rest of the tiles.
Begin Laying the Tile Flooring
You will spread more mortar down as you go, and put tile spacers around each tile that you lay. If you put down too wide a path of mortar, or move too slowly, the mortar will dry too quickly. Make sure that each tile that you lay, you press firmly into the mortar.
Then move methodically down the line until you reach a space that it too small for a full tile. Continue row by row until the only spaces you have left are for tiles that need cut. Then it’s time to do a lot of measuring, and a lot of cutting before you can complete laying the floor.
When all your tile is laid, it’s time to grout it. You’ll need to remove all the tile spacers, prepare your grout, and then spread the grout in wide swaths across the floor, section by section. Using your trowel, scrape the excess grout off the tiles, careful to stay on the surface of the tile, and then take a wet sponge to clean the tile before the grout sets.
A Great Foundation For Laying a Tile Floor
Whew. Laying tile flooring can be pretty labor intensive, but at least you know the basics. Because it is such an undertaking, it’s a good idea to read articles and watch plenty of videos to get you prepared. This one from Home Depot is great for furthering reading.