Tile flooring is a popular choice for homeowners due to its durability, versatility, and stylish appeal. Unlike other flooring materials such as carpet or wood, tile is easy to clean, resistant to water damage, and can be installed in any room of your house. If you’re planning to replace your existing flooring with tiles, or install tiles in a new construction, here’s how to get started.
Step 1: Measure the Space
The first thing you need to do is measure the space where you want to install tiles. You’ll need to determine the square footage of the room so that you can determine how many tiles you will need to purchase. You can use a tape measure to measure the length and width of the room, and then multiply the two numbers together to get the square footage. Add an extra 10-15% to your total square footage to account for any excess cuts, mistakes, or waste.
Step 2: Consider Tile Type and Size
Before you start installing tiles, you’ll need to choose the type and size of tiles you want to use. There are a variety of tile types to choose from, including ceramic, porcelain, natural stone, and more. Ceramic tiles are easy to install and come in a wide range of colors and patterns. Porcelain tiles are denser and have a higher hardness rating than ceramic tiles, making them more durable and less prone to chipping. Natural stone tiles, such as granite, marble, or slate, are beautiful and unique but can be more expensive and require additional maintenance.
You also need to consider the size of your tiles. The most common sizes are 12×12, 18×18, or 24×24. Larger tiles are easier and quicker to install, but they require a perfectly flat subfloor to prevent cracking. Smaller tiles often provide better traction and are ideal for use in bathrooms, shower areas, or outdoor patios. Choose tiles that fit your design style and are appropriate for the room where you’ll install them.
Step 3: Prepare the Subfloor
Before you install tiles, it’s crucial to prepare your subfloor correctly. The subfloor must be perfectly level and free from any cracks or uneven spots. If you’re installing tiles on top of an existing floor, you need to check for any damaged areas. Use a scraping tool as well as sandpaper to even out the surface, then clean the area with a scraper to remove any debris.
If you’re installing tiles on a new concrete slab or wooden subfloor, make sure it’s completely dry and clean. Apply a cement-based leveler to even out any imperfections, and wait for it to dry completely before moving on to the next step.
Step 4: Mark the Centre Line
To install tiles correctly, you’ll need to mark the centerline of the room. Measure the length and width of the room and mark the center point with a chalk line. Snap the chalk line across the center point in both directions until you have a perfect cross. This line will guide your tile laying pattern and ensure that the tiles are positioned symmetrically.
Step 5: Dry Lay Your Tiles
Before you start to mortar the tiles, you should do a dry lay of the tiles on the floor. This will help you to assess any design or layout issues and ensure you’re happy with the look before you make it permanent. Lay out the tiles in your desired pattern without mortar to get a dry layout just to get a feel for the tile style of floor.
Step 6: Apply the Mortar
When you start setting your tiles, you’ll need to mix mortar according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Mix only what you can use in approximately 30 minutes as it will dry fast. Apply the mixed mortar to a small area of the subfloor, using a trowel with the notched edge. Once you’ve applied the mortar, place your tiles on top and alternate the placement to create a pattern that looks attractive and aesthetically appealing.
Step 7: Cut the Edges
At some points, you may need to cut the edge tiles to fit into specific positions. To do this, use a wet tile saw, a scoring tile cutter, or tile nippers to cut the pieces in the dimensions you require. After cutting, use a medium-grit sandpaper to smooth the edges.
Step 8: Add Grout
After the tiles have set for a day, you need to add grout. Mix the grout according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Use a grout float to apply the grout in between the tiles, moving in diagonal motions to ensure that it fills all the joints and crevices. Once done, let it dry completely for approximately 24-48 hours before walking on the tile floor.
Tile flooring is a great way to add new life to your home’s interior, especially for high-traffic areas. By following the steps in this guide, you can install tiles successfully and create a beautiful and long-lasting floor that’ll last for years to come.