How to install ceramic tiles
Even if tile floors are good for any room, most people install them in kitchens and bathrooms. Better than that, tile floors are the best choice for entryways where there is a lot of dirt and floor. They allow an easy cleaning so a mop is everything you need.
Available tile types
You can find ceramic tiles either glazed or porcelain. While glazed ones are very good in heavy traffic areas, porcelain ones are suited for bathrooms. Because porcelain has a higher price, you have to establish your budget and the size of the area first. You will find many sizes for tiles but for flooring the best ones have the dimension 12”x12”.
The underlayment is a very critical part when it comes to proper installation. There is no problem in tiling over Linoleum or another tile but you have to be sure it is solid. Tiling over Linoleum should be started only after some ring nails have been applied over the entire center area. You should always verify if the floor is leveled and clean or else the tile won’t stay as it should. If you have problems, there are always leveling compounds that can be used before applying tile.
How to prepare the site
You should not hurry to install the tile before you lay it in the room to create yourself an image of how it will look like. The perfect way to lay it out is to make the stubby tiles not to be observed in highly visible spots. After this step is completed, outline the most centered tile so that in the end the lines are perpendicular. Also take into consideration the most visible wall and draw another line that is perpendicular to it. After this is also completed, you can re-layout some tiles along the perpendicular lines, observing in the same time if they run out in such a way that will limit cutting and stubbed tiles. When everything is prepared, you can remove the tiles and start installing them.
How to install the tile
After you have cleaned the floor, you can apply the ceramic adhesive on it from the center out. If there are no cuttings involved, you can apply material on an area of 6-10 square feet but if you do have to cut, it’s better to limit only at 2-4 square feet. Start applying the mastic with the flat end of the trowel and then turn it around and run the notched edge over the material. You should use the largest tile you find because this way the notches will be larger and the tile will be hold down better.
Note: It’s better to prepare material only for half an hour because it gets harden very quickly and you don’t need this kind of troubles.
After the adhesive is on the floor, start installing the tiles from the center. Every piece of tile should have a thin coat of mastic on its back to lay better on the floor. This will result into a good bond.
Once you start getting near the walls or edges of different furniture, you will need to start cutting the tile. The best tool for this job is the Wet-Saw. This can easily make every type of cut and you will have fewer broken tiles. A Wet-Saw is not expensive and it’s good to have one at home because you don’t know when you will install tiles again. If you know you will use it just once, you can always rent one.
You can also use Lugs when tiling. Lugs are spacers with different thicknesses. They will ensure uniformity for the tiled area.
The new installed tile should be let drying at least 48 hours before applying grout on it. You can choose from a lot of different grout colors, mix it with water and then apply it using a rubber trowel. Because tile corners are a little bit tricky, the trowel should be used more than once.
All the excess grout should be wiped out quickly with a wet sponge before it dries out. After 30 and 60 minutes you have to repeat the wiping for any residual grout.
After 24 hours the grout will be completely dried and you can start using that area.