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Where To Start Laying Floor Tiles

So, you want to change your home’s floor covering tiles. You plan to have it installed yourself. You have decided and you want to give the DIY a try. Excellent! However, there is a problem. You do not know how to. Where to start laying the tiles, how to lay the tiles, what you will need for the project, and how much it will cost. Good news! This guide will teach you how to go about your floor tiles installation. Enjoy!

Floor Tile Installation Materials And Tools Checklist

 You will be needing the following items to begin.

  • An underlayment for your subfloor (be it concrete or wooden subfloor)
  •  An adhesive
  •  A grout
  •  Sealer (optional)
  •  Chalk line
  •  Tape
  •  Trowel
  • Float
  • Cutting tools
  •  Spacers
  •  Buckets
  •  Sponges 
  • Utility knife.

Step 1. Prepare the Subfloor

There is a wide range of different floor tiles. Stone tile, ceramic tile, glass, marble, granite, porcelain, and others. These tiles can be laid over different subfloors. It is, however, necessary to have your subfloor prepared to receive the new floor tiles. If your subfloor is your old tile, ensure it is still firmly attached to the ground. Fill up open spaces with a patching compound and sand its surface. 

This will help new tiles settle in properly. If your subfloor is plywood, add an extra layer to increase its thickness with the lower layer. This should be at least a Third-quarter inch thick. If your subfloor is concrete, scuff out paint if any, level its surface and prime. Then you choose the right underlayment specific for your subfloor. 

Before installation, have your floor cleaned up by sweeping, vacuuming, washing, and drying. This is to remove any contamination that may hinder adhesion.

Step 2. Decide The Layout

Now that your surface is prepped for tiling, the next step is to decide the arrangements of your tile (its layout). One thing you have to figure out while planning your layout design is where to start laying your floor tiles

Though you can start laying your tile from anywhere in the room, starting from the room’s center is best. This is because beginning from anywhere else especially corners could lead to unequal or imbalanced tile arrangements. However, tiling can start at the corner if you plan on having a different tile occupying the center in a form of design or if your tile pattern is multiple-piece. With exceptions to that, it’s best your tiling starts from the center, especially for diagonal tiles. 

For a center layout, begin with your floor’s dimension. Measure its longest length and mark its middle with a chalk line. Measure its shortest length and also mark its middle. Divide the room into four parts by having the lines meet at a center point. With this, you can begin your tiling from the middle of the room.

Layout Continuation 

Before putting on adhesives and fixing your tiles, make a tile dry laying with enough tiles. Start from the center point to the four ends of the wall. Do this with spacers separating the tiles. Ensure spacers used suites for your tile. When you have done this, do your modifications where necessary. Shift tiles and adjust space if there are remaining tiles between the wall and the floor. This is to avoid micro tile cutting(less than half tile). 

Having short tiles at the entrance makes adhesion difficult and the tile will not look attractive either. Also, while on the dry laying, bear in mind the tile’s design and put it into consideration. Do forget to decide how your tile order will be also, this is to avoid being trapped in by the tiles.

Step 3. Cutting Tiles

Having done your layout well before you start the tile installation, you may discover you need some cut tiles for your project. Have the needed tiles for floor edges cut down in shapes and dimensions required. Tiles are cut using a wet saw or a snap cutter. 

Snap cutter is better for cutting out thin tiles though it leaves the tile with a rough edge. Use a carborundum file to smoothen it. A wet saw on the other hand gives the tile a clean smooth cut because it uses a diamond blade. Do this before applying your mastic adhesive or thin-set.

Step 4. Apply Bond

Before commencement, ensure the room is well aired as the bond does have a strong smell. If you use a thinset, you have about 40minutes to work with your mix before it hardens. This is called open time or bucket life. Though this timing may alter based on weather changes. Also, check brand instructions for cure time (amount of period needed for set-up).

To apply mastic, spread mastic over your subfloor or underlayment using a notch trowel. Use a quarter (1/4) inch notch for tiles below 8inches and a half to Three-Eight inch notch for larger tiles. Begin applying mastic on subfloor from layout lines, then rake trowel through adhesive to create waves as the notch depth. Living your layouts. Also, work in sections of about 3square-feet so mastic won’t dry out while unfinished.

Step 5. Lay down tiles

Start setting tiles into mastic from where your line layout meets. It’s best you have a partner while doing this. You do the laying of the tile while your partner gives you the needed supplies. Start from the center and proceed outwards to the walls. Be careful to be systematic with the installations so you won’t be trapped within tiles.

Once your tiles are in place, bed it into the mastic with a firm mallet tap. Don’t tap too hard to avoid tile breaking or cracking but if it happens, remove, smoothen the spot out, and set the tile in. Avoid mastic entering the grout lines by not pressing, shaking, or moving tiles about. Also, remember your spacers. Place them between tiles as you set them in. Align the tile’s edges and surface with a level.

Step 6. Grout Joints

Before you grout and take away the spacers, give the tile at least a 24hour period to set on mastic. Better still follow the brand’s recommended setting time. For a DIY project, a premixed grout will be simpler to use. You may also have a sealer over your tile before grouting, though optional. 

Having mixed your grout, fill tile joints with it using your rubber float. Ensure to wipe grout from your tile’s surface with a damp sponge. Then leave grout to dry before cleaning tile with a release agent and applying grout sealer.

And that’s all for today. Success with your tiling.