How to Lay Patio Tile

Written by shelley kishpaugh
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How to Lay Patio Tile
(Elsie esq.)

You have to take extra care in selecting and laying patio tile. Patios are subject to extra stress from both foot traffic and weather. You should buy the best quality material your budget allows and then be sure to make the floor as watertight as possible. Seepage between and under your tiles can erode the material and lead to cracks as water freezes and thaws.

Skill level:

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Things you need

  • Garden hose
  • Isolation membrane (this is a caulk-like substance)
  • Tile
  • Wet saw
  • Mortar
  • Trowel
  • Tile spacers
  • Rubber mallet
  • Grout
  • Grouting float
  • Old towels or rags
  • Caulk
  • Vacuum cleaner
  • Sponge

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  1. 1

    Clean the existing patio slab with the spray from the garden hose; allow the slab to dry completely.

  2. 2

    Apply the isolation membrane to the concrete patio slab with the notched side of the trowel to ensure even depth.

  3. 3

    Use the flat side of the trowel to flatten the notches in the isolation membrane.

  4. 4

    Allow the isolation membrane to cure overnight or as long as specified on the package.

  5. 5

    Lay several rows of tiles on the patio. The dry run will allow you to see how the tiles fit together and what cuts need to be made with the wet saw. You can also try out different decorative arrangements.

  6. 6

    Apply thin-set mortar with latex additive 1/2-inch thick with the flat side of the trowel to the membrane.

  7. 7

    Comb through the mortar with the comb side of the trowel, being sure to not dig deep enough to hit the concrete slab. Use long strokes.

  8. 8

    Set the tile by twisting each tile slightly into place. Use the tile spacers in between the tiles to ensure proper spacing, and use the rubber mallet to tap tiles into place, if necessary.

  9. 9

    Allow the mortar to set for one to two days.

  10. 10

    Mix the grout you wish to use.

  11. 11

    Use the grouting float to pack grout into each joint. Be sure to apply grout by dragging the grout float in at least two directions for each joint. Work in small sections at a time.

  12. 12

    Use the grouting float at a nearly 90 degree angle to the tiles to scrape away any excess grout after you have made sure all joints are packed thoroughly. Work in the same small sections as in step 11, repeating steps 11 and 12 over and over until you finish the entire patio.

  13. 13

    Lay a wet towel flat on each section of tile and drag it toward you to smooth out any excess grout.

  14. 14

    Use the sponge to wipe any residual grout off of the tiles. Do this several times, then buff the tiles with a dry towel.

  15. 15

    Caulk the expansion joints at the edges of the patio, using a caulk that closely matches your grout colour. Clean and vacuum the joints before applying the caulk.

  16. 16

    Let everything dry for 24-48 hours before use.

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