Before installing any tile you should inspect the surface it will be installed upon and check that it is level and sound. Concrete surfaces might require a levelling compound be poured over them, and plywood floors may need to be reinforced or replaced if they are too old or warped. Laying tile requires a certain amount of preparation to ensure that the overall appearance of the floor is symmetrical and true. This article will explain how properly lay out, install and grout tile.
- Skill level:
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Things you need
- 5 gallon bucket
- Grinder mixer attachment
- ½ inch trowel
- Wet saw
- Tile spacers
- Padded grout float
- Grout sponge
Find the exact centre of the room. To do this, find the centre of each wall and draw a perpendicular line to the opposite wall. The intersection of these two lines will be the exact centre of the room.
Lay a row of loose tiles from the centre mark, along one of the centre lines to one wall. Be sure to insert spacers between each tile so that you get a proper layout. You will most likely not be able to fit the last tile flush to the wall. This is fine--leave that one out.
Measure the distance from the wall to the last full tile. Mark this distance and remember it for later.
Lay a row of loose tiles from the centre mark, along the centre line to the opposite wall.
Measure the distance from the wall to the last full tile.
Move the centre line in order to split the difference between these two measurements. If there were eight inches of space on one side and four inches on the other, than move the centre line two inches toward the side with the greater distance in order to properly centre the line.
Repeat this process with the other two walls to centre the tile in that direction as well.
Mark the new centre. This is the point where you will actually start to lay your tile from.
Laying Out the Tile
Empty the bag of thinset into a 5 gallon bucket.
Add half the water recommended by the thinset manufacturer.
With the mixer attachment connected to your grinder, mix the water and the thinset in the bucket.
Gradually add the remaining recommended amount of water, in small amounts, to the thinset while continuing to mix it.
Allow the thinset to rest for 15 minutes so that the adhesives within it can fully incorporate.
Mixing the Thinset
The centre mark and lines that you made will have split the room into quarters. You are going to lay your tile one quarter at a time.
Scoop some thinset out of your bucket with the ½ inch trowel.
Starting at your centre mark, spread enough of the thinset for one tile. Tilt the trowel at a 30 degree angle and spread the thinset in large half-arc strokes. The edge of the trowel should not drag along the underlying floor, but should press the thinset against it.
Spread several square feet of thinset out.
Place one tile at your centre mark, in the corner of the quarter of the room that you are staring in. Give the tile a gentle, even press so that it bonds to the thinset.
Place a tile next to the first one and insert two tile spacers between them. Place the tile close enough to the first one that you do not have to shift it excessively to be flush against the spacers.
Continue this process of spreading small patches of thinset, setting tiles and inserting spacers. Make sure not to trap yourself in a corner of the room, since you do not want to walk on the tiles for several days.
Cut tiles that will butt against the wall or other obstructions with the wet saw. Remember when measuring these spaces to account for the distance that your joint (and spacers) will occupy in the area.
Continue around the room, completing it in the quarters marked out by your centre line marks.
When finished, allow the tiles to set for 48 hours. If you used a quickset thinset, refer to the manufacturer's recommended curing time.
Laying the Tile
Mix the grout according to the manufacture's instructions.
Scoop up a cup-sized portion of grout with the padded grout float.
Spread the grout in a diagonal direction to the tile joint. Keep the float at a 30 degree angle and be wary of gaps in your coverage.
With a wet grout sponge, wipe up any excess grout in a diagonal direction to the joint. Rinse the sponge often and make sure you adequately remove any grout on the tile surface.
Wipe the grout sponge along the joints to recess and shape the grout within the joint.
Allow the grout to set for the manufacturer's recommended amount of time before walking on the floor.
Grouting the Floor
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