Installing ceramic floor tile isn’t rocket science, but using your math skills can’t hurt. Careful measurements, some foresight and laying out the tile can save you a lot of hair pulling later! Few things can damage one’s mental stability faster than being halfway into a project and finding out the hard way that no matter how hard you try, those wonderful little tiles just refuse to cooperate and line up properly down a hall or entering adjacent rooms. There are times they refuse, but with careful planning one at least has the chance to bully them into a facsimile of submission.
Now is the time to measure the room or rooms you choose to tile; also now is the time to decide which size tile to use as that directly affects all your other measurements. Of course using a six-inch tile will take a lot more than using 12 or 18 inch tile, remember to include the spacing between tile in your measurements. Using the square footage of the area you want to cover will tell you how may tile to buy. Always buy extra, as they will break.Once you decide ceramic tile is your particular brand of self-torture, you may move on to deciding type, color or colors and texture.
Ceramic tile comes in a myriad of different types and styles. There are also natural stone, artificial stone, and several other man made products to choose from. Here is where you need to decide what your tile is to be used for, the amount of traffic it will receive, indoors or out (how water-resistant it needs to be,) and its ability to resist scratching.
As varied as the individual imagination, and budget. The fancier the tile the fancier the price, imagine that.
Here is also the time to decide just how morbidly you need to abuse yourself once again, a pattern perhaps?
It has been said patience is a virtue! A pattern will surely test yours, as well as your math and cutting skill.
As with color, texture is an exercise in imagination. Like color it is varied and many. The real question here is traction, if you really like sliding or just can’t get enough of emergency rooms or law suites… well you get the picture.
Once you have completed the above mental stimulus, the question next addressed is type of floor you are hiding or covering if you prefer.
A concrete floor is probably is usually the easiest as long as it is in good shape, any cracks or flaws will need filled with epoxy patch. Also the floor needs to be reasonably level, self leveling products can be found in your favorite home improvement stores concrete supply section.
Wood flooring requires much more sweat equity. In order for your new tile to endure for as many years as it is capable of, the floor must not flex or creak. Bad things happen to a flexing ceramic covered floor, causing bad things to happen to your mental and financial health as well. Flooring needs to be shored up and braced until solid, depending on your level of carpentry skill you may or may not care to indulge in your crawl space fetish…
Any wood covered floor has to be recovered with concrete board. This is a definite necessity! Wood swells and putting wet mortar on it is just sick and wrong not to mention a waste of time and money. Follow the directions carefully in installing the “wonder board” as it is sometimes called the amount of fasteners used and spacing is critical in insuring your future mental stability. Plus having your floor stay put doesn’t hurt either.
Your floor must be clean before starting to lay tile, vacuumed and mopped. Dust or debris will only cause problems with spreading the mortar or keeping the floor level. A shop vac becomes the tool of choice at this point.
Once the floor is clean and prepped your ready to start setting tile, or are you? Well you could but time now spent laying out your tile will save many headaches down the road.
Lay the tiles out just as you would when setting them, spaces and all (small plastic spacers are a real plus at this point.) You really don’t need to lay them all out just a straight course or two, to judge where cuts will be made, where you want the cuts at on the finished floor and where intersections will cause pattern movement.Try to set them so you have the fewest cuts, and your spacing between tiles runs straight throughout.
Now is the time to find out if your walls are square, few things are worse for your blood pressure than finding out you have to cut a lot of tile at an angle to fix an unsquare wall. Especially, if you could have added to the spacing slightly on other courses of tile to correct the problem if possible.
Nothing will mess with your state of euphoria while tiling like finding out your tile won’t line up in a hall intersection without making a lot of unnecessary cuts. Especially if the pattern could have shifted somewhat at the beginning and cured the problem.
Try putting cut tiles at walls where furniture will hide or make it less noticeable. Also any tiles cut at angles need to be as out of sight as possible. The center of the room is where people will notice curvy spacing or offset spacing especially where rooms meet and the tile continues.
Remember if you do attempt to tile it your self, this is a lot of work try to set limits and do it in pieces. Work one area at a time, and take breaks. Wear kneepads, you will appreciate them after several hours on the floor your knees will thank you.
Once the tile is mortared in, you have to grout it; the type of grout should be compatible with your tile and mortar, its best to use the same manufacturer if possible. Grout comes in a variety of colors sure to cause hours of “enjoyment” selecting just the right one.
Grout normally requires sealing and that needs to be done after the grout cures according to manufacturer specifications.
Some tiles also require sealing, one more point to ponder before purchasing your tile as it does add to your final financial total.
Now that your floor is finished beer in hand, back in agony, pull up a chair and call your friends to employ your bragging rights! You earned them.
NOTE: a wet saw is the best way to cut those little monsters, just another sanity saving service from yous truely.