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Installing Ceramic Floor Tile Instructions

  • Ceramic Tile Floor

    Ceramic tile floors offer a very attractive and durable alternative to other floor finishes. They come in many different sizes and colors to match the décor of any room and they can provide years of maintenance-free use. Additionally, ceramic tiles are fairly easy to install.

  • Overview

    Installing ceramic tiles involves first laying out the room to determine your starting point. Then you can install the whole tiles. After the whole tiles set, you can install the border tiles. Finally, you will grout the tiles to fill in the spaces in between the tiles.

  • Laying Out First Row

    Create guidelines for the tiles on the sub-floor and do a “dry run” – laying down the tiles without adhesive to see how they fit. Using a chalk line, snap a line perpendicular to the main entrance into the room. Use a square to make sure the line is perpendicular to the door. The prepare for your tile installation, remove any cove molding or base board molding that you have in the room. From the door, lay tiles on the floor along the line you snapped. Use a spacer in between each tile. The spacer can be the side of another tile or another uniform object that will enable you to maintain identical spacing on all your tiles.

  • Installing Guide Board

    When you reach the other end of the room and can no longer put down a full tile, take a long one inch thick piece of wood and lay it perpendicular to the row of tiles. Use a screw gun to tack it in place. Now lay tiles next to this board going across the room in both directions, again using your spacers.

  • Laying Out Perpendicular Row

    Based on the amount of remaining space on the sides of the room, determine how much you need to shift the rows to achieve equal borders on both sides of the room. Snap a second line based on this measurement. The intersection of second line and the board will become your starting point. The first line is no longer needed.

  • Installing Border Tiles

    Using the notched trowel, apply a two-foot square area of tile adhesive in the starting corner. As you lay down each tile, work it into the adhesive. Use the spacer to make sure the tiles are spaced evenly. Use a level to make sure the tile faces are flush. You can use a rubber mallet or a block of wood and a hammer to gently tap down tiles that are too high. Work your way back and forth across the room, covering two-foot square areas at a time. Let all the full tiles set overnight.

  • Installing Border Tiles

    Once the adhesive has set up, you can carefully walk on the tiles to cut and install the border tiles. To cut the border tiles, lay a tile exactly over the last full tile. Place your spacer against the wall. Now take another full tile and place it against the spacer with the edges lined up with the other loose tile. Make a line across the first tile. This is the line you need to cut. To cut the tile, you can use a tile cutter or a glasscutter. To use a glasscutter, put a straight edge along the tile and score the line only once with the glasscutter. Place the tile on the edge of a workbench and snap off the cutoff piece. For complex cuts, you can use a tile saw or tile nippers.

  • Grouting Tiles

    To grout the tiles, mix the grout according to the manufacturer’s recommendations. Apply the grout with a rubber float at a 45-degree angle, working it into the spaces. Wipe excess grout off the tile faces with a sponge. Be careful that you do not dig the grout out of the spaces. Once the grout has set, you can go back over the tile faces and clean off any remaining grout residue. To help the grout cure to a solid, resilient surface, mop the floor daily for the first three days. Allow the grout to cure for a full week. Then brush the grout with a silicone sealer.


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