DO IT YOURSELF: INSTALLING FLOOR TILE
Tiles tend to accentuate and beautify rooms; they are also easy to clean and quite durable hence a great option if you are looking into new flooring or even building a home. Prices, styles, and availability vary from one manufacturer to the next when it comes to tile floors. However, with these clear and precise instructions for installing a tile floor will make your home beautiful and presentable:
Before you start installing your tile floor, you need a few tools to help you along the way. Tools such as tile spacers, measuring tape, grout float, notched trowel, tile nippers, tile saw, knee pads, goggles, measuring tape, drill, mixing bucket, sponge, circular saw, chalk line and gloves.
There are a few materials that are key during the installation process from the tile, tile spacers, backer board, backer board screws, thin set mortar, sealant, tile adhesive, grout, and sponges will be of great use during the whole process. Ensure that the adhesive is recommended by the manufacturer and compatible with the tiles you want to install.
Here are some of the definitive steps to follow for a successful installation:
Before anything else, measure the floor you want to replace with tiles. Also measure the mortar, grout and backing board as well. The measurements will help you determine how much of everything you will require during installation. It is advisable to buy a little bit excess of the materials and not fixed figures to have flexibility and also for precaution. Buying the correct number of tiles on the onset will help you avoid mismatched floors regarding texture and color.
Lay out the tiles in a different set up to check for the minor variations such as color and texture. This will help you determine the exact floor color you desire or even mix it up to form your pattern.
- CEMENT BOARD INSTALLATION
Before jumping into an installation, you are required to make a base for the tiles. The main purpose of the cement board underlayment is to ensure the floor is as stable enough to support the whole floor. The underlayment of the cement board to the subfloor also helps to smoothen the surface for the tile installation. Keep in mind after installation of the tile floor; the floor will be 0.5 inches higher than it is already. Therefore, ensure that appliances kept under the kitchen countertops or even in the different rooms of the house have ample space to fit and operate.
It may require you to shift some fixtures around the house that take up floor space such as toilets and at times the sink. You may notice some wobbliness in some areas of the floor; ensure that you stabilize these significant portions with the cement floor underlayment. By doing this you will prevent the tile floor from cracking, moisture seeping through the joints and extra expenses on the replacement.
To fix the underlayment to the subfloor, use the drill with a driver to screw it in sturdily. As you screw in the underlayment, ensure the screws are six inches apart from each other and that they lay flat therefore not interfering with the rest of the process.
- CENTRAL POINTS
It is fundamental to find the central point of any room before you start any significant process. To find the focal point of the room, carefully measure from one end to the other end of the room steadily. Then mark the center point of that particular line. To be confident of this central point, measure the whole room in an entirely new and different direction of various points of the space and mark the center of each. The intersection of these lines makes the central point of the room. This ensures that you have a genuine center of the room whereby you will start your installation
- TILE LAYOUT
Carefully position the tiles starting from the center of the room for a dry run, tracing them along the lines previously drawn to locate the center point. Ensure that you put pacers in between the tiles to provide ample space for perfect fitting.
- INSTALL THE CENTRE TILE
Before placing the tiles, ensure the adhesive being used is recommended by the manufacturers. The manufacturers’ recommendation may vary from synthetic adhesive to the thin-set mortar. Using the notched side of the trowel, smear the glue at 45-degree angle on the floor- to avoid excess application or applying too little for the tile to be held in place correctly.
After successful application of the adhesive on the floor, take the center tile and carefully place it in its position. You can ensure it is well positioned by shifting it slightly back and forth so as to secure its place. After that, lift the tile and look at the bottom of the tile to check if it has areas that haven’t come in contact with the tile properly. If this is the case, take the trowel by its notched edge and apply a thicker paste on the floor but at the same time keeping it level. When the adhesive seems to be ample enough to hold the tile in place with no bare parts left, then reinstall the center tile at its position.
- REMAINING TILES
Using the center tile as the reference point, put the remaining tiles along straight lines in the room. Be careful not to use too much or too little adhesive. The adhesive used should be enough to hold the tile in place and not spill over in between the joints to the surface of the tile when pressure is applied. This is a sign that you should reduce the amount of adhesive used as it will give a bad finish to the floor.
If you need to trace the grout lines along the floor board, you can use pacers to establish a clear guide. In some instances, the tiles do not fit the room as expected due to different factors and may require you to cut the tile for proper fitting. Working from the central point towards the end will give your floors a more desirable pattern Also it will not affect the general outlook as the end row tile is cut to fit the room.
- TIME ALLOWANCE
After you have reached completion of installing the tiles, it is important that you allow the adhesive to cure overnight or to depend on the manufacturers’ directive for that flooring or adhesive.
The main function of the grout is to keep the color consistency of the floor as neutral as possible. There are different colors of grout and can be easily manipulated into matching the color of your tiles. Making it monochrome and as befitting as possible. Mix the grout into a paste-like form, not too lumpy and not too light. The grout should be thick and maintain a consistency of margarine or that recommended by the manufacturer. Scoop the grout and smear it along the lines between the laid out tiles. Using the rubber grout float, ensure the grout reaches every nook and cranny of the joints. Spread the grout at an angle making the tile and its crevices to be in unison.
The grout might have spread all over during the application process and may require you to clean off the overspill. Take a damp sponge and carefully wipe off the grout from the tiles carefully while avoiding the grout lines in between the tiles. Keep water nearby so as to rinse the sponge frequently as possible avoiding spreading the grout further. The damp sponge will ensure that the grout is leveled and smooth. It is fundamental to make sure that the grout on the tile is completely wiped off to avoid it from sticking permanently on your floor tiles. Leaving traces of grout may lead to a grout haze. Allow the applied grout to cure to a light mist then take a damp cloth to buff the tiles to shine. Different manufacturers have different procedures of curing the grout, seek your manufacturer’s advisement before any undertakings. It usually involves one spraying the grout to keep it damp over a few days. Remember to apply a sealant along the grout lines after the grout has cured. The grout is safe to walk on after 24 hours but takes an extensive number of days to cure completely.
In the bathroom, you are advised to caulk along the tub line or toilet line to protect the floor from moisture that may seep.