Laying a Tile Floor

Most do-it-yourselfers have no problem laying a tile floor if they use careful preparation and attention to detail. It can be done in six steps of progression:

Step One: Preparing the Substrate

Tile can be applied to a variety of surfaces to include existing tile, mortar base, cement board or plywood. If you lay over existing tile ensure that all the tiles are sound and all the mortar joints are properly filled. Scratching the original surface is also needed to ensure a proper bond of the new material. Tiling over thinset or mortar is the preferred method of professionals. These floors will be extremely durable. Tile mastic or thinset is also available in ready to use forms. It is commonly applied directly to plywood. When using plywood a minimum of ¾ inches is recommended. Cement board is very stable and requires special screws that are supplied by the manufacturer.

Step Two: Pattern Layout

To lie your patterns select the portion of the floor with the longest dimension. Measure to the center of that area and snap a chalk line to determine where to begin your pattern. Select the floors shortest dimension to snap a cross line to divide the floor into quadrants. When you begin laying the tile start at the center and use your lines as your guide.

Do a dry run before actually installing the tiles to ensure proper alignment. This will also expose the need for any adjustments. This is accomplished by laying enough tiles on your line to reach all the walls in each direction. Plastic spacers between the tiles will ensure proper and consistent alignment of all the tiles. Ideally you want the the tiles at either end to be close to the same size. Too small of a tile will not bond properly. In high traffic areas be sure to always use at least a half tile when possible.

Step Three: Cutting the Tile

Tiles are cut with manual snap cutters or with power saws. Snap cutters are used for small jobs and thin tile. They leave a jagged edge after scoring and snapping and a file or stone is needed to smooth the finished edges which show. A power saw or wet saw uses a diamond chip blade with water running over it while the tile is being cut. These make smooth cuts on all styles of tile whether thick or thin. With a proper layout design it is possible to cut all of your finish tiles prior to setting them into the mastic. Tiles that have compound cuts or special applications should be cut individually as they are required.

Step Four: Applying the Mastic

Using a notched trowel spread the adhesive on the floor. Trowels with smaller notches are used for tiles that are smaller. The larger tiles require the larger notched trowels. Start at your layout lines and work towards the edges. Press the mastic onto the floor and use the edge of the trowel to make ridges into it. Make sure to leave your lines visible. Confine your work area to three or four feet at a time. Be sure to have adequate ventilation. Mastic can have noxious fumes to it.

Step Five: Laying of the Tiles

Carefully press the tiles into the mastic beginning at the layout lines. Proceed so you won’t have to step onto the freshly laid tile as you are going. This is where a helper comes in handy. They can supply you with a constant feed of tile while you are laying them. The helper will make a good cut man in the process also. To set each tile properly, use a rubber mallet and a wood block to gently tap each one into the mastic. If you have to replace one that breaks, add some mastic to the back of the new tile before placing it in position.

Use plastic spacers to ensure even spacing for consistent joint. These are removed prior to grouting. A four foot level (or smaller) is used as you go to make sure the tiles are lined properly and set into the mastic at the same elevation (level).

Step Six: Grouting the Joints

After the tile is placed for one whole day it is time to remove the spacers and begin filling the joints with grouting. Grout can be bought in bulk but the premixed grout is easier and faster to apply. Both can be bought in a variety of colors. If you are using a tile that might be unsealed or porous a sealer is needed to keep the grout from sticking to the tiles.

Mix only what you can apply in a half hour. This will prevent the grout from drying before you apply it. Cleaning off the excess as you go is a good idea as well. Use a damp sponge or a rag but be sure not to wet the grout as you do. Wiping diagonally across the joints is the best method to avoid disturbing the fresh grout. Releasing agents are available for use after the grout is completely dry. These will enable you to remove the haze from the tile. A final wipe down with a damp sponge is all that is need after that.

DIY – Tile Flooring in the Living Room

Americans generally reserve tile flooring for the kitchen or the bathroom. But if you’ve ever spent time in a Mexican hacienda, you know the deep, exotic pleasure of walking barefoot across beautiful tiles in a space not meant for dripping dishwater or stepping out of the shower.

My husband and I honeymooned in San Miguel de Allende, in a villa with Saltillo tile flooring. When we bought a house last year with some ratty carpeting in the living room, we started wondering, what’s stopping us from recreating that here?

At first we were looking at terra cotta colored ceramic tiles, with the idea of bringing our honeymoon into our home in as exact a replica as possible. Honestly, I think we would have loved that, too. Those were the most romantic days of our lives, after all.

But we live in Portland, Oregon, where the rain falls and the grass grows green, and it seemed a little out of place. We wanted a tile floor that referenced Mexico, but also honored Portland. You know, Be Here Now.

Then we happened upon natural stone tiles, and we fell in love all over again. We chose a random sized mosaic of sliced pebbles in a shade of green called “Taipei” (after the capital of Taiwan) that reminded us for all the world of creek beds on hikes we take in the Oregon mountains.

Here is a little tutorial on DIY tile flooring, based on our experience. We’ve been walking across our pebbled living room for six months now, and I swear I’ve never felt so much peace in a non-vacation home. Married bliss, or just one fine damn floor? A little of both, if we do say so, ourselves.

1. Make sure the floor is clean. Get on your hands and knees and scrub, basically. Dust, oil, wax or grease will prevent the tile adhesive from working properly.

2. Work from the center as you plan your layout. You want any cut tiles at the wall edges. (Ideally you want the cut tiles at each end of the room to be the same size, but with our pebble mosaics, we didn’t have to worry about this.)

3. Lay all the whole tiles first. When you are ready to do all the cut tile, go and hire a professional tile cutter. Seriously. I won’t name names, but a certain someone I’ve vowed to love through sickness and health, etc. thought he could cut the tiles himself with his circular saw, and basically, long story short, we had to order another batch of tiles. Live and learn!

4. Grouting pebble mosaics is time-consuming, I won’t lie. It’s also a little tricky. This tip is important: SEAL THE PEBBLE TILE BEFORE YOU GROUT. Because the pebbles have a natural finish, they absorb the grout. Insert frowny face here. But if you seal the tiles (once the adhesive dries), voila, no absorption. Insert happy face.

5. Cover the entire tile with grout. Gulp. Wait 20 minutes. Wipe with a damp sponge till it’s pretty again. Hey perfectionist, don’t wipe so hard that the grout between the pebbles disappears!

6. Allow the grouted tile flooring to dry for 24 hours. For the first few of those hours, go out for a drink, you two. You deserve it.

7. Seal it.

8. Hi, honey, I’m home? You can leave your hat on, but please, leave your shoes by the door.

Installation of Garage Tile Flooring

Few years back garages were not considered as place that need to look beautiful. People left them ignored during home remodeling and decoration. But now trends have been changed and people have realized that garage renovation is necessary to generate lively atmosphere. Garage tile flooring is very beneficial and easy idea to improve appearance of garage. Tiles are available in various colors and patterns. One major advantage of garage tile flooring is its easy installation. Even you can do it on your own. On the other hand covering garage floor with different coating materials such as Epoxy, Polyurethane, Acrylic Sealer/Stain and Latex are difficult to do it on your own rather you need professional contractor to get the job done. This will add up labor charges and contractor fee in project cost that may not suitable for every one’s budget.

Important Guideline for Installation of Garage Tile Flooring

A good type of flooring not only gives stunning look to your garage rather it also allow you to clean it in easy way. If you spend lot of time in your garage due to your personal interests you will definitely want to make your garage beautiful, spacious and easily manageable. Suitable garage tile flooring will help you a lot in this regard.

One can hire a professional to get it done. But if you properly plan and organize the things you can do garage tile flooring on your own. Following are some important guidelines that will help you if you are interested in installation of garage tile flooring on your own.

• The first step is to decide that what style and color you like for your garage. Flooring tiles are available in number of different colors and textures. You can design your own pattern with different colors.

• At second stage you need to get familiar with basic tools and materials related to this project. For example you need a mallet, utility knife, tape measure, chalk line and pair of knee pads.

• Self confidence is also necessary to accomplish the project. You must be confident enough and think that installation is simple.

• Start working at the centre of your floor and move outwards. Continue installation in circular pattern.

• Mallet will help you to support proper fixing of tiles if they do not fix properly.

• While working your pattern and when you reach on the edge you must need smaller tiles. For this purpose utility knife will help you to cut the tiles according to required space.

• Floor coatings can be damaged with moisture. But tiles do not get affected by moisture. Tiles are installed on the top of existing floors they do not stick on the floor. Due to this no glue bubbling occurs.

• Tiles floor must be cleaned on regular basis with light chemicals. Avoid infrequent cleaning with strong chemicals. This will increase life of garage tile floors.