Though it may seem like one of the most difficult projects a Do It Yourselfer could ever take on, the surprising reality is that laying down a tile floor, depending upon the material of tile used, can be fairly simple and straightforward. As long as you keep a few simple tips in mind, and that you dedicate yourself to the three P’s – preparation, patience and persistence – you should have little trouble with this home improvement project. The how to of the project is thankfully straightforward as well.
Tools And Items To Have On Hand
Enough floor tile to cover the surface area of the floor, plus 10 percent
Sandpaper in a heavy grit
Mastic And Trowel
These are the most basic tools and materials to have at the ready, prepared to go if you are installing a basic ceramic tile floor over wooden baseboard. If your applications, materials or intentions differ in any way from this, be prepared for additional research into the specific needs of your own circumstances.
Prepare The Baseboards
Once you have all of the tools and materials that you will need ready to go, you will need to begin the prep work of the existing floor. If you have not already torn out the old floor, do so before you begin anything else. You need to start from the baseboards and do the appropriate prep work on those.
First, you will need to clean off all surfaces of the baseboards with a heavy, industrial strength cleaning agent with a grease cleaning capability. If there are any oil or grease spots left on any part of the baseboards, the adhesive for the ceramic tile will not adhere to the baseboards themselves, causing a rather detrimental state of affairs for the project.
Next, take a wood plane and shave down the high, rough and uneven spots all along the surface of the baseboards. They need to be clean, even and perfectly level before you even prepare to lay down the ceramic tiles. Also use the heavy grit sandpaper to ensure that you are getting an even and smooth result. If there are any loose baseboards, re-nail them down and ensure that they are tight.
Then, you will lay out your tile. Basically, you should have everything measured clearly, and all of your tile cut to fit. So, install your new floor by laying out the tile exactly as you had measured it. Make sure that all tile pieces fit snugly together, and that there are no gaps, but also no overlaps. When laying down flooring tile, always start from the center of the room, and work your way outward toward the walls.
Once you have ensured that all of the tiles fit snugly but not too tightly together, and that there are no gaps, overlaps or other mishaps, you are prepared to apply the adhesive and lay down the new permanent flooring. Carefully apply the tile cement to each piece of tile, and lay each one down carefully where you had planned to put it in the dry run that you just completed. And, just like that dry run, start from the center, and work your way outward toward the walls. As you go, be sure that each tile is still fitting snugly, that there are no gaps, and that you trim off any adhesive that squeezes out from under the tile as you go along.
Remember, that when you approach a wall, that you will need to use the shorter tiles that you had cut specifically to fit there. There should be no problem with any tile not fitting, if you have taken the time to do the dry run with laying down the tile.