Tiling is one of the most fundamental DIY projects to carry out. It is something you can really get your hands dirty with, but it is not a difficult project to complete. Still, if you have never tried it before, it can be a little intimidating and there are a couple things that you need to make sure you do to ensure a great finish.
What Do I Need To Tile A Floor?
Tiles and tile spacers, a sponge, bucket and a cloth. Tile adhesive, levelling compound and grout. A rubber mallet, notched trowel and a grout float! A spirit level and a tile cutter (electric or manual). Grout finisher, dust mask and of course some safety goggles.
What Surface Can You Tile?
The floor underneath your tiling is enormously important to how you prep it for the actual tiling. If you are tiling onto concrete, then all you need to make sure is that the floor is level and clean. Use the spirit level to find out how level it is – if it is not then use levelling compound as per instructions to make the surface suitable for the floor tiles.
If you are planning on tiling onto wooden floorboards though, fix 18mm of quality plywood over the floor. Use wood screws as 10cm intervals to fix it in place (and make sure that the screws are long enough to go through the ply, but not too long as to go all the way through the floorboards).
If you are tiling onto existing tiles then simply clean up the floor tiles, replace any broken tiles and put down some tile on tile primer.
How To Plan Tile Layout
When tiling, you must start from the centre of your room and tile outwards to the edges. It does seem obvious, but do not tile yourself into the room – start with the furthest corners of the room and aim to finish at the door. Also, if this is a room that you will need to use regularly, like a kitchen, then consider tiling only half of the room and waiting for it to dry before doing the other half.
What Tile Adhesive Do I Use?
Pour the tile adhesive into a roughly 1mІ area in the centre of the room. You pour this amount because pouring too much will end up with some adhesive drying before you have put the tiles down.
Use the trowel’s smooth edge to spread the adhesive, then turn your trowel over to the other side and use the serrated edge to draw grooves into the adhesive. This is very important because it makes sure that the thickness of the adhesive remains consistent.
How To Lay Floor Tiles
Put your first tile down into the adhesive. Then, start tiling in a line towards a wall, putting tile spacers down on the edges of tiles as you go, to make sure you place them at even intervals. Make sure to wipe off any adhesive from the surface of your tiles with the wet sponge before it dries. Your tile spacers will not be taken out, so make sure you put them down well below the top level of the tiles to ensure the grout will obscure them once applied.
Use your spirit level to make sure the tiles are all level. If not, then you can use the rubber mallet to gently tap tiles into place – it must be a rubber mallet, otherwise you run the risk of cracking your brand-new tiles. Once you reach the edge, start from the middle tile and make another row at a right angle to your first row – this is your first quarter. When you reach the edge, you will likely have a gap.
Fill in the tiles between the two rows of tiles you have made and then create another row. You might have surplus adhesive in your tiling area that you can scrape away with the trowel. Fill in the gap between your new row and the first quarter and create another row. Fill this in, create another row and fill that in.
You should have an even border of space around your main tile body. This is where you will need the tile cutter. Measure the size of the edge tiles by placing a tile on top of an outer tile and then placing another tile on top of this tile, but with the outer edge against the wall. You can then mark on the first loose tile by drawing a line using the inner edge of the second loose tile. Cutting just before this will give you the extra space needed for the grout.
Cut the tiles as per your tile cutter’s instructions and make sure to wear your goggles and mask, because it will kick up a lot of dust. Then, instead of applying adhesive to the floor, apply it directly to the cut tiles and place them right up against the wall. Leave to set.
How To Grout Tiles
Your floor should now be getting there, but the still visible tile spacers will make it look distinctly unfinished. Use the grout float to apply the grouting into the gaps between tiles, using rubber part of the float to press the grout in firmly and making sure the spacers are covered up.
Once a few have been done, use the grout finisher and press firmly on the grout to give it a neat, presentable finish. Do the rest of the grouting. Like with the adhesive, wipe away any excess grout with a wet sponge. Leave it to set and do not walk on it until it has done.
How To Seal And Clean Tiles
Your final step is simply to seal the edges of the floor with clear silicone sealant. This is recommended because it will massively increase your tiling’s chances against damp and mould. Give the whole floor another wipe with a wet sponge and then with a dry cloth just to make sure it’s free of dust and debris. You are all done, so take a step back and admire your handy work.