Tile floors are beautiful, durable, and easy to clean. Plus, if you install them yourself, you can save hundreds of dollars on installation costs! Even an amateur DIYer can install tile floors, but you will need to proceed with caution because a tile floor will only last for decades if it is properly installed. So take your time, follow your products’ directions, and use the tips for installing tile floors that we’ve listed below . . .
Tips for Installing Tile Floors
Start with a firm foundation. Assess the area that you plan to tile. Is it solid and stiff? Does it bend or flex as people walk across it? If it’s not stiff, you need to start by identifying the floor’s flaws and completing the necessary repairs. Without a solid base, you can’t have a truly strong and durable tile floor.
Plan ahead. Using a paper and pen (or a computer) and careful measurements, create the layout that you will follow for the floor. This will help you identify any awkward spots and create a plan to avoid them. Try to use as many whole tiles as possible and to increase the size of cut tiles. Finally, if any tiles will be awkwardly cut, place them somewhere that can be hidden (such as beneath a vanity).
Apply the thinset properly. The thinset should be the consistency of mayonnaise or thick peanut butter, and you should only mix as much thinset as you can use in two hours. Spread a thin layer on a 2′ by 3′ area and then, before it dries, apply another layer using the notched edge of your trowel. Hold the trowel at a 45-degree angle and press hard (you should hear a scraping sound) to spread the product evenly.
Frequently check for straight lines. As you lay down tiles, be sure to check that your lines are straight and your tiles are even in height as you go. Use a framing square or an A-square to check the spacing of the rows, and use a level to ensure that your tiles are even in height. If you use tile spacers in your joints, you shouldn’t have too much trouble, but it never hurts to be extra careful when you’re installing a valuable floor.
Be smooth, not aggressive. After the tiles have set thoroughly (this could take 48-72 hours) and the grout has been applied and allowed to sit for 20-30 minutes, you can begin wiping the grout off the surface of the tiles. Use a damp sponge and clean water, repeating as necessary. However, take care not to wipe the grout out aggressively or roughly, as you could easily pull the grout out of the joints.
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Ready to buy your supplies and get started? Be sure to check out the selection of tile flooring offered at Curran Design Center, a small, family-owned and -operated business located in Nixa, Missouri. With brands like Daltile, Happy Floors, and Shaw, which are easy to install, easy to maintain, and available in a variety of patterns and colors, you can be sure that you’ll find the right flooring product to suit your style, home, and budget. To learn more about our tile flooring options, please give us a call at 417-724-1018 or click here for a free consultation.