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How to Tile a Floor

Posted By admin On April 15, 2009 @ 1:51 pm In Building & Renovating | Comments Disabled

Tiling a floor, though a time consuming and demanding task, can be a rewarding project for the DIY enthusiast. Laying tiles not only provides the satisfaction of completing a job yourself but, with careful planning and preparation, can also save you money.

Preparing Your Floor

  • Measure the square footage of the area to be tiled and calculate the number of tiles you’ll need to cover this. Increase the number of tiles by 15% to cover breakages, mistakes and tiles that need to be cut to size.
  • Prepare your surface. When laying tiles the floor should be clean, dry, smooth and rigid. Floors that flex may result in cracked and dislodged tiles. A rough or uneven floor may require the application of a floor-levelling compound.
  • Divide your floor into quadrants and locate the centre point. Measure exactly halfway along each opposing side wall close to the floor, fix a chalk line between the two points and “snap” it so that it marks the floor. Repeat this process with the end walls. The two chalk lines will intersect at the centre of your floor and create four quadrants. To tile a floor accurately it is essential that the two chalk lines be square to each other.
  • Have a “dry run”, laying your tiles on the floor without adhesive. This will allow you to test your tile pattern, cut your edge tiles to size, and pre-drill any tiles which need to fit around radiator pipes etc. Lay your tiles starting from one of the corners at your centre point and work outwards from there. Complete one quadrant at a time.

Getting Those Tiles Down

  • Gather up your tiles and begin the process again, this time using adhesive. Work in small patches, spreading the adhesive with a notched trowel to create a reasonably straight pattern of grooves, and press the tiles firmly into place. Ensure that you do not twist or shunt the tiles as you place them. Set tile spacers as you go and use a spirit level regularly to ensure all tiles are level. At the completion of each quadrant remove the tile spacers so that they do not set into the adhesive.
  • Allow the adhesive to set for at least 24 hours and then grout your tiles. Spread the grout over a small area at a time and work into the spaces between the tiles with a rubber float. When the joints are full skim away any excess grout with the float. This will leave a “grout haze” on the surface of your tiles which should be removed with a damp sponge.
  • When tiling a floor, joints at the wall should be filled with caulk or silicone rather than grout. A tile floor will expand and contract as the temperature changes and caulk will accommodate this movement better than grout.
  • Leave your floor to cure undisturbed for one week. Remove any remaining grout haze with a damp mop and apply a grout sealer to protect the joints against dirt and grease.

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