Tile can add a finished element to any room and truly enhance the look. While calling a professional for the installation can be a good idea, many homeowners are opting to tackle the job on their own, and with fantastic results. Before installing tile, take a look at the tips here to know what to expect and how to do the job right.
It’s important to plan before starting anything. Whether the old flooring has been removed or not, start by measuring the room and determining how the tile will be laid. Tile can be done in a straight line, on an angle, or in a pattern to create a unique look. Patterns and angles may require more cutting but can create a stunning look that isn’t possible any other way.
While planning, shop around for the perfect tile to use. Whether it’s for the wall or the floor, there are plenty of options available in all different sizes, styles, and colors. Consider the rest of the room when picking out the style and color, and choose the size based on what will look good in the desired pattern on the floor or wall. Take some time when shopping around for tiles, as this will be something that will remain in place for many years.
Get an idea of how much tile is needed based on the size of the tile and the area of the room it will be installed in. This should give a good estimate for how much may be needed, but it isn’t exact as extra pieces may be needed for certain cuts to get everything to fit properly. Always purchase a little bit extra just in case it’s needed. This will help prevent needing to go back to the store and hoping they have the same dye lot in when buying the last few tiles.
If there is trim around the flooring, that needs to be taken into consideration during the design phase. Depending on the trim, it may need to be removed before the new tile is installed. If this isn’t desired, it is possible to lay the tile close to the trim, then add a corner piece of trim in front of the existing trim. This covers the edge of the tile without having to remove and replace the existing trim.
Preparation is key when installing tiles on the floor or walls. Any surface that will have tiles installed should be clean, free of defects, and level. If the surface is not clean, the tiles may not stick properly. If there is any debris or defects, or the surface is not level, this will be apparent when the tiling is done and could leak to cracks or other issues in the future. Look online for information about leveling the subfloor based on the type of subfloor in the room to make sure this step is done right.
After everything is purchased and the surface is level, it’s time to start installing the tile. The first step is to use chalk lines to create a straight line across the room. Even if the walls are not straight, if there is a chalk line on the floor, it’s possible to install tiles that are straight and will look good. Chalk lines are especially important to help keep the tiles straight when installing them diagonally or in a pattern.
The mortar is done next. Always prepare the mortar based on the instructions from the manufacturer. The end consistency should be similar to toothpaste. Avoid mixing too much at one time, as it will start to dry before it’s used. It’s possible to continue stirring it before it’s fully used, but do not add extra water if it starts to dry. Instead, create a new, smaller batch to use. Mortar should be used within 30 minutes of being mixed.
After the mortar is mixed, put enough on the ground to install just a couple of tiles. It shouldn’t be on the floor without a tile placed on it for more than 10 to 15 minutes, as it could dry and will no longer be tacky. Press the tiles in the mortar and use a block of wood or rubber mallet to tap on them and make sure they are fully seated in the mortar. Gaps or bubbles under the tile can lead to issues down the road.
If the tiles are being installed on the floor, avoid walking on them for 24 hours after they’re installed. This gives the mortar time to fully dry and prevents some tiles from being pushed too far into the mortar, creating an unlevel floor. The mortar will need 24 hours to dry before the grout can be added.
Grout should be mixed as instructed by the manufacturer and should be used within 20 minutes of being mixed. Mix smaller amounts at a time to make sure it isn’t wasted. Then, apply the grout into the spaces between tiles and remove any excess. A damp sponge can be used on the tile to remove the excess. This is important, as grout left on the tiles can be difficult to remove once it is dry.
In bathrooms, the tile will likely go around the tub, toilet, and other plumbing fixtures. When this is the case, caulking will need to be used between the tile and the fixture so it is fully waterproof. Avoid using grout in these locations and use a clear or white caulk instead.
The grout will need to dry for at least 48 hours, though some manufacturers recommend letting it dry for 72 hours. After that, the grout will need to be sealed. This helps protect the grout from stains, so the tile looks great for a lot longer. Follow the instructions for the sealant to make sure it’s done right and will protect the grout.
If you’re looking for a great way to refresh a room in your home, installing tile might be the answer. This is a job that can be done by homeowners, but you’ll want to follow the tips here to make sure the job is done right and you love the result.