Completing a DIY floor tiling project is not as difficult as it may seem. In addition, installing bathroom flooring on your own can save you a significant amount of money. The following tips on tile installation will help you complete your project in a safe and efficient manner.
Cleaning the Stripped Floor
Before you begin, clean the floor and sweep up any leftover debris, as grit, dirt and dust will interfere with the adhesion of the tiles. A clean surface is very important. The best way to accomplish this task is to remove the larger debris first and rent a high-powered vacuum to clean the swept floor. When you finish these steps, you are ready to begin your floor project.
Cutting the Tiles
Most tiles are sold in precut sizes, although you will almost certainly have to cut at least a few for areas such as the base of the sink, toilet or shower. Tile cutting should be completed with a snap cutter or scoring tool. If you discover lots of tiles need to be cut or notched, consider renting a wet saw, as this will save you a lot of time.
Mix the Adhesive
A thinset adhesive is often used in bathroom floor projects. It can be purchased one of two ways: premixed packages or in boxes ready for mixing. Premixed adhesive costs a little more; however, it is easier to work with and a very convenient choice for small projects. It is important to understand that the powder from the mix can create a considerable amount of dust, and for this reason you should consider mixing the thinset outdoors if you choose to buy the powder and mix it yourself.
Spreading the Adhesive
When spreading adhesive, only cover approximately half a metre to a metre at a time. It is essential not to attempt to place too many tiles all at once. Spread the adhesive with a notched trowel, which should be held at a 45 degree angle to keep even thickness on the backer board.
Laying Out the Tiles
Set the tiles carefully on top of the layer of adhesive and apply as much pressure as you can. Twist the tile slightly back and forth in a diagonal pattern in order to encourage the adhesive to set. Use a small, thin towel to protect the tile and tap it gently with a hammer or rubber mallet. Do not strike the tile directly without a cloth covering as you can damage your tiles. Starting in the most visible corner with a full-size tile, carefully and evenly lay each tile. Build off the corner tile and place the remaining tiles according to their pattern in a way that is aesthetically correct. If you notice the pattern is uneven, remove the tiles and backtrack a bit to ensure a well finished design.
Continue across the floor, spreading small areas with adhesive and setting the tiles. Use spacers to keep the tiles aligned but step back after placing every few tiles to ensure they are lined up properly. Use a board the length of at least three tiles to check if each one is even. Gently tap down any tiles that are higher than the others using your towel and rubber mallet. If you discover a tile lower than the surrounding ones, it should be pulled up and re-spread with adhesive to bring it to the proper height.
Grout the Floor
After the adhesive has completely cured, use a rubber float to spread grout into the proper lines. Use your float to remove grout from the tiles' surface as best you can. There will often be residue left behind, but this can be cleaned with a damp sponge. Polish in one direction when cleaning and polishing the face of the tiles. Remember to rinse the sponge often. If there is still a haze on the surface of the tile, it can be buffed off with a soft cloth or chamois. Refer to the manufacturer's instructions for curing the grout.
DIY floor tiling should not be rushed. Give yourself enough time to properly complete the project. Installing your own bathroom flooring is a satisfying activity that can save you money and give you a better looking bathroom!