An Instructional Guide to Installing Floor Tiles Properly

An instructional guide to installing floor tiles properly

There is nothing quite like the pleasure that comes from a job well done. Standing there with your arms at your sides, nodding and clapping yourself on the back, you're a superhero. All of which you will undoubtedly do while standing on your new floor tiles. While tiling your own floor may be a beautiful and fulfilling endeavor for the do-it-yourselfer, it is also fraught with opportunities for error.

In this two-part series, we'll guide you through the primary phases of preparation, tiling, and grouting, as well as the crucial tools and dangers to avoid.

Part one will discuss the most critical and most forgotten phase of all: preparation. As is the case with many other do-it-yourself/home improvement tasks, tiling is highly dependent on good surface and substrate preparation. To say it is critical is an understatement, which is why it has its own particular section in this series. In Part 2, we'll get into the nitty gritty of actually tiling and grouting a floor.

So, let's dive in and examine what you'll need to begin prepping your floor for floor tiles installation, including the equipment you'll need and some things to keep in mind as you tackle this first step of the process.

The Steps to a Successful Floor Tiles Preparation

Bear in mind that these fundamental methods apply to all types of flooring tiles, including kitchen tiles, bathroom tiles, mosaic tiles, stone, ceramic floor tiles, and porcelain floor tiles. In brief, if you're new to tiling, floor tiles are a lot better place to start than a backsplash, since laying floor tiles on a wall requires significantly more expertise owing to the vertical aspect of walls and the gravitational impact.

No step-by-step tutorial is thorough. Each job is unique, and you will certainly run across something in your own house that is not addressed in this or any other floor tiles instruction. However, if you follow these procedures, you should find success with your project.

Therefore, let us begin!

The Steps to a Successful Floor Tiles Preparation

1st step: Clean and Prepare the Subfloor

If there is one critical step, it is this one. This one is critical. To begin, what is a subfloor? It's an all-purpose phrase that refers to the subfloor underneath your completed floor. There are two basic subfloor materials: wood and concrete. Both are plagued by the same tile-eating problem: mobility. Wood swells and flexes in response to humidity and temperature variations; concrete swells and flexes in response to humidity, moisture, soil movement, and temperature.

Wooden Subfloors in a Pier and Beam House

Remove any staples and push down any protruding screws or nails. Install a cement backer board to provide a solid foundation for your floor tiles and to prevent floor tiles or grout breaking due to movement.

Backer board is fastened to the wood flooring using backer board screws and mortared to the plywood subfloor with floor tiles adhesive mortar. Keep in mind to tape and mortar the seams between the backer board pieces. On both sides, a crack prevention membrane is mortared in place. This membrane also functions as a waterproofing membrane, which is advantageous in moist areas, second floors, and plywood subfloor applications. Spread the mortar at a 45-degree angle to the plywood flooring using a notched trowel.

Subfloors Made of Concrete

Remove any old glue from concrete subfloors and patch/fill any cracks with the proper substance (check your local home improvement store). Scrape away any loose material using a floor scraper. To remove old adhesives or mortar from the flooring and enable the new mortar to bind, this may involve some elbow grease and potentially a grinder. Installing floor tiles directly onto a concrete substrate is possible.

Whether wooden or concrete, maintain a clean and debris-free flooring.

Step two: Establish a Starting Point and Conduct Practice Layout Design

Laying out your floor tiles pattern and arranging for fixtures, cabinets, and other details in advance is crucial for saving waste (fewer cuts!) and ensuring a seamless process.

There are several designs available, albeit some are more suited to certain floor tiles shapes and sizes. In recent years, herringbone, brick bond, and basket-weave/parquet have become quite fashionable. This should be determined before to picking your floor tiles, but if you're working with conventional square tiles, a linear or grid design is ageless and simple to install. This is floor tiles set next to one another in the pattern you're seeing as you read this. That one, indeed.

Decide on a beginning place for your exploration of the room. Generally, you want full tiles in the room's most visible or focal points and cut tiles against cabinets or less visible walls. Determine the center of the space by measuring it and drawing chalk lines on the floor to assist your installation. Allow an equal amount of room on each side to avoid tiling up to one side with a complete floor tiles and leaving a partial or cut floor tiles on the other. Each space is unique, so take your time and plan appropriately. The objective is to lay as many complete field tiles as possible on the floor while leaving bespoke cuts for obstructions, behind appliances, and against exterior wall sections.

How to Make a Room Square for Easy Tile Installation

For the majority of straightforward applications, floor tiles may be set out in a grid pattern that begins in the middle of the floor, ensuring that cuts at the floor's borders are consistent with those at opposing walls. One way to do this is to split the floor into four quadrants that connect at the room's center. These quadrants should be square to one another, although this may be a challenge in older houses because the space is unlikely to be completely square. Set up your grid independently of the wall placements, rather than relying on them.

  1. Measure one side of the floor and mark the center with a pencil. Carry out the same procedure on the other side of the floor.
  2. Draw a chalk line from one mark to the next across the floor. Hairspray may be used to prevent the line from smearing.
  3. Measure and mark the center of the remaining two floor sides. The snap line should be drawn from one mark to the next such that it crosses the first line at the room's center. Avoid snapping the line.
  4. Position a carpenter's square in one of the four corners of the junction formed by the chalk line and thread. If the line and the string are properly perpendicular, they will run parallel to one edge of the carpenter's square. 
  5. Adjust the string as required to ensure that it is perfectly square against the chalk line. Snap the string once it is square to the line. Hairspray may be used to prevent the line from smearing.
  6. Begin placing your floor tiles by beginning with the center +. When installing floor tiles, no buffer space is required around the borders, since floor tiles does not expand or contract in the same way that other flooring materials do.