The first step to successfully laying ceramic tile involves beginning with a plan. You should carefully plan your project to ensure the best results. Lay out your ceramic tiles so that you can visually see where you may need spacers, or where gaps exist.
After you have laid out your tiles on the floor, find the center tile and trace its outline on your floor with a pencil. This will help you identify the center of your floor when you begin tiling. It is recommended to begin your project beginning with the center tile (especially if you are using decorative tiles with a mural or design) and then work your way out from the center of the floor. Laying ceramic tile before you begin your project can help you determine where you will need to adjust for fixtures, fittings, and moldings as well.
Choosing Ceramic Tile Tools
Part of planning for laying ceramic tile includes choosing the best tools for your project. This includes making sure that you have the proper equipment to cut the size tile that you have, as well as having standard tools as well. It is also very important to make sure that you wear and use safety gear when working with and cutting tiles. Goggles should always be worn to protect the eyes, and a mask should be worn to protect the lungs from dust. Some standard tools that you may need include:
Stiff Blade Putty Knife
Chalk Line and Chalk
Some tools geared just for laying ceramic tile include:
- Wet Saw
Trowels (Notch, Margin)
Wood Beating Block
Prepare your Room and Surface
After you have gathered all of the necessary tools and safety equipment, you will need to prepare your room and surface that is going to be tiled. You will need to protect your furniture from dust and debris. The best way to accomplish this is by removing the furniture from the room that will be tiled.
Before laying ceramic tile, you should pay close attention to any fittings, moldings, or other fixtures that may get in the way of your work. To determine if a door molding should be cut to adjust for the new tile, take a piece of cardboard and place it on the floor. Next place a tile over the cardboard (the cardboard represents the thickness of the mortar that you will use). Cut the door molding to the top of the tile to ensure that the door will open easily and freely.
Choose the best mortar or adhesive that is best suited for your project. It is a good idea to mix your mortar with an electric drill and paddle to prevent and remove any lumps in the mortar. You should apply the mortar in a layer about 1/8 inch thick.
You should spread the first layer of mortar with the flat side of the trowel you are working with. You should then spread another layer of mortar using the notched side of your trowel. When laying ceramic tile lay enough mortar for as many tiles as you can lay within fifteen minutes, otherwise the mortar may become hard before you are ready for laying additional tiles.
Laying Ceramic Tile: Grout
When laying ceramic tile you will want to make sure that you take your time and apply your grout in a careful manner. A sloppy grout job can ruin the finished look of your ceramic tile. Make sure to follow the grout instructions accordingly. Make sure that you pack the joints firmly with the grout for the best-finished result.