Tips On Installing Ceramic Tiles

Tilework can be difficult to do by yourself. It involves more than just applying adhesives and laying the tiles. Just like everything else in the house, it requires strategies so it can be successful. If you’re interested in learning more, below are some tips on installing ceramic tiles. Read on!

Plan Ahead To Avoid Failures

Before you set out to lay tiles, it is recommended to have a vision of what you would like it to look like. Are you going to mix different sized tiles? What about different designs? Bigger tiles are easier to apply if you’re a beginner. If you’re going to put smaller tiles, keep in mind that it would take longer, and could easily move around.

If you’re applying in a wet area, like a kitchen counter and a bathroom, there may be some additional steps you have to do. You have to purchase a backer board made from cement to prevent moisture from seeping to the walls, which can lead to molds and mildew. It can also make it easier to apply the tiles. 

Prepare Your Tools

Aside from the tiles, you also have to prepare the right trowel size. For example, large tiles require deeper notches on the trowel. This will make sure that enough adhesive will cover under the tile to let it bond to the floor. 

If you don’t use the right one, your tiles can easily crack under pressure. Because larger tiles will require more adhesive, you also need to buy enough in advance so you can work continuously.

Other items you need are tile grout, knee pads, a wet cutting saw, and a mask. If you’re leveling a floor, you may also need additional tools.

Ensure A Smooth Surface

Before you lay your tiles, you have to make sure that your floor or wall is smooth and flat. Applying on bumps can only make it easier for your tiles to crack in the future. Dirt, grime, and debris can also make it hard for the adhesive to stick. To remove any tough stains, you can try sanding. Cracks should also be filled in first with putty. 

Remember that a good foundation will prevent problems in the long run. Having a solid subfloor is the best thing you can do.

Use The Right Adhesive

Make sure that you buy high-quality adhesive. This is also called the thin-set or mortar. You’ll find cheaper options in the market, but you have to mix them yourself. Make sure to store it in a place that is neither too hot nor cold. Mix just enough paste that you can use for the next 30 minutes to prevent it from drying out. 

For convenience, it is recommended to buy pre-mixed mortar so you don’t have to find the right consistency. If you already bought it, the right texture should be like a paste. This allows the adhesive to be spread easily, but still stable enough to stand on its own. A watery mixture will only be costly because you’ll have to reinstall the tiles again. 

When applying the adhesive, use the flat side of the trowel first before combing with the notched side. Be sure to apply only enough mortar that you can immediately put a tile on. Let it cure for at least a day. 

Find The Right Fit

When applying the tiles, make sure to use tile spacers to ensure a uniform application. Lay the tiles with a gentle hand, and only push slightly. You can use a framing square to measure your progress. If you find that your work is not leveled, you can apply adhesive to the back of a lowered tile. 

If you need to cut tiles, you can do so with a snap cutter. But not all wall corners are right angles. There are irregular shapes that you will encounter. There are specially made tools to help you measure what to cut for this instance. If you need to chip off small amounts of tile you can use a nibbler.

Don’t Forget The Grout

After all the adhesive has dried, you can now take away the tile spacers and fill in with grout. This will help all your tiles bond together. Use a grout float to apply your mixture, and a sponge to wipe off the excess after leaving it for 20 minutes. Let it dry for 2-3 days. You can also apply a sealant to preserve the color of the grout. But do this after a couple of weeks. 

Key Takeaway

With these tips, you can appreciate your newly applied ceramic tiles. After all, it takes a lot of effort and planning to have a uniformly applied floorwork. 

To summarize, you need to plan, prepare all the necessary tools, ensure that you have a smooth surface, use the right adhesive, find the right fit by cutting excess tiles, and apply the grout to seal it all in. This will ensure that all your tilework will look good and last long.

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