This guide will show you everything you need to know when tiling your floor, whether that be a bathroom, kitchen or any other room or space you may have around your home.
The tools and products you will require are:
- Tile cutter
- Spacers and packers
- Tape measure
- Spirit level
- Set square
- Rubber mallet
- Set square
- String line
- Tile adhesive
- Large drill and paddle
- Serrated edge trowel
- Pen and paper for drawing your pattern
- PPE, such as a mask and safety glasses
Preparation is key, because if you fail to prepare then prepare to fail!
Firstly you want to measure up your room as well as your tiles, and transfer the measurements to your piece of paper, this way you can see how your tiles are going to look in your room when you finish. There are a number of options you can have when doing this, you can have the tiles starting in one corner and spreading it across the room, or even have it symmetrical, and have it start in the centre and work its way out.
There is even another option of having your first two tiles meet at the centre of the room, this way your cuts on either side will be equal.
When you have done this, you can then check whether or not you will have to trim your door off so it can go over the tiles. A good rule of thumb with this is to stack two of your tiles on top of each other, this will account for your tile thickness as well as the thickness of the adhesive. Draw a line on your door to where your stacked tiles are, this will give you an idea of where to cut.
Simply remove your door from its hinges by unscrewing it, put it across a work bench then slice off the end with a handsaw or an electric saw, screw it back into the door frame and ensure it swings properly.
Once you have decided on a layout, you can then mix your tile adhesive. Start by pouring the powder into the water, then mixing it with the drill and paddle. Always follow the manufacturer’s instructions for your ratio of powder to water.
And don’t forget to wear your PPE when using your pre mixed tile adhesive.
Slowly whisk it up until you get a nice consistency such as this.
Once it has been mixed, you can put your adhesive down with a trowel. Then take your serrated edge trowel and run it through with the flat edge to ensure the adhesive is spread out.
Then use the serrated edge and comb it through to spread the adhesive out evenly.
I am now going to lay my first tile down on top of the adhesive in the middle of my room in the direct centre. A tip to do this is to measure up your tile and have it line up with the mark you have made on your room.
When the adhesive is trowelled out, you need to ensure it is deep enough to meet the manufacturers recommendations to get the entire back of the tile covered, alternatively, you can always butter the back of the tile with the adhesive. You also have to bear in mind to leave an expansion gap around the edge near your wall or fixed object in case of natural movement, a good rule of thumb is to leave at least 6mm and then go over the gap with any silicone.
Check that it is level with your spirit level.
Now this has been done you can use your base clips to go under your laid tile. Depending on size you should space these out towards the end of the tile.
You can then rinse and repeat with your second tile to get the adhesive combed out, then lay your second tile level with the first.
Once in place, you can use your wedge to go into the base clip, then use your adjustment tool to squeeze the wedge until the two tiles are perfectly level. You should use a spirit level to help you gain a true level.
Once this has been done, a good idea is to move onto the adjacent tiles so that you will have the first four tiles done. Once again, put the adhesive down, comb it out, place two base clips into place then put your third tile down. Now the third is in place, you can do the same for the fourth. Add the wedges then squeeze together with the application tool to ensure that your first 4 tiles are all level and square.
A good rule of thumb is after you have used the application tool, keep using your spirit level to constantly check your levels, as any adjustments that are needed will be much easier to make now rather than when the adhesive sets and goes rock hard.
Don’t do a full line across the back wall, do it in squares so that your tiles are kept square and level, then work your way into a corner. This is to keep it square and level so that your tiles don’t veer off to one side.
Like with anything, the more you do it, the faster and more accomplished you will be!
You can lay several tiles worth of adhesive if you feel confident enough to do it. Just remember that when you are remixing adhesive, before your laid adhesive sets, place your base clips down under the tiles to help you later on, it will be much easier when you come to lay your other tiles.
When you finish your main body of tiles, let them dry for a few hours before you walk on them. In this case, you should either do one side of your room at any one time, or have it so that you are laying tiles that go towards the door, so you can get out easy and not get trapped in a corner!
If you have to make any cuts around the edges, they are much easier than you would think. Simply take your tile, lay it on top of another, making sure that all the edges and lines are lined up accurately.
Then take another one, put it on top and push it up to the wall, and mark the distance on the under tile, therefore giving you a precise line of where to cut. Just keep in mind that you will have to have an expansion gap against the wall.
The tile with the marks on is the one being cut. Take your tile cutter and push it up against the wall so it won’t move. Line up any marks on the inside.
Before scoring, do several dry runs of making sure the cut line will be straight.
Press down on the tile cutter and score across, give the handle a sharp push and it will cut your tile.
Alternatively, you could get a piece of cardboard, measure and cut it out to make it fit in the gap, then you could cut it in a similar fashion. You can even use a tape measure to measure across and get your measurements from there.
A good rule of thumb for this, is to have the straight part of the tile that has been cut, lines up with the straight part of the tile that has been laid down already. This will mean that your cut will face the wall or object, and the manufacturers cuts will both line up with each other.
You can then bed your cuts into position using the adhesive and levelling system.
If you have to cut any tiles that are around a door architrave, this is a little bit more complicated. You could do the same method with your cardboard. You will have to take a large piece of cardboard, cut it down to be the exact size as your tile, then you can measure out the sizes around the frame.
After you have made sure your cardboard template fits, take your template and transfer the pattern onto a tile.
Then use a grinder to go over your marked out lines and slowly begin to cut the tile. If it’s helpful, you can even do it in sections as you don’t want to crack or damage the tile and have to start over.
Alternatively, you could do the same method, but transfer your measurements directly onto the tile, as opposed to a cardboard template. Once this has been cut, you can then use your adhesive and levelling system to get your tiles level.
Once the tiles have dried into the adhesive (if in doubt for how long you should leave them to set, read the instructions on the package), you can then take the wedges and base clips out. This is easily done with a pair of pliers, just simply pull them out by the parts that are visible.
After you have done this, if there is any adhesive that has dried, you can use a brush and some warm water to get any off, if any persist you can also use a small scraper. Be very gentle not to damage the tiles though.
Next is the grouting. However, it would be wise before this to seal the tiles before you grout. To do this, you can simply pour the sealing solution into a roller tray, then use a small radiator roller to make sure you get to all visible surfaces of the tile.
Alternatively, you could use a small handheld paint sprayer to do this. Leave to dry as per the manufacturers recommendations, then you can apply a second coat once it has been dry. A handy tip is to leave the bit before the door last, that way you won’t disturb any parts that you have done already. Sealing the tiles makes it easier to grout as it will be easier to clean further down the line when you start your grouting.
To grout, all you need to do is mix your grout with some water, again, following the manufacturers recommendations on this. You can mix by hand or with a small mixer.
Mix over and over until you get this consistency.
Get your grouting trowel, and fill the cavity. Push the grout down and scratch off at the same time, it helps to do this several times at an angle.
Repeat this until all areas have been filled.
Now get a damp sponge and use it in a circular motion to clear off the surplus grout that has been left on the tiles.
Again, repeat this until its clear. You may have to wait for it all to dry, then go over it with the sponge.
Now this has been done, you can go over the grout with the sealant, again using the radiator roller will be really helpful and achieve the best result.
This will lock in the grout so it won’t move as much as it may without the sealant.
You can then use a clear silicone sealant, or any sealant that matches your tile colour scheme to fill in any gaps around the edges.
You should use a silicone sealant rather than grout because if there is any natural movement in your floorboards, your sealant will be able to absorb it much better than grout, as if the grout moves it will begin to crack.
And there you have it all you need to know about tiling in one handy blog!
If you are taking on a tiling project head to our video below for more help and advice!
If you are looking to buy tiles head to Tile Mountain’s website for their latest styles and offers. https://www.tilemountain.co.uk/