How to Install Tile
Learning how to install tile can save you hundreds, if not thousands of dollars by doing it yourself. The thought of making a mistake while laying tile can be quite intimidating since fixing ones mistake is not as easy as painting over it. Usually the only way to correct tilling errors is with a chisel and a big hammer which is not how any of us want to spend our time. This outline of how to install tile will help break the process down into manageable steps towards a successful tile project.
Prepare The Underlayment:
Any loose nails or screws must be secured at this time as well as any loose boards or squeaks should be remedied now. The backerboard is next to be installed using screws recommended by the backerboard company. Any joints in the backerboard should be filled with thinset and covered with nylon joint tape made for this purpose. Properly installed backerboard will give the tile a flat rigid surface to adhere to. Without this stable surface, the tile may crack or not lay level.
I start by finding the center of the room and snap a chalk line on that mark. I then snap a line perpendicular to the first line. From there I begin to lay tiles from the center line to the wall, unless you have been blessed by the tile gods, the last tile will result in a cut. This is where you will need to decide if a cut tile in that area is acceptable, if it is not then adjust the layout to what is appealing to your eye. Remember, any changes you make to one side will affect the other. Each room is different, so there is no one right answer. Just pick a layout that is the most appealing to the eye. Make reference marks for the first two courses so the tile can then be set back in those places.
Setting The Tile:
Mix the thinset according to the manufacturer's instructions. Spread the thinset with a notched trowel in small controlled areas and begin to set your tiles (from the known point on the floor which you marked earlier during the layout). Once you set a tile in place, give it a slight twist or tap to ensure the thinset is in full contact with the tile. Don't forget to use spacers to maintain consistent grout joints between tiles.
Mix the grout according to the manufacturer's instructions. Work the grout into the joints with a grout float. Once this has been accomplished, it is time to scrape the excess off the tile. This is done by pulling the float at a 45 degree angle to the joints while keeping the float at a 45 degree angle to the floor. If I were to pull the float in the direction of the joints, I would risk removing grout from that joint. Once the excess grout is removed, it is time to clean the tile with a sponge and plenty of clean water. It will be necessary to clean the tile at least a couple of times with the sponge and clean water. If a haze develops on the tile after cleaning, use a clean towel and buff the surface until haze is removed. After a week has passed, it is time to apply a sealer to the grout.
I hope this has helped in your general knowledge of how to install tile. I would suggest, if you are going to lay tile on your own, that you get detailed video training. I found it extremely useful to see a tile contractor's technique in action.
How to Install Tile - Great Video Instruction
I felt it was important to talk about the steps one should take when learning how to install tile. I know that for myself, I need a step by step list or I would find myself mixing thinset before I have even thought about the layout. As I said before, I found video instruction extremely useful for my tile education. When I decided to learn how to lay tile, I had no idea how many different books there are on the subject. However, no matter how much I read about spreading thinset, I never really felt comfortable diving into the project. All I could think of was, "If I screw this up, it will take hours with a chisel and hammer to tear it out." Though, my biggest fear was that if it turned out bad, my wife would have a contractor there in no time to fix the disaster. That was not an option.
What I found was a collection of 11 videos made by an experienced tile setter. The video quality isn't perfect, but the instruction was what I needed to move forward with my project. Once I was confident about how to install tile, I completed our new tile entry without any problems. I thought, I need to tell everyone about these videos!
The video below is some excerpts from his collection of instructional videos. I hope you find my ramblings useful and good luck with your project.