TILE INSTALLATON

Q:  How difficult is it to install ceramic tile?

A:  When using the thin-set method in residential areas, it is rather simple. It is easier to install than wood or vinyl sheet goods, but slightly more difficult than vinyl tile. In fact, the subfloor preparation, layout and installation are very similar to vinyl tile. The only major different is grouting.

With proper planning and a little common sense, practically anyone can install ceramic tile using the thin-set method. 

STEPS OF INSTALLATION - The following information is a brief description of the various steps involved in using the thin-set method to install tile. It is not meant to be an instruction manual but rather a briefing to familiarize you with the basics.

1st Step:

Subfloor preparation – This is the most important step in accomplishing a satisfactory installation. The subfloor must meet the following requirements:

Structurally sound

  • Rigid
  • Smooth and flat
  • Free of waxy or oily films
  • Free of curing compounds

2nd Step:               

Floor layout – In this step, the room is squared off and measured. The chalk lines are then snapped. Once the chalk lines are in place, the installer will lay loose tile across the floor in both directions to balance the room so that the cut-lines are the same size on each wall.

3rd Step:                 

Preparing the tiles – Slight tone variations are to be expected from tile to tile. A good installer will prevent this from becoming a problem by mixing the tiles from several cartons before installing. By doing this, the tiles blend together and any possible shade variations will disappear.

4th Step:                  

Spreading the thin-set – Using the chalk lines as a guide, the installer will begin applying the thin-set on one section at a time. He will spread one coat using the flat side of the trowel and then immediately come back with a second coat, using the notched side of the trowel.

5th Step:                  

Laying the tiles – The tiles are then placed one at a time in the thin-set using a twisting and pressing motion while allowing appropriate spacing for the grout. A straight edge is used to align the tile.

6th Step:                  

Tamping – The tiles are then tamped in using a rubber mallet to assure good contact with the thin-set.

7th Step:                  

Grouting – The installer will generally begin grouting the following day. It is important to allow the thin-set enough time to set up before applying the grout. The grout applied over a small section at a time and is spread by means of a rubber float or squeegee. Rubbing the grout firmly over the surface will both push the grout into joints and clean off most of the excess.  After approximately ten minutes the surface of the tile is cleaned with a damp cheese cloth.