Ceramic floor tile are elegant and stylish flooring that can come in virtually any color and is tough and durable. Ceramic floor tile can be installed in most any room although they are most commonly used in kitchens and bathrooms. Ceramic floor tiles can be installed on both floors and walls as well as inside and out and comes in all shapes sizes and colors, be it glazed or unglazed. Glazed ceramic floor tile gives a wider choice of colours and designs, while unglazed ceramic floor tile give more durability and provides a slip resistant floor. Ceramic floor tile are also very easy to maintain through mopping (with damp not wet mop), sweeping or vacuuming.
Materials needed for installing a ceramic tile floor are ceramic tiles, tape measure, pencil, chalk line and square (to outline layout), sander, floor filler, tile adhesive, notched trowel, tile spacers, level, rubber mallet, grout, rubber float, bucket with water, sponges and sealers, tile cutter, glass cutter, and nippers. You will also need transition strips or moulding to finish the installation. For safety reasons use work gloves and safety glasses.
Installing Ceramic Floor Tile – Underlayment
An underlayment typically consists of ¾ to 1 ¼ inch of plywood. Leave a slight gap between panels and about ¼ inch along the edges to allow for slight expansion and contraction. Tiling over solid Linoleum or existing ceramic floor tile is also feasible. Ring nails or 6 inch screws must be applied on center over the entire area if tiling over Linoleum. When tiling over concrete, ensure that the floor is level and free of dust and debris prior to installation with leveling compounds and allow for at least 28 days to cure. It is recommended that polyethylene plastic is stapled on top of the sub-floor before installing the underlayment to ensure protection from water penetrating down to the sub-floor.
An optional cement backer board can also be used to provide solid underlayment so ensure the tiles do not break or crack. Use a drill and galvanised screw to secure cement board to the sub-floor and tape the seams with a cement board seam tape.
Installing Ceramic Floor Tile – Layout
Prepare the floor by leveling it and secure a cement board with galvanized screw to provide a steady base so that tile won’t bent or crack. Seams are closed with cement board tape. Mark and snap a chalk line the centre of two opposing walls and then another perpendicular to that line. Check to make sure middle section is square.
Place lose tile along the each reference tile with tile spacers for accurate fitting. Remember to leave 1/4 inch between the last tile and the wall for expansion. If the dry lay out leave less than a half of a tile at the end of one wall, adjust the reference line so that there are of equal tiles on each side. Remove the dry layout. Mark the area with smaller grids if the area is large as it is more accurate to work in smaller section.
Laying the Tiles
Spread adhesive at the centre of the work area with a trowel at a 45 degree angle. Use a metal strip to keep layout of tile aligned. Set the tile into place with tile spacers between two tiles. Set the tile into place with tile spacers between two tiles. If the adhesive gets on the face of the tile, wipe it off with a damp sponge. Tap the tiles into place to even them out with a rubber mallet gently and check often with a level. Use the tile cutter to cut tiles into size to fit at the edge of the work area closest to the wall.
Once the tiles have been placed, let the adhesive dry over night. After letting it dry overnight grout the joints. Mix the grout according to manufacturer\’s instruction and apply the grout with a rubber grout float diagonally across the tile joints and remove as any excess grout from the tiles surface.
After 20 minutes, wipe the tile with a damp sponge until the grout is just below the tile surface. Wait another 60 minutes and repeat. If grout is left on the ceramic floor tiles to dry, you will have a great deal of elbow work scraping it off. Let the tiles dry for 72 hours
Wait 3 wks for the grout to cure then apply a sealer and then place any trim work or transition strips needed.