How to Lay Ceramic Tile

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How to lay ceramic tile? This question comes ofter when we are building our house and we want to lay the tiles by ourselves. Actually, we do not need to ask somebody else to lay the tiles. We can do it by ourselves.

How to lay ceramic tile ?


Prepare all of the tools, like :
Tape measure
Speed square
Notched trowel
Rubber float
Grout sponge
Tile spacers
Power drill
Mixing paddle
5-gallon buckets
Safety glasses and earplugs
Scoring cutter or wet saw
Handsaw or jamb saw

How to Lay Ceramic Tile - Tools


Then after the tools are ready, you have to prepare for the materials. They are :
Thin-set mortar
Cement backer board
Cement board screws

How to Lay Ceramic Tile - Ceramics

Measuring the Floor

Measure your floor carefully and calculate the number of square feet needed.

For square or rectangular rooms, multiply the length of the room by the width, rounding all measurements up to the nearest foot.
Divide odd shaped rooms into square or rectangular sections. Calculate the square footage for each section and add them together.

How to Lay Ceramic Tile - Measuring Floor

Purchasing The Tile

Tile comes in a wide variety of sizes, styles, and colors. Keep these points in mind when deciding on your tile:

If this is your first tile project, keep the layout and pattern simple.
Large tiles work well in a big area but can dominate smaller rooms.
Consider tiles with a rough or textured finish, since glossy surfaces can be slippery when wet.
Buy 10% – 15% more tile than needed to account for breakage, mistakes, and future replacement.

Surface Preparation

Start by removing the existing flooring. Scrape off any residual adhesives or mortar, and clean the floor thoroughly.

Check to see that the subfloor is flat and level. Fill any low spots and cracks in a concrete subfloor with concrete patching compound.

For wood framing, make sure the subfloor is dry, rigid, and securely attached to the joists.

Never apply tile directly to plywood or a wood subfloor. Instead, cover the subfloor with cement backer board, using corrosion resistant screws that are countersunk flush with the surface of the backer board.

Trim the bottom of the door jambs so the tile will fit under them using either a handsaw or jamb saw (available to rent at tool rental centers).


Consider how the tile can best be laid out to maximize aesthetic appeal and minimize cutting. The tile can either be centered on the floor, or full tiles can be used along the most visible walls. When laying out the floor:

Check square: Measure the length of each wall, and the diagonals from corner to corner. The room is square if opposite walls are the same length and the diagonals match.
Establish Guidelines: Pop chalk lines on the floor parallel to the walls to act as guides for laying the tile.

Laying Tile

Mix up thin-set mortar in a 5-gallon bucket using a mixing paddle chucked into a low speed drill. Follow the instructions, being sure to use the correct ratio of water to mortar mix.

Make up only as much mortar mix as can be worked in 15-20 minutes. Keep a bucket of clean water and a sponge handy to wipe off any excess before it sets and to clean tools.

Use a notched trowel to spread the mortar evenly on a small area where you will start laying the tile. Position the tile in the mortar along the guidelines and press into place.

Following the guidelines, position the next tile, using plastic spacers to keep the joints uniform.

Check the alignment of the tiles as you go along to be sure they are both level and straight.

When laying tile, work from the subfloor to avoid putting weight on the new tile, and allow it to set for 24 hours before walking on it. Work backward toward a doorway to keep from working yourself into a corner.

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How to Lay Ceramic Tile - laying tiles

Cutting Tile

Once the full tiles are laid and safe to walk on, the next step is to cut and fit the partial border tile along the walls.

To do this, measure the distance to the wall, minus the width of the grout line, and mark each tile.

A scoring cutter can be used to make straight cuts that extend all the way across a tile.

Another option for cutting tile is a wet saw equipped with a diamond tipped blade, which can make both through and partial straight cuts.

Both types of tile cutting tools can be rented at tool rental outlets. Be sure to wear eye and ear protection when working with power tools.

Tile nippers can be used to make curved cuts by breaking small amounts off at a time. You can also make several parallel cuts with a wet saw, then break off the excess and fine-tune the cut with nippers.

A handheld grinder with a diamond blade can also make curved cuts. Using a dry grinder on tile produces a lot of dust, so work outside or in a well ventilated area and wear a mask or respirator. A small, handheld wet saw also works well and doesn’t generate dust.

Once the border tiles have been cut to size, apply thin-set to the subfloor. A small, notched margin trowel comes in handy when working in tight places.

How to Lay Ceramic Tile - cutting tiles

Finishing Wall Edges

When fitting border tile next to a wall, leave a small gap that is covered with baseboard or quarter round molding. Another option is to install tile 4” up the wall using thin-set or construction adhesive. Be sure to line up the joints in the baseboard tile with the floor for a continuous look.

Applying Grout

After the tiles are laid and the mortar has set, the joints are filled with grout. Unsanded grout may be used on joints less than 1/8” while larger joints require sanded grout. Clean the joints to remove any dust and debris before filling.

Mix the grout with the recommended amount of water in a 5-gallon bucket using a mixing paddle and power drill. Allow it to sit for 5-10 minutes then stir again. Apply the grout with a rubber float, dragging it across joints at a 45 angle.

Allow the grout to set up for a few minutes, then wipe off any excess using a sponge and bucket of clean water, working at an angle to the tiles. Wring the sponge out frequently and keep the water clean.

How to Lay Ceramic Tile - apply grout on tiles

Sealing Grout

Once the grout has hardened for the recommended time, apply sealer to the joints using an applicator bottle or foam brush.

We hope that this information is worth to read. The steps presented above is base on am article in www[dot]todayshomeowner[dot]com. You can find many good articles about building a home there.

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