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Home Improvement Information - Best practices when installing tile floor for the DIY

DIY “Do it yourself” is the practice of repairing, renovating, or building something by oneself without using the direct help of a professional. MCC offers installation services and complimentary delivery. However, some of our clients like to do their own installation and request our assistance with prep tips for proper installation. We are happy to provide you assistance with tips installing any of the products we carry at MCC - Minneapolis Contractors Choice.

Not too long ago, homeowners faced challenges setting tiles because of mistakes due to not correctly tiling or prepping their flooring for tile. Popular mistakes made by DIY homeowners are the lack of proper equipment, incorrect layout, improper underlayment, faulty materials, or even worst, poor quality materials, and the list goes on…


The first step you need to do is prepare the floor for tiling. Here are tips that will help you in preparing your floor tile installation:


Tools and Materials. Consider all the tools and materials you need for each installation step.

Tools:

Chisel

A hand tile chisel is for removing tiles. It is ideal for clearing large quantities of tiles from walls and floors.

Floor Scraper

The tool has a sharp, flat blade to scrape off the excess adhesive, and the purpose is to make the surface under the tiles as smooth and free of debris as possible.

Trowel

It is for spreading or combing tile adhesive, an essential tool designed to allow air to escape when the tile is pressed into it.

Rubber Mallet

The function of this tool is to aid the proper laying and positioning of tiles during installation.

Utility Knife

A tool used for making curves and intricate cuts is not possible with straight cutting devices.

Tile Cutter

Tile cutters are for cutting tiles to the required size or shape. They come in several forms, from primary manual devices to complex attachments for power tools.

Buckets

It is used for mixing adhesives, grouts, and leveling compounds.

Sponges

Sponges are necessary to remove excess grout and clean any grout residue when grouting and cleaning tiles.

Tape

It firmly holds tiles until the installation.

Materials:

Waterproof Membrane Tape/Strips. A thin layer of material to prevent water from contacting another material. Waterproofing membranes may be adhesive or laid on top of the material they should protect.


Floor Tile. MCC - Minneapolis Contractors Choice has the country’s leading ceramic tile, porcelain tile & natural stone brands. Ceramic tile and porcelain tiles are the base of our tile selection; including subway tile, wood look tile and any other tile style. Please make an appointment to visit our showroom and one of our customer service professionals will help you with your tile selection.


Ceramic, mosaics, porcelain, quarry tiles are easy to install and have a broad range of patterns and colors. Offering a complete line of products for every space, from your kitchen and bathroom floor and walls, to the living room, and patio.


Tile is easy to maintain and is durable and an easy way to reflect your style. Tile surfaces can bring the beauty of nature to any space, adding color, texture and class in and out of your home. MCC - Minneapolis Contractors Choice can help you select the tile that is right for you.

Tile Spacers

Tile spacers are plastic objects made in T or crossed shapes placed between the tiles to maintain a constant and consistent spacing.

Unmodified Thinset Mortar

Unmodified Thin set Mortar consists of cement, finely graded sand, and water retention agents. It's mixed with water before it's ready to be spread out on the subfloor.

Step - by - Step Wall and Floor Tile Installation


Wall Tile Installation tips: Find the center point of the wall using a level. Make sure the surface is clean, free of wax, grease, soap scum. The surface should be smooth. If you have any damage areas, they must be repaired, leveled and patched, before installation. After you find the center point of the wall, draw a plumb line in the wall’s center. You should lay out a row of loose tiles on the bottom of the wall from the center line. Make sure you leave uniform joints between the tiles. MCC - Minneapolis Contractors Choice have integral spacer lungs you can purchase so tiles can be butted together leaving a consistent 1/16” joint.


If the layout leaves cuts smaller than ½ tile, adjust the centerline ½ tile closer to the side wall. Next, find the lowest point of the floor or tub. Use the level horizontally. Stack two tiles here and at the top of the tile draw a horizontal line on the wall. Use the level to continue a line in all the wall that will be tiled.

Floor Preparation and Installation Tips:


Here are tips to make the new floor installation process easier on you:

  • Remove furniture from the room before work starts.

  • Make sure to clean the room.

  • Remove any items on the walls. Otherwise, those precious items could fall due to vibrations from work taking place. Plus, they're likely to get very dusty.

  • Empty closets.

  • Use safety gear to avoid cuts and accidents.


Surface. It’s essential to ensure you have the suitable surface prepared before you think about beginning to tile. Next, make sure the floor’s surface is clean, dry, swept, or vacuumed and free of dust before installing your underlayment.


Floor Overview. Strive for a layout that maximizes the number of whole tiles and the size of any cut tiles. When awkwardly sized tiles can't be avoided, place them where vanities will cover them later or out of the main sightlines from the doorway. It would be best if you didn't step on any tiles until the thinset has cured for at least 24 hours. Save all of the cuts requiring a wet saw for last.


Dry Layout. Find the midpoint of each wall and snap chalk lines on the floor. The line crossing at the room's center is the tile's starting point. Lay a row of tiles along a straightedge more than halfway across the room. For consistent joints, use tile spacers. This row determines the size of cut tiles along the walls. Place a tile at the room's center where the chalk lines cross with its edges touching the lines. Measure from one wall to the nearest tile edge. Now, go to the tile row and, starting at a joint, measure along the row and mark the distance you just measured. The mark shows the width of the tile at the wall. If that measurement is less than 2 inches, go back to the center tile and move it away from wall A to create a more expansive cut tile. From the center tile, measure to the opposite wall, call it B, mark this distance along the tile row. Adjust the center tile along the A-to-B line until walls A and B are the same.

After adjusting the A-to-B line:

  1. Mark the center tile to touch the chalk line between the other walls, call them C and D. Align these marks with the C-to-D chalk line.

  2. Repeat the measuring and adjusting process for walls C and D. Lay a straightedge parallel to the C-to-D line and against one side of the center tile.

  3. Mark the straightedge where it meets a corner of the tile.

This mark is your starting point for laying tile. Trim door casings with a flush-cut saw so tile could slip underneath. Cut with a saw held flat against a tile on top of a piece of cardboard.


Spread thinset mortar. Use a mixer to blend the thinset with a latex additive until it is consistent, like mayonnaise. After the rst for about 10 minutes, using a trowel, start spreading a thin layer of thinset. Before the scratch coat dries, apply more thinset using the trowel's notched edge. Hold the trowel at a 45-degree angle to the floor, spread the thinset evenly in broad curved strokes, and finish with a straight pass, ensuring the best adhesion. Combining the thinset into furrows allows air to escape as the tile is set.

Best Ways To finish Installation of the tiles

Installers at MCC - Minneapolis Contractors Choice suggest waiting 24 hours before grouting. (Refer to the adhesive package and manufacturer instructions for specifics.)


Cleaning up the Grout. Allow the grout to set up for 20 or 30 minutes. It should be firm to the touch before you begin washing the tile's surface. Wipe away grout haze with a damp, well-squeezed sponge often rinsed in a bucket of clean water. Again, wait for the grout to mist over, then wipe with a clean sponge. Repeat until the tile is clean.


Sealing. In addition to protecting your tile grout, sealing can also enhance its appearance. It gives your installation a matte or shiny look and makes sure it endures for the long run.


Caulking. Caulk is used to create a solid and waterproof bond between joints, whether between tiles, walls, counters, bathrooms, or anywhere where you installed your tiles.


It has a lot of work, right? But, MCC - Minneapolis Contractors Choice will always find ways to guide you through upgrading your home safely and organized and we have all the professionals to help you in every step of the way!