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How To Install Ceramic Tile:Five Easy Steps

Mar 14, 2008
Step One: Get to know your tools.

Knowing how to install ceramic tile flooring starts with gathering the right kinds of tools and equipment for the project. You can buy most of the tools you'll need for working on your floor tiling at your local hardware store or home center. For equipment that might be too expensive to purchase like a tile cutter, or hand held micro cutter, try your local home center or tool rental yard. They may have the tools you'll need at affordable rental prices, or even at discount. And if you're a newbie at tiling work, they may even help you with information. Here are most of the basic tools you will need for your tiling job:

a) Safety clothing and gear like a pair of safety glasses, heavy leather gloves, and long-sleeved work clothes. These are useful especially if your tiling work involves taking out the existing ceramic tiles. Broken shards and other debris from tearing out the ceramic tiles can cause nasty cuts.

b) Tools for carpentry like a tape measure, a carpenter's square and a bubble level will also be needed.

c) A tile cutter (which you can rent), some tile spacers, a putty knife, a trowel (preferably, the notched kind), and a rubber grout float.

d) Other things you will need are mortar material for bonding your tiles to your subfloor surface, like a thin set mortar, or tile adhesive, tiling grout and sealant.

Step Two: Prepare your subfloor before installing your tiles.

Most tiling jobs start at this stage. It would be a great experience for you to learn how to install ceramic tile by learning about the type of floors you will be putting your tiles on. Always check for cracks and debris when If you're working on a concrete subfloor. Make it is smooth and clean. Repair as many of the cracks as you can. If you see cracks that are too large to repair, replace the floor section where they are found with new concrete. For plywood subfloors, be sure that the wood is at least 1 and 1/8 inches thick and is supported by an equally strong underlayment. Otherwise, your ceramic tiles will dislodge easily, or worse, break and need replacing.

An existing ceramic tile floor may add another stage to your tiling job, and present something of a challenge for you. You'll need to tear out the existing tiles. For starters, all you need to do is use a large flat-bladed chisel and a mallet, and just hammer away. Then, you'll need to clean out the debris. If you to smoothen your subfloor -- you may want to rent a sander to do the job. Be sure to keep yourself protected. Use heavy-duty leather work gloves, safety glasses, and long-sleeved work clothes.

Step Three: Measure and lay out your floor. To know where to start and how to install ceramic tile on your subfloor, begin by measuring the length and width of your floor. This will help you estimate the number of ceramic floor tiles you will need to purchase. Then, find the center point of your floor area. You Measure across floor area and mark the center. Do this in opposite direction and mark the center, as well. The intersection of the two lines is the center of the floor area where you can start your tiling work. To help with your tiling, run chalk lines over the intersection lines. These chalk lines will help you with how to install ceramic tile and help you keep your tiling straight and organized.

Step Four: Start work on your ceramic tile installation

Your first tile should be placed at the intersection of the two lines you made. Then, bond it to your subfloor by using a thin set mortar, or a tile adhesive of your choice. Using a notched trowel for applying the mortar is best on how to install ceramic tile. But you may actually use the more common trowel variety is you don't have one. To secure the ceramic tile in its place, press down while twisting it back and forth till the tile no longer is set. If some of the mortar or adhesive oozes out, use your trowel (or a damp sponge) to scrape off the excess. Do this process over with the next tile, and so on and so forth, until you've finished your ceramic floor tiling.

Step Five: Finish your tiling job by putting in the tiling grout and sealant

It's time to put the tiling grout in once the tiles have settled. Tiling grout is a material that you should know more about when you want to know how to install ceramic tile flooring. Grout is tiling material made cement, sand and water, and a little color. It is used to fill in gaps and seal in the spaces between tiles. Tiling grout comes in a wide variety of color tints that may be matched to your tile color. Use a rubber grout float and work the tiling grout into the gaps between the tiles. Use your grout float at an angle so that you can fill in the joint gap with as much tiling grout as possible.

When you're done with applying grout in between tile gaps, use a damp sponge to wipe off the excess grout. Rinse the sponge frequently to get as much of the excess grout off, and keep each tile clean. You have the option of applying a sealant to the grout lines after they dry.

Make sure you allow some time for the grout to dry before you apply the sealant. These setting periods last overnight, at the very least, to twenty-four hours, at the most. Your sealant has dried, you are done! Congratulations! Now, you know how to install ceramic tile flooring.
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