Are you interested in learning how to lay ceramic tiles yourself? This can give you satisfaction and pride in your own home. Ceramic tiles look especially nice in kitchens, where they add warmth to your kitchen décor. Professionals charge quite a bit for this service, whereas you can easily do it yourself if you are willing to learn. And if you find you really enjoy laying floor tiles, you might find yourself with a lucrative new career.
When laying ceramic tiles, safety is the most important concern. Never install floor tiles without wearing protective gear. You need safety goggles, leather gloves, and a long sleeved shirt. This is especially important if you are planning on removing old tiles, as you can seriously cut yourself on broken pieces.
You will need a fair number of tools in order to install ceramic tiles. You probably already own many of these tools, such as tape measures, carpenter’s squares, and bubble levels. You may have to buy or rent a tile cutter, and you will have to purchase tiling grout, sealant, and any other small tools you don’t own such as a notched trowel or a putty knife.
If you have never laid ceramic tiles before, you may not know where to begin. If there is already tiling on your floor, obviously you have to remove it. Put on your protective gear and use a flat-bladed chisel to break up the old tiles. When you are finished, make sure to clean up and dispose of all the debris.
Next, check your sub-flooring (the material exposed by removing the tiles). Concrete subfloors may contain cracks. If so, repair the cracks as best as you can. If a crack is too large or otherwise unrepairable, you will have to replace the concrete in that section of the floor. Plywood subfloors should be at least 1 and 1/8 inches thick in all places. If your sub-flooring is not prepared properly, your tiles will dislodge or break, so don’t rush through this step.
Now it’s time to measure your floor and start laying tile. Measure across the room and mark the center. Do the same thing in the other direction. Mark both measurements using chalk. This shows you where to lay your tile.
Your first tile is going to go in the center of the floor. Put it down and make sure it is exactly where you want it. Then, using a notched trowel, put tile adhesive or mortar onto the back of the tile. Attach it to the floor by pushing it down firmly and twisting until it no longer moves. If excess adhesive oozes out of the tile, use a damp sponge to clean it up.
Once you have placed all your tiles, all that’s left is to grout and seal the floor. There will be small gaps between your tiles; pour grout, or man-made cement, into these spaces, using a rubber grout float. Once it dries, put sealant over the grout, and your floor is done.