If you are interested in redoing your floors, you have an incredible number of options available. Tile flooring, laminate flooring, carpet and hardwood are four options, within which there are many variations in shape, color, size, and cost. For the do it yourselfer, tile flooring presents an opportunity to forego expensive contractors and install the flooring yourself. Tile is a much more contemporary flooring option than laminate and carpet, so if you want a modern look, or are thinking of doing other renovations or updates to your home, tile flooring is definitely the way to go.
Tile flooring is also extremely easy to clean. Unlike carpet, which stains easily, tile floors can be cleaned with a mop with soapy water, or swept clean with a broom. This makes tile flooring ideal for families with (or expecting) children, households which entertain a lot of guests, or individuals who consume a lot of wine and spaghetti.
Do It Yourself Tile Flooring Installation
It is perfectly possible to tile your own floors with ceramic tiles, provided that you start by taking much time and trouble over measuring and marking the floor.
Make sure your floor is completely level. This is not usually a problem with concrete floors but a suspended wooden floor should not be tiled unless it is possible to replace it with a plywood floor
Measure two opposite walls to find their centres. You need to mark a line across the floor between these two points. Chalk a length of string with builder's or roofer's chalk, attach its ends to each centre point and "snap" it so that there is a straight chalk line across the floor. Taking this line as your centre, lay a single row of loose tiles from this line to one wall - WALL A. Use a carpenter's set square to make sure that this line of tiles is at right angles to the chalk line. You want to have a gap between the last tile and the wall of half a tile width. If the margin, the gap, is less than this, move the centre line sideways.
You then need to mark a second line which crosses the centre of the first line at right angles, so that you have divided your floor into four equal quarters. In the same way as you did before, lay a line of tiles at right angles to one side of this line, check that you have half a tile's width at the margin between the tiles and the wall, WALL B, and adjust the line if you haven't.
Before you go any further, look for your exit route! It should be on one of the other two walls, so that you can tile along Walls A and B and still be able to get out of the room!
Now place a couple of battens at right angles to each other on the floor along the two walls A and B so that they are in line with the last row of whole tiles on each wall. Dry lay a square of tiles in the corner, against the battens, to check that you have done this correctly.
Start tiling! Spread enough tile adhesive (use the ready-mixed waterproof type) using an adhesive, notched, trowel (they usually come with the adhesive) to cover a square metre in the corner between the two battens. It needs to be thick enough to fully cover the floor underneath and to allow the tiles to bed down into it. Starting in the corner, press your first tile down into the adhesive. Put plastic tile spacers at each corner â€“ these need to be the larger floor spacers, not wall-tile spacers. Continue to lay the tiles, making sure that the spacers keep them slightly apart, until you have completed the first square. Use a spirit level to check that they have all bedded down to the same depth. The adhesive is still wet and you can make any adjustments necessary.
Scrape off any adhesive that has crept up the battens and wipe the surface of the tiles with a damp sponge to remove any adhesive that has squeezed up between them. Continue to lay tiles along the two battens, laying a square metre at a time. You will then be ready to complete the rest of the floor â€“ you do not need to place battens on the other two walls since you are lining up to the tiles already laid.
The tiles will need at least 24 hours to dry before you can walk on them to complete the tiling round the margins. Better if you can leave it longer.
You will need to cut tiles for the margins. This can be done with an angle grinder, using a ceramic disc, but it is much better to use a proper heavy duty tile cutter, which works with a guillotine mechanism. Finish the floor by laying the margin tiles.
The final stage is to grout between the tiles â€“ that is, to fill in the spaces. For this you can either use tile adhesive or you can apply coloured grout, in a wide varieties of colour. Spread the grout over the spaces with a rubber spreader, press it down into the space with a plastic or wooden grouting tool. Wipe off the excess grout. Clean the tiles with a damp sponge and once the grout is dry polish the tiles. If an ordinary cloth or floor-polisher will not do this, use a buffing attachment on an electric drill.
Where Can I Buy Floor Tiles?
Floor tiles can be bought at your local hardware store or online. Local stores have the advantage of expert in-store advice, looking at the patterns under realistic lighting conditions, and generally, a wide variety of options. Most of these stores will even let you bring a couple of your potential candidates home to compare against the color and furniture scheme of your home.
You can also choose to do your shopping online; Stores such as Amazon.com and Overstock.com sell floor tiles at reasonable prices, but you will have to wait for shipping and won't be able to see if your choice is the perfect fit until it arrives at your home. On the flip side, you might be able to get a bargain from one of these retailers - but a good do it yourselfer knows how to do their research.