10/2/10

How To Install Ceramic Tile


Knowing how to lay ceramic tile is not too difficult, but if you've never done it before and aren't very handy to begin with you might be better off with a professional. Having said that many homeowners have attempted their own remodeling, but the fact remains

that there are some projects, such as installing ceramic tile floors and even painting that are tackled by the homeowner.

When installing ceramic tile for the first time, make sure you do your homework. So why would you install ceramic tile floor? Most people believe, and rightfully so, that installing ceramic wall tiles and flooring is an attractive and hard wearing surface ideally suited to an installation in bathrooms and kitchens.

Some homeowners lay their ceramic tiles in areas other than wet areas like family rooms and dining rooms. These installations tend to be found in parts of the world that typically have long hot summers and mild winters, or humid tropical climates. The benefit is having a cool, hard wearing and easy to clean surface.

Patience and resilience are prerequisites on how to lay tile, having the correct tools for the job is a must. Preparation is the key. If you are installing ceramic wall tile start with the walls first if you are have a project that involves both wall tiling and floor. Floor tiles are typically thicker than wall tile as they do not require the thickness needed for impact resistance that floor tiles require.


Gather your tools, do a check to see if they are all there. Grout, measuring tape, spongese, adhesive, markers or pencils, glass cutters, tile spacers, rubber mallet, steel square, trowel and buckets are some of the tools you will need.

Pre installation floor and wall preparation is key to a successful install. All old flooring and wall paints must be removed, thorough cleaning of the surfaces and any undulating surfaces need to be leveled off first. Some flooring may require special underlay material which creates a solid secure surface for the tiles to adhere to without the risk of surface movement creating cracks at later date.
Concrete floors tend to provide a surface which is stable to lay on, but if the concrete is new as in a new home, the concrete may settle over time creating splits and therefore cracking the tiles that were laid on top of it. There is not much the installer can do to prevent this from occuring unless the installer lays a cement fiber board underlay which of course increases the installation cost. in wet areas it is important to install this cement fiber board first for moisture and movement correction.

One of the ways the homeowner can express themselves is by being creative in the design of the tile layout. Many patterns are available which can enhance the overall effect of the wall and flooring. Dull boring designs can ruin a possibly beautiful installation, so some thought before starting will pay dividends for years to come.

Dry laying a section of tiles before applying adhesive can help in deciding how the design will be installed. You will get a much better idea of how it will look and feel before commiting to final laying. It is much better to do this now than after adhesive has been applied. It can also give the installer an idea as to how many half tiles will be needed and can reveal some difficult cuts that may be required.

Installing Ceramic Tile

This is where the tires hit the road. No amount of preparation can help an installer who does not get this right. The skill required to lay ceramic tile is understated, having the right knowledge can make an installation look and feel 100% better than an installation by someone who did not do their homework prior to commencement.

Cutting and fitting tiles is one area most homeowners need instruction on how to best trim and cut those tiles. It can take some skill to get the right cut to fit around those protrusions like bathroom pipes and electrical fittings. This is one area that screams of a poor installation if not done properly. The right tools for the job here really do make a difference. Tile cutters and glass cutters are a must, further tools if required could include an electric wet saw but these tend to be only used by professional tile installers or on large projects.

After installing a few rows of tiles, set them into the adhesive with the tile leveler and a mallet. After setting all the whole tiles across the room, start to cut tiles to fit around the perimeter of the room. Tiles can be snapped by hand or with tile nippers, tile cutters or using a wet saw.

The grouting of the laid surface is a somewhat pleasurable experience as it signifies the impending completion of the project. After applying the grout clean the surface with a damp sponge. Finish seams with some silicone sealant in appropriate areas smoothing the sealant with a wet finger.
Allow all work surfaces time to cure and set, a week is normally enough time to consider it ready for full human encroachment. Stand back and observe a job well done. Of course, all the above is just barely a fraction of what information a homemaker will need to ensure an impressive installation. Reading up and gathering detailed instruction on ceramic tile installation beforehand will be the prerequisite of a wise and successful project.

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