Ceramic Tile Installation
What you'll need are the proper instructions--and a little patience.
Below are the steps involved. It's not meant to be an instruction manual, but it can familiarize you with the basics and help you decide if it's a job you'd like to tackle.
1. Subfloor Preparation
This is the most important step in accomplishing a satisfactory installation. The subfloor must be structurally sound, rigid, smooth, flat, and free of curing compounds and waxy or oily films. Depending on your existing subfloor, you may need to lay a cement backer board before installing your tile.
2. Floor Layout
In this step, the room is squared off and measured. You'll want to use a chalk-line device to determine where you'll start laying the tile.
3. Preparing the Tiles
Slight tone variations are to be expected from tile to tile. You can prevent this from being a problem by mixing the tiles from several cartons before installation. This blends the tiles together, and any shade variations add to the character of the flooring.
4. Spreading Thinset
Using chalk lines as a guide, you will begin applying the thinset. Spread one coat using the flat side of the trowel and then immediately come back with second coat, using the notched side of the trowel.
5. Laying the Tiles
The tiles are then placed one at a time in the thinset by twisting and pressing while allowing appropriate spacing for the grout. A straight edge or spacers may be used to align the tile.
It is important to allow the thinset enough time to set before applying the grout, so you generally begin grouting the following day. The grout is applied over one small section at a time and is spread by means of a rubber float or a squeegee. Pulling the grout firmly over the flooring surface will both push the grout into the joints and clean off most of the excess grout. Then the tile is rinsed using a damp sponge though very little water is applied.
Are you ready to install ceramic tile yourself?
After considering the steps involved, you can probably decide if this is a do-it-yourself job you'd like to undertake. If so, download NST's complete installation manual. The document you'll receive includes...
* a list of installation tools
* an estimated timetable
* information on suitable subfloors
* special preparation requirements
To download the PDF file on Ceramic Installation, click here.
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