There is nothing like fulfilling a job well done in installing floor tiles. Fold your arms and pose like a superhero, then pat yourself on the back with that in mind. You will do all of that while standing on your new floor tiles. But while laying your floor tiles can be a beautiful and satisfying project for the DIYers to attempt, it is filled with areas for many potential mistakes.
This article will walk through the critical steps, including essential tools and pitfalls to look out for when installing your floor tiles, as you take a run at prepping, tiling, and grouting.
Part one will cover the most critical and often overlooked step, proper preparation. Tiling relies heavily on adequate surface and substrate preparation like many mini home improvement projects. Saying it is crucial would be an understatement, and that is why it gets its particular part of this series. In the coming write-up, we will go through the meat of how actually to lay your floor tiles and grout them.
So let’s look at what you will need to start preparing your ground surface for floor tile installation, including all the essential tools and some other things to watch out for when attempting this elementary stage of the project.
Tools Needed for Floor Tiles Preparation
Here’s a rundown of tools you will need to prep your floor and create adequate space for floor tile installation:
- Safety & Comfort
These are goggles or Safety Glasses and Knee Pads;
- For Prepping a Plywood Subfloor
1/4″ Cement Board, Backerboard Screws, Saw, and Crack-Prevention Membrane.
- Squaring Room
Tape Measure, Chalk Line, Carpenter’s Square, and Hairspray (optional)
Steps To Successful Prep your Floor for Floor Tile Installation
Remember, these basic steps apply to all floor tiles: kitchen floor tiles, bathroom floor tiles, mosaic floor tiles, stone, ceramic floor tiles, porcelain floor tiles, and more. In short, if you’re starting with tiling, floor tiles would be a much better place to begin than a backsplash, as installing tile on a wall would require even more skill due to the vertical nature of walls tangent with the effect of gravity.
No step-by-step guide is 100 percent exhaustive. And, every project is quite different. In your home, you will encounter something not mentioned in this guide or any other tile tutorial you find elsewhere. But, if you follow these steps, generally, you will find success in your project. Click here for more types of flooring.
So, let’s go into details.
Step 1: Prep the Subfloor
If there is one step that is the most important, it is this one. This one is a very crucial fact to note. First things first, what is a subfloor? It’s a catch-all term for the floor tiles underneath your finished flooring. Meanwhile, the two primary types of subfloor are wood and concrete. And both suffer from the same movement issue. Wood flexes with humidity and changes in temperature; concrete can shift depending on humidity, moisture, soil movement, and temperature.
Remove any staples and drive all screws or nails sticking up too far. You can install a cement backer board to set a good base for your tile and prevent any movement-related cracking of floor tiles or grout.
The backer board is screwed down to the wood subfloor using specific backer board screws and mortared down with adhesive plywood subfloor. Remember to tape carefully and mortar all the joints between the pieces of the backer board. The crack prevention membrane is spread down on the surfaces. This membrane acts as a waterproofing substance and is an addition in a wet area, a second floor, or a plywood floor application. A notched trowel spreads the mortar at a 45-degree angle to the plywood subfloor.
For concrete subfloors, you need to remove any old adhesive and patch/fill any cracks with the appropriate product. The patch item varies based on the size of the holes you want to fill. Use a good floor scraper to remove any debris. That may require some elbow grease and possibly a grinder to withdraw from the subfloor and let the new mortar bond for old adhesives. You can install your floor tiles directly onto a concrete subfloor.
Whether wooden or concrete, it is vital that you make your subfloor clean and debris-free.
Step 2: Determine where you will start and Practice Lay Pattern
Laying out your floor tile pattern, planning for furniture, cabinets, and the likes in advance is critical to minimizing waste and making the job go as smoothly as possible.
There are several patterns to choose from, though some work better with specific tile shapes and sizes. Recently, herringbone, brick bond, and basket-weave/parquet have been very popular. You should determine this before selecting your floor tiles. Still, a linear or grid pattern is timeless and easy to install if you use traditional square floor tiles. These floor tiles are laid next to each other in the way you envision your mind as you read this. Yes, that one.
Determine your starting point in the room. Typically, you will want whole floor tiles in your room’s visible or focal points and cut the tiles against cabinets or less visible parts of the room. Measure your room space to determine the center, and snap some chalk lines on the ground to guide your installation. Make sure you leave equal space at both sides, so you do not tile up to one part with a full tile and have a cut tile on the other. Every space is unique, so take time to plan accordingly. The goal is to lay many full-field floor tiles down and leave the custom-cuts for around obstacles and against the outside wall areas.
Things can worsen if you don’t properly prepare your floor before playing with your floor tiles. Since proper preparation prevents poor performance, It is essential that you first take care of your subfloor, ensuring you lay it smoothly. It is also crucial to check out the slope of your floor. Your floor preparation determines the overall result of your tiling project. Adhering to the tips will give you perfect flooring. Also checkout: What You Should Know Before Buying Bathroom Tapware