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DHTiling

How to Tile a Floor using Ceramic Floor Tiles


Measuring up for Floor Tiles

You will need a tape measure and a pen and paper for this, sometimes a square and other measuring tools may be required for more trickier shaped rooms. If you are measuring a square or rectangular room then you measure the length and width and multiply these two measurements (e.g: 2m length x 5m with = 10 square meters) but if you are measuring a different shape you may find yourself stuck. No two rooms ever are exactly the same even built by the leading professional builders as there are so many measurements that are required when building a house and so many materials used to create those lengths and widths in your room that can have too many variations in sizes naturally through manufacturing like the bricks or timber frames that create the walls for example.


‘L’ shaped floor
If your room is an ‘L’ shape then you can split the room in to two main areas and these areas often pretty much end up as rectangular shapes which can then individually be measured in length and width to give you two measurements. Adding these together will provide you with your square measurement.
Other floor shapes can also be split in to easier to manage shapes and then added together to give you the total room or floor size.


Preparing your Floor
You need to ensure you have your floor plan worked out. It’s not always necessary to draw your floor as the variation in tile size can sometimes throw you out but ensure you have around 10 to 15% extra tiles and you have room for slight movement. Ensure you always remove any doors that either open inwards or require adjustment to the door strip etc. Ensure you remove any door strips leading to other rooms around the home that will not take the tile as it is (maybe a different door strip type is required etc). You will obviously need to remove all of the furniture out of the room unless you plan to tile over a couple of days or more and then I have seen fridges, cookers, TVs etc moved from one side of the floor to the other as you tile around them and the floor tiles set. Ensure you have prepared the floor in regards to adhesion, sometimes tile adhesives require applications of other products to be carried out before you can start spreading tile adhesives (e.g: floor tile adhesive primer).


Choosing Tile Adhesive Type
Not all floor substrates are the same when it comes to choosing the products to use to ’stick’ the tile to the floor. For example, floor boards can be tiled directly over using certain flexible adhesive types but if you wish to use less flexible adhesives you may be required to make the floor more rigid by screwing ply-wood to the floor boards firstly. Wood often will need priming although some tile adhesives already have a certain amount of primer in them and may not need it. It’s perhaps wise to say you’ll need to check with the adhesive supplier/ tile shop person to ensure you are buying the correct adhesive for your floor. Other variations in adhesive types may be because of the tile type itself. Porcelain tiles are so compressed that water can almost not soak in to the back of them as the adhesive is curing so these may need to use special porcelain adhesives that can actually stick to the tile and doesn’t need to soak in to it like it can on a ceramic tile which often uses a clay mixture as the backing.


Laying the First Tile
Before you lay the first tile you pretty much need to know where every tile is going to end up before you start. Throughout even a really simple square room with a couple of doors in it there will be a great amount of options of where the tiles will be laid. Maybe the room is 9 and a quarter tiles in width and length so rather than having a quarter of a tile around a width and length (two sides) of the room you opt to have 8 tiles set with equal gaps either side of the room for cuts that would work out around 3 quarters of a tile which would look more attractive due to the symmetry and the fact that there are no small cuts around the room. Obviously working this out can take some time as you will have many other obstacles in your way. A tool you could use to help you plan a complex shaped room is called a gauging staff or gauge staff/stick.
In simple terms, you need to imagine the floor already tiled or as a grid and then in your mind (this is sometimes where having a plan on paper can help) you can move the floor around and ensure you have reasonable sized cuts where every tile may meet another surface or wall. Maybe dry-lay (just pop tiles down on the floor next to each other as if you were tiling but without adhesive so you can pick them back up again afterwards) a row or two in different directions to find out where exactly each tile will finish.
Things to remember include using spacers in your measurements or on your gauging rod to ensure accuracy. Spacers ensure there is a gap around each tile. You may also need to plan for other tile sizes if you have a pattern using more than one tile which can sometimes be time consuming.
Once you are happy and you know where a row of tiles is going to end up in theory it doesn’t matter where you start as each tile has it’s own place on your floor. So you want to start laying the tiles in stretches using about an arms length of tile amount (maybe around 1m / 3′) at a time in width and work either towards you or work moving to the side progressing in straight lines. You will need to ensure you are using a combination of straight edges and a square to ensure you are staying within the plan you have set for your floor.
Spread tile adhesive from your square to around 1 meter away and then depending on where you are kneeling spread it also in the other direction about 1 meter. This should give you a patch of adhesive on the floor that’s 1 x 1m (or 1 square meter) and then using your spacers and tiles start laying. The method in which you use to lay each individual tile is one that will enable 100% coverage of adhesive on the back of the tile and will not trap any air behind the tile meaning you get ‘dead spots’ (areas which are not fixed that can cause cracking and splitting in the future).
Work your way in lengths and widths around your room putting the cuts in as you go in approx 1 square meter patches always cleaning any access adhesive off the floor in areas you are coming back to later and you will soon be done.


Floor Tile Grouting
Grout is available in a range of colours. For floor tiles the grout often contains slightly more coarse sand (which is used as the filler) than wall tiles as the spacer gap can be bigger. Follow the instructions on the bag in regards to mixing and then using a gauging trowel fetch bits out of the bucket and with a grout squeegee or a grout float start spreading the tile grout over the edge of the tiles filling the space in between them. Similar to when laying the tiles you don’t want to do too much spreading of the grout before washing the surface of the tiles as the product could start setting on the surface so ensure you work to small areas at a time. Once you have spread the grout over a whole area then scrape off the surface of the tile any access grout using your float or squeegee and then using a damp sponge and a clean bucket of water wash off the tile surface and grout joint leaving a clean finish. You may need to wash out the sponge a few times during the process to keep the floor as clean as possible. The grout joint should be slightly convex and not standing proud of the tile. Once you’ve done the whole floor change the bucket of after and quickly go over it again. Any air bubbles that might have appeared fill will more grout and then wash off again.


Cutting Floor Tiles
Ceramic and some other types of tiles can be cut in length or width or on angles with a straight tile cutter or ‘dry cutter’ as they are sometimes called. You’ll need to use a pencil and tape measure to mark the cut shape on to the actual tile remembering to allow for the spacer gap and then carefully scribe the tile surface and then use the snapping device on the cutter to break the tile along the scribe. Although there are other methods of cutting tiles often if it isn’t able to cut them on a dry cutter then you would use a wet disc cutter often diamond tipped. these are just like you would imagine, it’s a disc spinning on a machine that keeps the tip cool by running it through water under the tile bed. You lay the tile on to the tile bed and then slowly feed it in to the blade cutting along straight lines. If accurate enough sometimes you can do small curves and things which help you get around various shaped obstacles. Tile nipper may be required to chip and pick at the edge of the cut tile to finish off any shape other than those using straight edges. Rub down with a hard rubbing block to create a safe smooth edge and then check the tile before bedding it in any adhesive.

Floor Tiling Tools
We’ll list most common tools here but sometimes for various reasons other special tools may be required.
  • tape measure
  • pencil & tile marking tool
  • tile nippers
  • tile cutter for straight cuts
  • maybe a diamond wheel disc cutter
  • sponge & bucket or two
  • correct adhesive trowel (tile dependent, consult tile retailer)
  • gauging trowel
  • grout float or squeegee
  • square
  • straight edge or straight metal edging of some type x 2
  • spacers
  • rubbing block
  • maybe knee pads
Floor Tiling Courses
There are a huge amount of tiling courses Tiling Courses - Wall and Floor Tiling Course - Tiling NVQ - Tiling Courses & Tiling Course Companies available these days that not only offer courses for professional tradesmen, they also offer courses for DIYers . Some courses are as long as a couple of weeks but there are a few companies providing short courses .

.dave.
 
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Dan

Dan

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LOL - I wrote that on the 18th November 2005. DIY & Home Improvements » Blog Archive » Tiling a Floor using Ceramic Tiles

I never completed it, I was looking for more people to input and I was going to update it with each additional method. Oh well. :)
 
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D

DHTiling

good read tho isnt it dan mate,,surprising what i can find when flickin about....
 
Dan

Dan

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Re-posted it on the Tiling News website I think too though like. Yeah mate you don't half dig lol.
 
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GazTech

Re-posted it on the Tiling News website I think too though like. Yeah mate you don't half dig lol.
dh's dad must have been a coal miner.........man can he dig...lol
 
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a1tiler

i think all the pages that you are posting with these great tips, should be made into an e-book i personally find them a great help.
 

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