The installation process for tile flooring is not complicated. In fact, it's a surprisingly manageable DIY project that just about anyone can do with the right tools and know-how. To help you get started on your next home renovation project, we've put together this comprehensive guide to installing tile flooring at home."
- Saw to cut materials (handsaw, table saw or circular saw)
- Hammer for tapping in nails, stapler gun with staples appropriate for the substrate type being installed. For example - galvanized roofing nails on metal framing; a flooring nailer will work on wood floor tiles.
- Trowel for spreading mortar or grout
- Level and straightedge, to level the flooring on both sides before it is installed
- Chalk line (optional) - if you want to install tile in a specific pattern as opposed to random laying tiles directly onto the subfloor
- Utility knife or scoring tool for cutting tiles
- Flat-head screwdriver or pry bar
- Tile - for installing tile, we recommend buying ceramic flooring rather than porcelain. Ceramic is more durable and less expensive to replace if a piece breaks in transit or during installation; you also won't have the issue of glazed surfaces that scratch easily
- Unsanded grout. Grouting is typically done with unsanded or sanded white cement-based mortar, but some tile types require a specific type of unsetter (such as epoxy resin). Read the installation instructions for your particular tiles to see what kind you'll need
- Tile spacers - these are used to keep tiles separated from one another while they're being installed
- Tile cutter (optional) - these are available in many different styles, but can be used for cutting large sheets of tile into smaller pieces. They work best with ceramic or porcelain and comes in handy if you need to cut a bunch of tiles at once
- Hair dryer (optional) - for removing air bubbles in grout
- Grout sealant. This is a protective coating that goes over the tile and grout to keep dirt, spills and stains from being absorbed into the surface of your tiles
- Paintbrush or roller with extension handle - these are used when applying thin-set mortar or floor sealant
- Drop cloths for protecting the floor or furniture from spills and splatters
- Clear silicone - this is a semitransparent material that's used to fill in gaps between tiles and to eliminate "spreading" of grout
This step should only be taken if you're not careful about doing it beforehand and are installing something that would need more support than what your subfloor offers (i.e. wood flooring).
Use spackle to create a surface that the new product will stick to. Be sure you measure for this before beginning installation or else the work can be very time-consuming and messy if not done correctly from the start.
Remove your old floors with whatever tool is appropriate, such as a crowbar. If you don't do this, you'll have to make sure your new flooring is very securely glued down.
Installing or laying tile edging is a process that will add durability and help to keep your tiles in place. Tile edging should be installed all around the space where you have tiled, leaving approximately half an inch of overlap on each piece for grout joints. This installation procedure is best completed with a helper because it may take some time and the tiles may shift if you're installing in a large space.
Working with grout is a process that will help seal the space between tiles and create a stronger bond. It's important to use as little grout as possible in order to avoid making it difficult for your tile edging because this joint fills up quickly.
Cleaning up your work area is a process that will help to reduce the mess created from grout and tile installation.
Once the tile edging is installed, it's important to seal it with a waterproofing product. This will help protect your floor against moisture and staining.
It's best to use a paint-on liquid sealant that has been made specifically for ceramic or porcelain tiles in order to ensure its efficacy (most of these products can be found at your local hardware store).
First, coat the tiles with sealant and let it dry for 24 hours. Then wait an additional week before reintroducing furniture or water to the flooring surface in order to allow time for the sealant's finish to harden completely.
If you have a large space that has been tiled, you can use a pad or roller to apply the sealant before allowing it dry.
If you're looking for a do-it-yourself project to take on, installing tile flooring is an especially rewarding home improvement that will make your space feel new again. The steps we've outlined are all manageable and straightforward with the right tools and know-how. If you have any questions about this process or want help choosing tiles for your own installation, please don't hesitate to reach out--we'd be happy to help!