Laying out bathroom floor tile can be a daunting task if you've never done it before. But with a helpful set of instructions at your side, you'll be surprised at what you're capable of accomplishing. So the next time your bathroom is in need of new tile, don't hand the job over to a high-priced professional—just consult this handy guide to bathroom floor tile layout.
Thoroughly Clean Your Floor
Before you begin laying new tile in your bathroom, it is imperative that the floor be vigorously cleaned. Any remaining dirt or debris is liable to result in your new bathroom floor tile not being able to stick properly. After giving the floor a powerful scrubbing, run a vacuum over it to ensure that any dust you may have missed the first time around doesn't create a problem for you later on in the tile laying process.
Find the Right Pattern
Now that your bathroom floor is nice and clean, it is safe to begin laying your tile. Begin this process by placing a tile in the bathroom's most prominent corner. Then, with the help of a spacer, lay out the other tiles to determine if the pattern you started with the initial tile ends in a manner that meets with your approval. If you're displeased with the pattern, simply change the position of the initial tile and continue laying out the other tiles until you find a pattern you like.
Spread the Thinset
Thinset, a type of mortar that is often used for tiling, comes in two varieties—unmixed and pre-mixed. While pre-mixed thinset can be expensive, its unmixed counterpart can make quite a mess when being stirred. Should you decide on the unmixed kind, it is recommended that you stir it outside. When spreading thinset, take care to hold the notched towel with which you're spreading it at a 45-degree angle in order maintain an evenly-spread thickness. Also, don't try to cover too much ground at once—only spread your thinset across 2 to 3 square feet of space at a time.
Press the Tiles Firmly in Place
Now that the thinset has been spread, slowly begin placing your bathroom floor tile on top of it. Make sure the tiles are protected by a cloth-covered 2x4 board, then firmly push them into place. If this task requires exceptional strength, you may use a hammer to gently tap the covered board. Take care not to tap the actual tiles, however, as it could lead to cracking. Use a snap cutter to cut any tiles that don't fit your pattern.
After the thinset has cured, use a rubber float to spread grout into the spaces between your tiles. Before applying the grout, place thin strips of tape on the edges of your tiles in order to prevent grout from leaking onto their surface. When applying the grout, be sure to keep a bucket of water and sponge nearby, enabling you to clean any spills forthwith. The grout will become far more difficult to remove if it is allowed to dry.
So there you have it. With these five easy steps, bathroom floor tile replacement is well within the comprehension of any household handyman.