Ceramic Floor Tiling 5 - Installation Ceramic Floor Tiling 5 - Installation

First, double check your supplies. Once you roll up your sleeves and are ready to go to work you want to make sure that you have everything that you are going to need.

Do the colors of the tile match? Some discrepancy can be attractive, but that's a personal design choice. Sometimes it's a good idea to pull tiles out of different boxes as you work so any slight discrepancy is integrated into the overall look of the job. Do you have enough quarter round tile for the edges?

Is the grout the right color?

Spreading the adhesive


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If you are installing tile in an area that is going to be exposed to water conditions, use a mastic that is water-proof so that it will hold up well. This is very important. If you are applying floor tile in areas not exposed to water, you can use a mastic that is not water-proof.

Epoxy adhesives are also available, but their drying times can be difficult to control. They are more appropriate in areas where high impact strength and chemical resistance are required, like for a darkroom, perhaps.

  • Before you apply the adhesive, carefully read the manufacturer's instructions for drying time so you don't spread any more than you can work with before it sets up. Usually you want to spread enough mortar for 30-40 minutes work.
  • Spread the adhesive on the floor or countertop using the flat side of the applicator. Once you've applied adhesive on a wide area, flip the trowel around to the notched side, run it at a 45 degree angle to create wide grooves.
    Note: Use a notched trowel that is notched deeply enough so that the peak of the adhesive should be as thick or nearly as thick as the thickness of the tile. The valley will only show a thin film.
  • When applying the adhesive, be careful not to completely obscure your working lines.
  • Only spread as much adhesive as you can work with before it sets up.

Setting the tile

  • Gently twist the tile into place. Never slide it.
  • Use spacers between the tiles to maintain consistent lines if your floor tiles do not have spacing lugs built into the tiles like many standard bath tiles do. There are some types of spacers available that will allow you to leave them permanently and simply grout over them.
  • Lay the tiles row by row, cutting the tiles as needed when you get to the end of a row. It's a good idea to snap a chalk line for every row as you go so that you are always working off a straight line. Snap the chalk line about an inch away from the edge of the tile so that the adhesive doesn't obscure your line.
  • As you work, take a piece of padded wood that has been covered with an old towel or something protective and beat the tiles to be sure you are adequately seating the tiles in the adhesive. The piece of wood should span at least two or more tiles.
  • Continue setting the tiles and spacers until you reach the other end of the room.


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