Pebble Tile Floor Installation Made Easy
Pebble tile floor installation is usually done using 12 inch square sheets, with each sheet containing a different number of pebbles depending on the style and manufacturer. It is not much different to lay than ordinary stone or ceramic tiles, and is much easier to work in corners and edges. Always purchase the required amount plus approximately 10 percent extra, to allow for errors and unforeseen complications. Most rooms will require partial sheets, and these extra strips can also be used to fill difficult or unusually shaped areas.
Prepare the Work Area
Make sure the the floor surface is clean, free of debris and dirt or dust. Any object that are left on the floor may cause raised stones in the finished floor. Dust may also interfere with the bonding of the thinset and other adhesives, and result in stones that are either not bonded at all, or come loose easily. While we will refer to thinset repeatedly, other adhesive materials may be used, as long as they a certified for bonding stone.
Work a Small Area
Apply thinset in small areas, usually about 2 square feet. This is a suitable reaching distance for working, and allows plenty of time to make corrections before the thinset hardens. If you apply more thinset that you are able to lay tile to fill, you will find yourself constantly frustrated by the rush you are going through, while working smaller patches gives you plenty of time to make sure the job goes as planned. Thinset and other adhesives dry quickly, and there is little to be done for dried adhesive except to remove it and reapply more adhesive.
Plan for Later Corrections
Start at the area which will receive the highest amount of traffic, if possible. Be careful not to trap yourself in the work area, but starting out near the traffic area allows discrepancies and errors to be worked out in a less visible location towards the end of the job. As you work, take the time to make sure that the stones are working out in a well spaced pattern. If there are gaps or missing stones, remove a stone from an unused sheet, and place it in the opening.
When working in areas that require the stones to fit around a shape, it is a good idea to draw the shape on a piece of paper or cardboard and the lay out the pebble tile according to that. It can be difficult to work out minor details in some confined spaces, and doing so before getting into position will help the process move along smoothly.
Finish to Personal Choice
Pebble tile may be left as-is, or grout may be applied. If grout is not used, dirt and debris will accumulate in the spaces between pebbles over time, and cleaning them will be a bit of a chore. Using grout, however, will increase the stability of the pebbles. Some of the best looking pebble tile floors have grout applied, and are then sealed with a thick, shiny top coating that gives the stones a wet look.