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Laying ceramic floor tiles

Installing a new ceramic floor can be done in less than 10 steps. Grab your trowels!

Difficulty level : 
Duration : 
10 days

1
Creating an outline

  • 1.1 Place 2 tiles in a corner against the wall, and one on the floor.
  • 1.2 Add a second tile on the floor and insert spacers in between.
  • 1.3 Mark the floor and remove the tiles.
  • 1.4 With a square, trace a line on the floor.

Top tip

If the new tiles are thicker than the old flooring, saw the door casing. Use a new tile as a guide to cut the right height.
Make sure the underlay is clean, solid, and secure. If it isn’t, it will cause the new tiles to break or will make the grout crumble.

2
Preparing and applying the adhesive

  • 2.1 Mix the adhesive according to the manufacturer’s instructions.
  • 2.2 Starting in one corner, spread the adhesive 3' wide along the walls and the chalk outline. Work with the smooth side of the trowel at a 30° angle.
  • 2.3 Run the grooved side of the trowel along the adhesive at a 45° to 75° angle (this ensures even grooves).

Top tip

The size of the grooves on the trowel depends on the size of the tile. The bigger the tile, the bigger and wider the grooves.

3
Laying the tiles

  • 3.1 Lay the first tile at the intersection of the chalk lines. Press lightly in the center to wedge it into the adhesive.
  • 3.2 Follow the chalk line to lay a first row of tiles, placing plastic spacers in between each.
  • 3.3 Continue laying the tiles row by row. As you go, wipe the excess adhesive from the tiles with a wet sponge.

Top tip

Removing the first tile and checking the adhesive underneath is a good way to make sure the installation is on the right track.
If the tile is not almost entirely covered, the adhesive is too dry, or the grooves on the trowel are too small.
If the adhesive spills out, the grooves on the trowel are too big for the size of the tile.

4
Measuring the cut tiles

  • 4.1 Place a tile against the wall.
  • 4.2 Using the square, measure the size of tile needed to fill the gap and finish the floor.

5
Cutting the tiles

  • 5.1 Place the ceramic on a tile cutter, aligning the mark on the roller. Push or pull (depending on the model) the roller along the line.

Top tip

Make sure to have the right wheel on the tile cutter for the type of tile.

6
Installing the wedges

  • 6.1 Insert a wedge into each clip.
  • 6.2 Using the plier, tighten the wedges into the clips.
  • 6.3 Let dry overnight, then lay the tiles around the perimeter.

7
Removing the wedges

  • 7.1 Using a hammer, remove the clips and wedges.

8
Applying the grout

  • 8.1 Mix the grout in a bucket according to the manufacturer’s directions.
  • 8.2 Pour a part of the grout around the new tile. Spread evenly with a trowel.

9
Removing the excess grout

  • 9.1 Scrape the excess grout with the trowel, working diagonally. Clean the trowel on the side of the bucket.
  • 9.2 Let the grout dry about 15 minutes, then clean with a sponge.

10
Installing the sill

  • 10.1 For a metal sill, apply construction adhesive to the sill, then secure it to the tile.
  • 10.2 For a marble sill, spread the adhesive to the underlay and press firmly to sink it in.
  • 10.3 For a wood sill, place it on the ground and nail the sill to the ground.

Top tip

If you’re installing a sill in a doorway, remove the vertical moulding at the center of the frame. It will have to be trimmed before being reinstalled.

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