Step By Step: Laying Floor Tiles

Floor tiles look great and provide a hardwearing, waterproof surface that’s hygeinic and easy to clean. Floor tiles are recommended for bathrooms, hallways and kitchens. But you don’t need a professional for this job, simply follow this step by step guide.

Set aside a weekend for a small kitchen or bathroom, and aim to budget for spending around two hundred pounds.

Check list:
Pencil & tape measure
Tile cutter
Notched trowel or spreader
Tile saw
Floor tiles
Adhesive or grout
Chalk line
Floor sealer
Spacers
Profile shaper
Spirit level
Piece of hose pipe
Goggles
Squeegee & Cloth Bucket & sponge

Choosing/buying Tiles You should look to buy around 10% more that you expect to use. To help work this out check out the UKTV website for a helpful tiling calculator. Also, to avoid any manufacturing discrepancies between colour or grain you should ideally buy all your tiles in one batch.

Preparation Ensure the surface which you are going to tile is dry, smooth and above all level.

1: Plan tile positions It is very important that you firstly set out the position of the tiles before commencing with laying the tiles. Find the center point of the longest wall in the room and make a chalk mark at right angles to the wall. This should also be done for the adjacent shorter wall resulting in two lines dissecting each other in the middle of the room.

2: Positioning the tiles Begin laying the floor tiles along the two lines in order to work out the best positions which will allow you to calculate how to use as many tiles as possible without the need for cutting them. It’s also preferable to avoid having too many cut tiles along the wall that is seen when you first walk into the room. A good tip is to try to make sure tiles are laid symmetrically around any main features such as fireplaces.

3: Applying adhesive and laying the tiles Start by spreading one square metre of the adhesive into one of the corners formed by the chalk lines mentioned above. Gently press down on the first tile, using the lines as a guide and carry on tiling along one of the lines. Continue to add tiles until all adhesive has been covered. Now work outwards from the centre of the room, always using the chalk lines as a guide. Apply more adhesive to the floor and continue laying tiles until you have covered half the room with as many whole tiles as possible. Now lay tiles on the other half of the room in the same way, working from the centre line outwards. Then leave the adhesive to dry according to instructions given.

Some good tips: – Use a notched trowel or spreader which facilitates the even spread adhesive across the floor. – You can find out if your tiles need spacing joints by reading the tile instructions. Even if they don’t require them you can choose to use plastic spacers to make the gaps between the tiles even. – Use a spirit level, and lie it diagonally across the tiles to check everything is level. If any are uneven you can put more adhesive under the necessary tile(s) to bring it level.

4: Filling in gaps You should fill in any remaining gaps with cut tiles. Using a tile cutter, trim the tiles to the required size but before you cut, make sure you allow for the gap required for grout between the tiles.

5: Sealing (where necessary) Depending on whether your tiles have already been protected with a sealer coat, determined in the manufacturer’s instructions, you may need to seal the tiles yourself, particularly in the case of porous tiles.

6: Grouting Using the squeegee, force the grout in between the tiles, pushing the squeegee across the gaps in both directions to make sure the grout is worked into all the gaps. After that, use the straight edge of the spreader to ensure a neat grout line. Before the grout dries, wipe off all excess with a damp sponge and lastly polish the tiles with a clean cloth.