Setting tile and completing the installation can be an exciting project, and one that must be done properly. Mistakes can be costly, and take a lot of time to fix. So it is in your best interest to take your time, plot out your plan, and enjoy the process. There are some steps that need to be taken in order to complete the setting and installation process correctly, but first you need to make sure you have all the proper supplies prior to beginning. This will help to ensure a smooth project and eliminate frustrations. The following is a list of materials to have ready for your project:
- Thin-set adhesive
- Mixing tool like a drill
- Pattern and measurements
- Saw, scoring tools and nibblers
These tools will make your life much simpler as you begin to set and install your project. If you are unsure about what types of tools or products that you need, there are many free samples and ideas available. Check online or at your favorite home improvement store.
Now that you are ready to begin, here is a step-by-step process that is recommended for your project. Hopefully you have already completed the layout portion of this task, and you know how you are going to want the tiles arranged. If you have not done so, you will need to have this step completed before you begin. This will make the job of where to start, how to arrange, and final results have a more orchestrated look.
1. Prepare the surface
The first step in setting tile is making sure the surface is prepared. This means removing any excess debris that may have been left behind. This is important as the thin set could lift or bubble if a solid adherence to the holding surface is not made. A scraper is a great tool for this process. Make sure, though, that you do not remove your chalk lines made during your layout stage, as these will guide you while you are setting your tile.
2. Mix the thin set
Now that your surface is clean, you can begin to prepare the thin set for laying on the floor. Use your mixing tool, which can be a wand that is used with a drill, or a stir stick for paint. Once the mixture has reached the right consistency — think stiff Silly Putty — you are ready to begin.
3. Set the first tile
Using your trowel, spread the thin set on the floor. Place the first tile on the center mark in the room. Get another tile and set it next to the existing tile using a spacer to separate the two. This will ensure exact spacing between tiles. It is also important that you use the same amount of thin set for each tile. Using your level will help with this process. This way the tiles will all be even and level so there are no awkward raises.
4. Complete setting the tiles
Follow your plan or design when completing the rest of the project. You may find that thin set gets on tiles as you are working, and it is important that you remove it right away, as once it dries it can be very difficult to remove.
When making cuts, it is wise to have a measurment of how much tile to remove. You can do this by making a mock reprensentation on a piece of paper, then transferring it to the tile. Depending on the size of the tile and the type of cutting that is necessary different types of tools can be used. For instance, a straight cut or a 90 degree cut on a larger piece can be done with a wet tile saw. For smaller tiles like those for kitchen counters or bathrooms, a diamond-edge scoring blade will do the trick. Use a pair of nibblers to remove excess tile that is very minimal.
Once these steps are completed, and it has been at least 24 hours, you can go back and remove the spacers. At this time you can begin to grout the spaces left between the tiles. When grouting, make sure that you have plenty of water and sponges to help clean up excess. This step can be done easily in a day, and there is not special technique necessary other than making sure all the spaces are filled in.