Ceramic tile is the first step to your dream bath or kitchen. The advantages of ceramic are plentiful—durability, moisture and fire resistance, slip resistance, frost and thermal resistance, and they are easy to clean and very hygienic. Next to wood they are the safest and healthiest flooring you can use for your home. And this is one step in your quest for the bath or kitchen of your dreams that you can do yourself.
Is installing ceramic tile difficult?
It is not difficult to install ceramic tile and most handymen or women can master it with the proper tools. It’s like a large but simple jigsaw puzzle. Proper prep work is essential. Once you’ve decided on the color, style, etc. and bought your tile buy all the necessary tools and products you will need. Watch the installation videos online they will help you learn how to install your tile step by step, these are essential.
Don’t skip any steps. If you are going to tile a large area don’t skip the tiling board, if might sound daunting but it really isn’t hard at all. Tile board is simply nailed to the studs just like drywall. It’s basically the same whether you are using wall tile or floor tile. It’s waterproof and will protect your tiles from warping and cracking. Remember, an ‘’ounce of prevention…’’
Lay out your tile first according to the measurements of the space you are tiling. If it is a large space lay them out one wall at a time or even half a wall. Remember to allow 1/4th inch between for grout. You will need to cut some at each end or at least at one end.
Once all of your tiles are cut and placed, mix the thin-set. This is the adhesive that will hold the tile to the wall or floor. Be sure to follow the instructions on the product to the letter. Mix until it has the consistency of thick peanut butter. This is very important don’t be afraid to add a little more water or mortar to get it just right. It is right when it doesn’t drip off your trowel but can be shaken off. Lay the tiles on the thinset using spacers between to allow room for the group. When you are completely done let set overnight.
The next day you can apply the grout. Again mix according to the directions on the product until it looks and feels like creamy peanut butter. Be sure to get it between the tiles and cover the whole area. Then go over it and remove some with the float making sure you don’t remove it from between the tiles.
Once the grout has started to harden—about 20 to 30 minutes—you can begin sponging. Use a hydrophilic sponge from the tile section of the home improvement store. Make sure it’s damp, but not wet, and sweep diagonally across the tile. The grout will smear, that’s okay, just keep rinsing out your sponge in a bucket of clean water (not the sink) and keep wiping your tile until most of the smeared grout is gone.
Once clean level any grout between the tiles that is raised with the sponge. This is called ‘’tooling.’’ Then after the grout film has dried polish away the haze with a microfiber towel.
How are ceramic tiles cut?
There are two ways to cut ceramic tile. One is with a tile cutter. These are very easy to use, are very inexpensive (read the reviews online) and if you are just tiling a floor with no fancy cutting it is probably all you will need. If you are tiling a shower or other space with pipes, handles, faucet and corners use a wet tile saw. A wet tile saw can look a little bit intimidating but there’s really nothing to fear. You can score and snap tile with a tile cutter but the only way you can get nice smooth edges, bevels, small shapes, odd angles and the like is with a wet tile saw. Fortunately, you may not have to buy one. Many home improvement centers will let you rent one. If you must buy one a good one like the pumpless Ryobi 7” will run about $100 and it’s worth every penny.
Is it true ceramic tile doesn’t need to be sealed?
Yes, it’s true but unless you’re using epoxy-based grout, the grout has to be sealed. Common grout is made from sand and sand if very porous and will soak up any liquid that come near. You need to seal your grout to keep the moisture out. Today grout sealers come in convenient applicators that are much easier to use than in the past and these are not anywhere near as messy. They can be a bit tedious but it’s worth it to protect all your hard work.
Here are very two good videos
This is a very simplified description, but really, anyone can do it with the right tools. Have fun.