HOW TO INSTALL TILES IN A
Free tile installation tips and
questions answered by
our expert DIY man. He
tells you how to get ready and answers all your frequently asked
questions about tiling a bathroom or kitchen.
HOW DO I GET READY FOR TILING?
First you need to get your old surface out of the way so you can
install your backing and your tiles. Remove old carpet and strips and
get rid of the staples or glue. Remove the sheet vinyl along with its
underlay if at all possible.
Remove the plumbing such as the commode
and pedestal sink. Remove the trim and tub and shower spouts from the
walls to be tiled.
CAN I TILE OVER
MY OLD TILES?
Yes, you can. Just make sure it is in sound
condition and use one of the super modified thin set mortars for the
job. If the tile are starting to fall off or coming loose, remove them
and start new.
I TILE OVER PLYWOOD OR PARTICLE BOARD?
I know you see tiling over wood shown on TV, however, I do not
recommend it. Most of the repairs I have done were because of tiling
directly over a wood surface. A cement backer board properly installed
will be a more permanent installation.
CAN I TILE OVER A CRACKED CONCRETE SLAB?
Yes, however, you need to first treat the cracked area with an
isolation membrane. Several are available to the tile stores and not
all are real easy to use. Ultra Set is a gel that can be trowelled
over the crack and about 6 inches on each side of it. This material is
also water proof and it can be used to actually set the tile rather
than thinset mortar.
CAN I TILE OVER MY VINYL OR LINOLEUM
It is best to remove the vinyl flooring if at all
possible along with its underlay if it has one. Some sheet vinyl
flooring is only glued around the edges and at the seams. If you tile
directly over that material, your entire floor will be loose. A layer
of cement board should be used either in place of or over the vinyl
flooring. If the vinyl is over a concrete slab, however, and it isn't
possible to remove the it, you may tile directly over it using one of
the super modified thinset mortars made for this kind of application.
CAN I TILE OVER LAMINATE COUNTER TOPS?
Yes, you can tile directly over laminates as long as
it is not loose. I don't recommend tiling over the 'self edge'
however, because I find that narrow strip on the edge likes to come
off. I guess it wouldn't hold tiles very well. Use one of
the Super modified thinsets for over laminates.
HOW DO I REMOVE THE TILE AROUND MY SHOWER OR
BATH TUB AREA? If the tiles are coming loose because of the
material behind it decomposing, you should cut the wall board just
outside of the tile line and remove all of the tile along with its
backing right down to the studs. Once it is clean install the cement
DO I MAKE THE PROPER SELECTION OF TILES?
Tiles come in many different forms and compositions and it is a
good idea to use the harder tile where lots of wear may occur.
Porcelain tiles can be either coloured the same all the way through or
glazed with your favourite colours. These tiles are incredibly hard
and are used in the mall as the main walking surface. They will work
very well for floors, counters and walls in your home. Usually they
come in large sizes, so finding a design may be difficult. The more
decorative tiles are usually softer and have a brighter glaze and are
great for walls and back splashes but not good for floors. The marble,
granite, slate, and sandstone tiles are also great for floors and can
be used on walls, counters and back splashes. Check with your tile
sales person for the best choice for your application.
HOW DO I MEASURE SO I BUY THE RIGHT AMOUNT
First, measure length and width of the area to be tiled
and multiply one by the other. Next, add at least 10 % to that total.
It may be a good idea to bring the measurement to the tile store and
let the sales person help with the total needed so waste can be
included. Plan on having tile left over rather than running short.
HOW DO I LAY OUT SO THE TILES LOOK GREAT WHEN
I'M DONE WITH MY TILE PROJECT?
Measure to find the centre of the room or wall. Lay your tiles
without thinset or glue from the centre line to the edge of the area.
Include the joint size, and find the distance from the last whole tile
to fit to the edge. If that piece is ½ the width of a tile or more,
you can do your lay out from that centre line. If it is less than ½ of
a tile, move the centre line over so that the old centre line lines up
with the centre of a tile. You have just moved the starting point over
½ the width of the tile so now you will have a larger than half tile
at the edges.
DO I LAY OUT MY FLOOR THROUGHOUT SEVERAL ROOMS?
It is easiest to lay out a multiple room area by laying the tile
on a 45 degree angle. Any place the tile come to a small cut piece,
right next to it is an almost whole one! First choose your most
visible room and find the center of it form both directions. Strike a
chalked line in the center of the room from the longest wall parallel
with the longest wall. Next find the center of that line. From that
point, using a 3-4-5 or 6-8-10 measurement, make a perfect square line
off the long center line. Draw a square using these two lines and
dissect it to find a perfect 45 degree angle. If you lay your first
tile so all corners are on the centre lines, it will be the best place
to start your layout. Always lay some tiles dry to try for the look
you want before mixing thinset mortar and starting your actual
installation. To do a layout for several rooms on the square rather
than on an angle, follow the same methods as for a single room. It
will take some adjustment to make them all work and if there is a
problem at the doorways, it isn't a bad idea to cut a tile down as a
threshold to break up the joints so they don't have to follow into the
other room. This also works if you are tiling on a diagonal.
WHERE DO I START?
After finding the
center of wall or floor, I like to mark the area with a line to
represent every other joint or tile edge. I measure the tile and
include the joints and mark the floor or wall into squares so that 4
12X12 inch tile fit into a square along with the joint next to them.
After marking the area, I can start anywhere as long as I stay within
the square and always to the same edge of the square. After the first
row, you can put the thinset over the lines because you will only need
the line next to you and follow the other lines that will still show
at that point.
GLUES OR ADHESIVES DO I USE?
For use under most cement board installation, I use one of the cheap
non-modified thinset mortars. In all other cases, if I use thinset
mortar I will use the modified or super modified type. If you are
tiling over a cement board, it is a good idea to use thinset rather
than a canned mastic. If it is a floor it is never a good idea to use
any but one of the thinset mortars. On counter tops, it is usually ok
to use mastic under and over the cement backer board. Walls in wet
areas like showers and tub areas, should first have a cement backer,
then tiled using at least a modified thinset mortar. BACKSPLASHES are
usually stuck directly to sheet rock using a canned mastic. Don't tile
over wall paper, remove it before doing your tile project.
SPACERS AND JOINT SIZES
I like to use joint spaces about 1/8th inch wide if the tile are
uniform enough. It is best to remove tile from several boxes and lay
them down with the joint size you would like to see. Measure several
tiles in a row including the joints to see what size grid you should
draw on the floor. For walls, I like to use plastic spacers along with
the little plastic wedges for fine adjustments. Larger joints are fine
if that is the look you want. Please check your work with a long
straight edge quite often because the spacers only follow the tiles
and some of them are not uniform.
WHAT TYPE OF GROUT SHOULD I USE?
are using the soft ceramic tile, use the unsanded grout for the job.
If your tiles are the frost free or floor type, including porcelain,
granite and lots of the other single fired tiles, use the sanded
grouts. Tile set touching or tight need to be grouted using either an
unsanded grout or epoxy grout.
HOW DO I REMOVE THE GROUT HAZE Careful
cleaning can still leave some film on the tile that seems impossible
to remove. In most cases this simple system works very well: First wet
the area so the grout joints are moist…If you don't, they may
discolor. Next use Real-Lemon juice straight from either the lemon or
the bottle. Wipe it on and let it stand a few minutes before scrubbing
with a scotch-brite pad. Rinse and repeat as needed.
DO I NEED SEALERS FOR MY TILES?
tiles need sealers and most of them are the natural stone tiles.
Sealers can be found in the tile store and their uses can be best
named by the tile sales person for your particular tile installation.
A link to Aquamix can be found from my home page link button. They
have lots to say about sealers.
CAN MY TILE BE PAINTED?
Most paints will not stick to your tile if it is already on the
wall of floor. There are some companies who re-glaze bath tubs and
sinks and some of them will paint your tile with the same material. It
is more efficient to tile directly over your old tile if it is in
sound condition and you only want to up-date the look.
HOW DO I REMOVE A CHIPPED OR CRACKED TILE
FOR REPLACEMENT? First, using a cement board scribing tool or a
grout saw, remove the grout from around the damaged tile. Next, strike
it with a hammer to 'soften it up'. Now, using a small chisel, chip
out the pieces and get it cleaned back down to the surface below the
thinset mortar. Mix a bit of thinset mortar and install your new tile.
Grout it after it firms up so it won't move while cleaning it up. WEAR
PROTECTIVE EYEWEAR for this project!
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How to TILE your
These tips should get you going with your tile project.
Shower and a Bath
Things you should know before proceeding with a shower and bath
Toilet (WC) Installation
Things you should know before proceeding with a toilet
Bathroom Sink (Basins)
Tips from professionals to how to install a bathroom sink.
You should read this before attempting to install any water pipes.
Drain and Waste Installation
You should read this before attempting to install any drains
Bathroom Related Questions and