A Step by Step Guide to Achieving a Professional Finish
A tiled floor is hard wearing and low maintenance. It is also easy to fit if you work carefully and methodically.
If you are looking for a floor surface that will look great, last for years and be easy to keep clean, then tiles are the perfect option. However, many people are put off by the thought that fitting it means days of upheaval and the need to call in professional tile fitters.
This is not necessarily the case, and anyone with some basic DIY skills can tile a floor by following some simple guidelines. Let’s take a look at the steps involved in achieving a perfect, professional finish that will make your home look like new.
Buying your tiles
The first thing you need to do is measure up, to understand how many tiles you are going to need. Nothing is more frustrating than nearing the end of the job, only to discover that you have to go out and fetch more supplies. Measuring up sounds simple enough – length by width gives you the floor area, so you will know how many square metres of tiles are required. However, remember to add 10 percent to allow for wastage.
There is always the possibility of slight colour variation in tiles, and if this is something you want to avoid, it is worth checking the batch number on packs and ensuring all your tiles are from the same production batch.
Preparing the area
If you are starting from a flat concrete floor, you can tile directly onto it – where it is at all uneven, use a self-levelling compound first.
If you have floorboards, it is best to cover these with a course of 18mm plywood so that you have a sound and rigid base. Check the thickness of your floorboards, and screw the plywood down with screws that will attach it firmly, but will not penetrate right through, as you never know what pipes or electrical cables might lie beneath.
Give everything a good clean, and you are ready to begin.
A dry lay
You will be starting in the middle of the room and working outwards. The centre tile is known as the “key tile” and getting it right will make or break the final appearance. Start by dry laying your key tile, and then dry lay a row of tiles with spacers out in all four directions for the length of the room. You are aiming for an approximately equal gap at all four walls for a uniform appearance, so adjust the position of your key tile accordingly till you have it right, and then mark its position with chalk.
Laying the tiles
Spread approximately a square metre of tile adhesive evenly, starting at the key tile location. Lay your key tile in place, giving it a slight twist to bed it it, and then repeat, working outwards and inserting the tile spacers as you go, to achieve a uniform gap.
Work carefully and methodically, and you will be amazed at how quickly you reach the walls!
Wipe the tiles regularly, to prevent adhesive from drying onto them, and use a spirit level to check they are lying flat. If they are not, you can gently use a rubber mallet to tap them into place.
Use a tile cutter to prepare the edging tiles, remembering to allow enough space for grout and sealant. This is where that extra 10 percent comes in handy!
Grouting and finishing
The final stage is grouting. Again, make sure you have enough to cover the whole floor area in one go.
Use a grout float to scoop and lay the grout between the tiles. Press it into the gap, and regularly go back over your work with a grout finisher and a damp cloth, to leave a tidy finish and remove any excess before it dries. When you have finished, avoid walking on it until it has been left to harden in accordance with the manufacturer’s instructions.
Finally, give it a last wipe with a damp cloth, followed by a dry one, and all that is left is to go around the outer edges of the floor with a line of silicon sealant. And there you have it – the perfect tiled floor that would make a professional proud!
Here at The Tile Warehouse we have everything you need to tile your floor, from the tiles to the spacers, so why not pop into out Maldon showroom and get cracking (not literally we hope!)