by Staff Writer
Installing floor tile is a simple procedure that you can accomplish by following specific steps. The result will be a beautiful floor and a sense of accomplishment because you have done it yourself. Once you understand the basic process, you can add borders or accent tiles and make the design your own.
Note: These installation instructions begin with a clean subfloor. If you have old linoleum or tiles, you will need to prep the floor by removing the old material and installing new cement board over the old subfloor. If you install board over old material and raise the height of the floor, you may need to cut or plane the bottom of the door.
Mark the starting point. Measure the door opening and mark the halfway point directly on the subfloor with a wax pencil.
Apply glue. Spread a layer of glue on the floor using the smooth side of the trowel, covering an area that you think you can tile in about a half an hour. Start small so that you don't waste glue. Once the area is covered, use the notched side of the trowel to groove the glue. Hold the trowel lightly at a 45 degree angle to the floor and scrape towards the outside of the glue area, making grooves in the glue.
Place the tiles. Start by placing a full tile on either side of the halfway mark. Place a spacer flat on the floor at the inside corner where the two tiles meet and press the tiles down and in -- towards the floor and towards each other to meet the spacer.
Continue to place spacers at each corner and lay down full tiles, working your way outwards. Make sure to work your way around to one side, so you don't tile yourself into a corner.
Cut the edge tiles. Measure the space and deduct twice the width of your spacers (3/8 inch if you are using 3/16-inch spacers). Set the fence of the tile saw to the desired measurement, lock the fence and cut the tile. Set the tile and spacers; place a spacer between the tile and the existing baseboard or wall to allow for a grout line.
Clean up. Wipe excess glue off of the set tiles with a damp sponge. Allow glue to dry for 24 to 48 hours.
Grout. Mix sanded grout per the bag instructions. Apply with a grout float, covering all joints. While holding the float at a 45 degree angle to the floor, scrape excess grout from the tiles with the float edge. Allow grout to set for about 10 minutes and then wipe the floor with a damp sponge to remove excess grout. There should be a film left on the floor. Allow grout to dry for 24-48 hours.
Seal. Polish grout film from floor with soft cloth. Wipe the grout lines with sealer per instructions on the sealant container. Apply the sealer with a clean, damp sponge and wipe off excess. Allow the sealer to dry.
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