Tiling your own floor is a big job to take on, but it can be done. And with a little know how and some forethought you can produce an amazing floor.
The first thing to figuring out how to lay your floor tiles; is you need to choose your tiles. Obviously you will need to consider the color, size and shape of the tiles by taking into consideration the rest of your decor and furniture.
But more importantly, from the perspective of laying the tiles, you need to choose what type of tiles. And it is a big list. The first to come to mind are ceramic floor tiles and vinyl floor tiles but there are heaps more like leather tiles, terracotta, glass, porcelain, metal, rubber and the list continues. But for the sake of this article we will discuss ceramic and vinyl tiles.
Ceramic tiles are ideal for your wet areas like the kitchen, bathroom and laundry. You can buy ceramic floor tiles either glazed or unglazed; however because the unglazed version needs to be sealed, most DIYer's use the glazed type.
Vinyl tiles are very comfortable under foot and the easier to lay. They can also be an economical option and in today's market they come in a variety colors and patterns, and often realistically resemble other materials.
Before you buy your tiles ensure you plan out the job on first. This way you will know exactly how many tiles you will need - don't want to be left short and find out you can no longer get that tile. At a minimum calculate the square footage of floor area that you need to tile.
Before you even think about laying any tiles, make sure that you are working on a good surface. Rushing in and starting will only produce disappointing results further down the track.
Ensure your floor area is flat, stable, and clean. If you are laying tiles directly onto a new concrete floor, you shouldn't have too much problem. If it is an older floor that previously had tiles on it, it is imperative that every bit of old tile, grout and rubble is removed.
Now that your surface is ready, you can begin the tiling. It is best practice to start your work from the middle of the room. This ensures there will be an even spread of cut tiles around the edge of the room.
When laying the tiles, begin from the centre with entire tiles. Spread the adhesive with an applicator in an even thickness over an area of no more than 3 square feet. Only do a small area like that at a time to prevent your adhesive from dying out.
With ceramic floor tiles; put the tile down on the adhesive and twist the tile slightly to bed it firmly in place. The installation of vinyl tiles requires a slightly different approach; lay the tile down in it's correct position, slide it into position and then firm it down evenly with your hand to ensure adequate adhesion.
When you have all the whole tiles in position, it is time to cut the remaining tiles for around the edge. To do this, place the tile to be cut exactly on top of the last whole tile in that row. Next place another whole tile on top of this one but butting up against the wall, now mark where this second tile touches the first and that is where to cut. It sounds more difficult than it is, give it a try.
To cut the tiles line up a steel ruler and use the appropriate method outlined below to cut your tile.
Ceramic tiles - score the tile with a scribing tool and then snap the tile with a heavy duty tile cutter.
Vinyl tiles - cut a sharp utility knife.
Once you have them all laid out the vinyl tiles are finished but with the ceramic tiles there is one more step; they will need to be grouted.
Choose a grout that is going to complement your tiles - different oxides are available to produce different color grouts. Only mix up a small quantity of grout at a time as it dries quickly. Using a sponge or rubber squeegee push the grout into the joins, then use a piece of dowel to smooth the joins.
Leave your tiles to dry for the recommended period of time and then give your floor a thorough clean and polish. Now stand back and admire your handiwork and proud of the job you have accomplished.