Installing ceramic tile isn’t that hard at all. Most of us get scared off from the stories of the tile popping, or even the “I dropped a pot and the tile broke” stories. Well, rest assured, after watching my video, you too will be able to install tile like a pro too.
A faulty installation begins and ends when it’s completed the wrong way. It’s just that simple. You MUST make sure your wood sub-flooring is at least 1 1/4 inches thick and screwed down into the floor joist very well before you do anything else.
Below is Part one of a 3 part video series on a complete tile installation.
Secure the floor
Simply put, if your floor is not secured, your tile will pop and/or crack. Even if you think it’s okay it’s not. It will only take you minutes to add those screws. So start by using something like 2 1/2″ drywall screws down through your subfloor and most importantly, you must make sure you’re screwing down into the floor joist. If you; re not into a joist, you’re wasting your time and effort. You’ll know when you are in a joist simply by the power needed to screw that screw down and watching the subfloor beginning to squeeze down.
How thick does my subfloor need to be?
By the Tile Standards, you must have at least 1 1/8″ – 1 1/4″ thick subfloor. I have always held to this, and lucky enough I have never, ever had an issue. Most homes built today will only have a 3/4′ subfloor and that’s fine for carpet or for real 3/4″ hardwood flooring but for tile, it’s far from sufficient. So installing another 1/2″ or 3/4″ underlayment plywood is what you should do. When you do this, it’s best to use as big as sheets of wood you can find. You’ll also want to take notice of the direction your existing subfloor is in, and you’ll want to install the new subfloor in the opposite direction (perpendicular) to make sure that the ends of the wood sit on a floor joist. You don’t want to end the job with an end in the middle or between a floor joist.
Tools needed to install the tile
You could always use a dry tile cutter. Cutting tile video Or rent / buy a wet saw. A wet saw will make very clean, straight cuts. Needless to say, those funky cuts and shapes you may need to get the items you are tiling. To give you a better idea of how I do it, I set up a wet saw usually outside or in a basement. This is because of the mess they tend to make. I use a dry scouring cutter in the work area as they make good cuts and are super fast. It’s okay if you’re against a wall and you need a bunch of ripped-down tile cuts.
You’ll need a nice clean five-gallon bucket to mix your thin-set. You can use whatever you want to mix it up, but if you’re going to be mixing a lot, I would recommend that you use a power mixer (drill and paddle).
For floor tile, you will need to use a 1/4″ by 1/4″ notched trowel. You can buy a cheap one for a few bucks or spend up to $20, but it won’t make your job come out any better with the more expensive trowel. It’s just a matter of comfort.
Using Tile Spacers
Tile Spacers are those little white rubber crosses or spacers. They come in a few different sizes. The most common one to use is the 3 /16″ spacer. In general, the smaller the tile, the smaller the spacer. But, be careful of the Tile Spacer Police, as you’ll have to live with her with whatever size you choose to use. Although they are shaped like a cross. You insert them from the face of the tile and you stand them straight up. They are to be removed and reused once your tile sets up.