Ceramic Tiles

Ceramic floors add flare to your room

Most often used in kitchens and bathrooms, the use of ceramic floor tiles dates back 3,000 years when Romans used baked clay tiles for roofs and floors. Ranging in size from 1" x 1" tiles (often used in floor tile mosaics) to large, 18" square tiles, it is the size of the room or space you are tiling that will dictate the size of tile you use.

A couple of notes on selecting ceramic tiles for your floor:

  • Large tiles don't usually look very nice in small rooms as they tend to be overbearing in small spaces.
  • Use only floor tiles when tiling the floor. They may look the same as wall tiles, but there is a difference - floor tiles are usually thicker and have more texture to prevent slippage.
  • Custom floor tiles are available from some specialty and upper-scale manufacturers and retailers, usually at a significantly higher cost. If you decide to go with custom tiles for your floor, be sure to order a few extra so that you have them on hand to replace any tiles that may accidentally be broken, chipped or cracked. It is also a good idea to order extra tiles even if they are not custom-made for the same reason.

Ceramic floor tile installation

Tiling your own floor is a big job, but it can be done. Take a look at the following steps to get an idea of what you're undertaking.

  1. Prepare your floor for tile installation by thoroughly cleaning, checking and fixing the integrity of the underfloor and make sure there is no trace of previous floor coverings.
  2. Choose a pattern. There are three basic types to choose from:
    • Jack-on-jack - Looks like a checkerboard and is the most popular pattern.
    • Running bond - Has offset grout lines on each row.
    • Mosaic - A free-style type pattern usually done with small tiles that can be used to create shapes, patterns or be completely random. Don't actually do it free-style, though. Lay the pattern out first.
  3. Layout the floor tiles. Begin by measuring out the centre of the opposite walls and snap a chalk line to mark the center of the room - this will be where you want to begin laying your tiles. Dry fit the tiles first, running them down the centre line of the length and width of the room.
  4. Install the floor tiles on top of the adhesive, which has been spread using the notched edge of the trowel and create beaded ridges. Use spacers on all corners of the tiles to ensure even spacing. Clean up excess adhesive between and on top of the tiles before it dries using a rag soaked in solvent. Use the tile leveler and mallet after laying a couple of rows to set the tiles in the adhesive. After completing the bulk of the floor, cut and fit tiles for the perimeter. You can use your hands, tile nippers, a tile cutter or wet saw to cut the tiles.
  5. Grout the edges using standard grouting methods.

Ceramic tile repair

Do you have one cracked, chipped or otherwise broken tile in your ceramic tile floor? If so, don't worry - you can fix it! It's easy:

  1. Remove the grout from around the broken tile with a small chisel.
  2. Lift up the edges of the damaged tile with either the chisel, a screw driver or whatever else you have on hand. Be sure not to touch any of the surrounding tiles with your tool, as you may cause further damage.
  3. Thoroughly clean out the area.
  4. Apply adhesive as above and set new tile.
  5. Allow the adhesive 24 hours to dry thoroughly and apply grout.

Want warm tiles?

The installation of a new ceramic tile floor is the perfect time to install a floor heating system. A job best left to the pros, a heated floor is not meant to be a home heading method and will only result in warm tiles on those cold winter days.

Tile Tools

Here's a list of all the tools and accessories you'll need to install your ceramic tile floor:

  • Trowel
  • Spacers
  • Tile Nippers
  • Tile Cutter
  • Wet Saw
  • Hacksaw
  • Level
  • Box-cutter
  • String Chalk Marker
  • Tile Adhesive
  • Mallet
  • Grouting
  • Rags and Sponges

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