Installing Tile

A beginner's guide

When it comes to installing ceramic tile, it doesn't matter if you're installing ceramic floor tile or ceramic wall tile, the process is basically the same and involves five key steps. The only difference is usually in the prep work, since floors are typically based with a concrete slab whereas the wall is drywall or sheetrock attached to wooden studs. Even if you are installing granite tile or kitchen tile, follow these five steps and the job will go a lot smoother:

  1. The first step is to prepare the floor. If you are installing kitchen tile, you want to make sure that you have used a strong cleaner and have removed all of the grease, grime, oil and wax build-up. If the base floor is wooden, you should make sure that it is level and that any loose boards have been tightened down.
  2. When you start installing the ceramic tile, work from the center of the room towards the walls making sure to take all irregularities into consideration. Make sure the true center of the floor is arrived at by using a chalk line and then start laying the floor tiles along the chalk lines. Lay the tiles loosely for now so you can get an idea as to how many tiles it is going to take to completely tile the room.
  3. If you're using different colored tiles, the step above is especially important so that you know what kind of a pattern you want in the floor when it is completed. It will take about 10 to 15 minutes for the adhesive to start drying enough so that you can start setting the tiles in place. However, be aware that humidity and the air temperature will influence the drying time. When you lay down the first round of adhesive, apply it to roughly 20 to 25 percent of the total floor area.
  4. As you start setting the tiles into the adhesive, using the chalk lines as your guide, make sure that the very first tile is laid accurately as it can influence or hinder the entire outcome of the finished product. Place each tile firmly into the adhesive and make sure to place separators in between the tiles so that they are evenly spaced.
  5. Make sure that the border tiles that are being placed around the perimeter of the room are cut evenly. Remember that when you are fitting tile around a pipe or some other obstruction, cut the tile in the same shape so that it fits exactly into the position. Wait one week before washing the tile.
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