Laying ceramic tile in your home is a great method for increasing the value of your home, as well as sprucing the place up. However, if you have never done this before it can be a little intimidating and even a little difficult. However, just because it is difficult doesn't mean that the project is impossible. Begin laying ceramic tile in your kitchen or bathroom by simply following these instructions and you will be amazed with your results, and the way that your new floor looks.
- Get your materials. Before you can begin laying ceramic tile you need to actually get the materials that you will be using. In this case you will need to get the following items: carpenter's square, chalk line, ceramic tile (in whatever color or pattern you wish), plastic spacers, tape measure, ceramic tile backboards, grout (choose a color that compliments the tile), a putty knife, and a utility knife or ceramic tile saw. Make sure that you get enough tile and grout for your project, if you don't know exactly how much you need talk to one of the clerks at your local home improvement store to get the amount that you need.
- Prepare the workspace. Once you have your materials you can begin preparing the workspace. In effect this means that you will have to carefully remove any and all tile or flooring that is already installed in that particular room. Be careful as you do this so that you don't end up damaging the subflooring. If you do damage the subfloor, you will need to replace it before you can proceed. When you have the subflooring clear of any remaining dirt, dust, and debris, you can begin laying down the ceramic tile backboards. This will provide you a more secure foundation for your tile. Make sure that you secure the backboard to the subflooring according to the manufacturer's instructions.
- Lay out your pattern. An integral part of laying ceramic tile is figuring out the pattern that you want to use. There are two ways that you can determine this patter. The first is to lay the tile out in a different room as close to the way it will be in the bathroom or kitchen. The second is that you draw the pattern out on a piece of notebook paper or graph paper. Both ways work, and both will allow you to see what the final result of your work will look like. Best of all, this will also allow you to make any changes to your design without undoing a lot of hard work.
- Put down a chalk line. Using you chalk line, go ahead and lay a line that is perpendicular to the entry way you are starting from. This will allow you to center the pattern off of what people will first see as they enter the room. However, if your entry way is of center, you may want to choose a different part of the room to center your chalk line off of.
- Start laying the tile. Once you have your chalk line laid down, you can begin laying the tile itself down. Place the tile adhesive on the back of the tiles, and then lay them down carefully. AS you are doing this make sure that you don't put too much adhesive on the tiles, and that you are carefully lining the tiles up off of the center chalk line you laid. AS you put each tile down, put some spacers along the tile to help provide the proper amount space for later grouting. Press down firmly (but gently) on each tile, and then move on.
- Offset each row. As you finish laying down the first line of tiles you can begin laying down the second line as well. Simply offset the next row so that the seams of the tiles are offset. This will provide a stronger and more stable design for your tiles which will allow the grout to hold the tiles in place a lot more effectively.
- Repeat. Repeat steps five and six as necessary until you are finished with the project. Do not be afraid to put down another chalk line if your initial chalk line has faded too much to be easily seen. Just make sure that you have your new line properly aligned with the original line.
- Apply grout. Allow the tile adhesive to dry completely before you begin applying the grout. Typically this will take no more than four to eight hours. While the adhesive is drying, take the time to read the instructions that came with the grout material. These instructions will tell you not only how to make the grout properly, but also how to apply it. Prepare the grout according to the instructions that are on the package, and then begin applying it at the back of the room, working your way out of the room. As you are applying the grout be sure to remove the spacers. Put enough grout into the seams between the tiles to help hold them together. Don't worry if you get any grout on the tiles themselves, as it can be cleaned off rather easy later on, just wipe off the excess and move on.
- Dry. After you have finished applying the grout allow plenty of time for the grout to dry. To be on the safe side, make sure that no one walks on the tile for a minimum of 24 hours. This will allow enough time for the adhesive and grout to completely cure and adhere to the tiles.
- Clean up. While you are waiting for the tile to finish curing, go ahead and begin cleaning up the mess you made from laying the tile. Save any extra tile and grout compound that you may have in case you need to make any repairs in the future. When the tiles have finished curing, grab a cloth and a small bucket of warm soapy water to clean off the tile floor. This will help remove any remaining dust and dirt, as well as any excess grouting that may have gotten on the tiles.
Keep in mind that you will need to take your time while you are laying ceramic tile. By hurrying while laying your ceramic tile you can end up with overly large seams, misaligned, or simply shoddy. Take your time, and you will have an end result that you can be truly proud of.
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