How To Tile A Floor
The process; part 1 "Tiling":
I loosely laid out a few sheets to make sense of my pattern and see how many I could fit before making my cuts. This is also a good idea, because I have done this and found that some sheets at the bottom of the box were chipped and unusable. Threw a wrench in my tiling plans for the night, so it's good to know ahead of time!
[I purchased a hand chipper, a charcoal pencil and a manual tile scorer/cutter. You'll need scissors or a utility knife too, if working with the mesh backed panels.]
Once I had my plan in place for the first row across the back and had made my cuts [I used the charcoal pencil to mark up where I would cut, the hand chipper to score and work my way around odd shaped cuts for around the toilet and corners and for the simple straight cuts, like shortening a sheet entirely, I used the manual score and snap, hand held tile cutter and just went right down the whole sheet. The scissors/knife are great to just cut off excess tiles to help clear your working space.] I laid down a layer of acrylic pro, a ready made tile adhesive, using a trowel.
Spread out a trowel full, then using the serrated ends, make a crosshatch pattern. This ensures it really sticks to the tile backs [ever notice they have that grid pattern built into the backs?]. If you leave it smooth, there's a more likely chance it will just fall off and will pop up down the road. It's the same concept as scoring and slipping when working with clay attachments, for any artists out there. ** Plug from my art teaching days** Once I was done, I went over the floor and gave it gentle pressure, with my hands, to ensure the floor was level.
What's nice about the sheets is that they're automatically spaced out. However, when you go to start the next sheet, you need to be aware of the spacing. I eyeballed it, but you can buy spacers that are the same width as the sheet's spacing. If using individual tiles, you may just want to stick spacers in between to help keep things consistent.
I would highly recommend, as you go, to take a paint can opener or screwdriver and clear out the spaces of any adhesive that's squeezed up through. If you don't do this, when it hardens, it will show through the grout and it is quite difficult, if not impossible, to chip it out after.
The process; part 2 "Grouting": Once I had the entire floor laid down, I allowed it to dry until the next day. They say 24 hours without walking on it, but I didn't wait quite that long. I made sure it was all secure and I went to work. We picked out a natural gray color grout, because it would pull out the chrome fixtures we had and compliment the slate blue walls nicely. [This is important information for when we get into the redo of the redo].
Fill a bucket with warm water and pour the grout into it, until little islands start to develop. Then start mixing! You want the consistency to be thicker but still soft. It should slop off of your trowel but not drip. It should also not be gritty and grainy. If it's too thick and gloppy it won't bind and will crumble and come right up once dry. Using either the trowel or a spackle knife, scoop and slop [very technical terms here] a heap of grout onto the back corner of the floor. You always want to work your way out, so you don't "paint" yourself into a corner. Another art pun plug. Then you use your grout spreader and pull towards you, pushing the grout into all of the spaces. It helps to go in a rainbow shape too. Make sure the grout is up to the top of the tile [it will settle in and will ultimately be just slightly lower than the tiles.] You should scrape the excess as you go, to avoid a bigger mess in the end. I would wait maybe 20 min or so after you're done grouting before you start to clean it up. Taking a big yellow sponge, wet it and wring it out really well. Wipe in a rainbow direction, rinse and repeat, until the leftover grout is all off of the tiles. I would then wait another 20 min or so and give it all a chance to dry [the more you work it with the wet sponge, the more it will continue to pull it up and re-smear it.] Finally, with your sponge, go over and give the tiles one last clean. VOILA! You've just tiled your first floor! Congratulations!
Feel free to post any comments or questions you may have and I will do my best to help you! You can also reach out to me on social media for a faster response!
Below is a list of everything I used!