Here are detailed, step-by-step instructions on how to tile a floor - including professional tips to make your handiwork a success!
Tile is the best DIY flooring for kitchens - durable, beautiful, a project you can be proud of!
Before we get started, there are a lot of variables in how to tile a floor we need to cover first.
In most remodeling, the floor is the LAST thing you want installed.
In a kitchen, new flooring should go in before the cabinet installation.
"What if I want to tile the floor and leave my cabinets in place?"
You can do this, but consider these potential problems:
2) Stove Height: Your stove will now be higher than the countertop, though it can be adjusted to sit as low as possible. OR you could tile up to the front of the stove and stop - though this may be visible.
ideal way is to remove the base cabinets, countertop and sink. Then tile
the floor and reinstall everything. Probably not the answer you wanted,
but what works for YOU is what to do.
How much of the kitchen floor should you tile?
At the very least, tile past the line of the base cabinets. Tile completely in areas where the fridge and stove will go.
Tiling the whole floor is actually the best plan...it doesn't cost that much more for extra tiles. If you ever change things you won't need to re-tile.
How long does tiling a floor take?
Two or three days should be sufficient for tiling an average size kitchen. Give yourself time to prep the floor - add an extra half day to remove old flooring.
Do you need underlayment?
Cement board underlayment acts as a moisture barrier. It reduces "give" in a floor - tile's greatest enemy!
To tile over anything other than concrete/terrazzo, buy 1/4" cement board - or 1/2" or 3/4" if you want to raise the level of the floor or you have lots of squooshy spots. You'll also need Liquid Nails and 1-1/4" screws.
Cut cement board to size, if necessary, with a cement
board scoring tool. If your cut leaves the edge a bit rough, you can
swipe the board against a sidewalk or driveway to clean it up. Then
swirl Liquid Nails onto the back of the board, lay it in place and screw
it to the floor.
What size tile should you buy?
floor tile up to 12" square looks great and is a good DIY floor tile
size. Larger tiles are more challenging...they're heavier and you'll
have to lay them while standing or leaning way over.
Special instructions for types of tile:
Some tiles need to be sealed before you lay them. Not sure? Drip some water on top of a few tiles. If the water is still there after 30 minutes, you're good to go. If the tile absorbed the water, definitely seal first!
Buy good quality sealant and spray on with a spray bottle, then wipe gently with a clean rag. Let dry and do another coat.
stone like marble is harder to lay because it must be PERFECT. Use a
very thin grout line - 1/16" is the norm - to make the floor look like
one big solid surface. BUY UNSANDED GROUT FOR NARROW GROUT LINES.
Are you removing old flooring?
The remaining surface should be pretty even. For slight dips apply thicker thinset in those spots - or cement board will cover them.
Check the space under baseboards and door casing. Will a tile fit under with space to spare? If not, see the next step.
Are you tiling over thin flooring, or directly onto concrete?
Remove baseboards by prying one end away from the wall - gently! - and then running your pry bar along to remove the baseboard in one piece. NEVER TILE UP TO BASEBOARDS! Tacky-tacky-tacky!
Remove door casings against the floor. Trim these to fit before reinstalling. Doors that open into the room may need trimming.
Making the transition with other flooring
If you're tiling up to carpet, pull up the edge of the carpet and fold it back. Once the tile floor is done, re-lay the carpet. Install a threshold to cover the transition.
Tiling up to a hardwood floor?
Tape off the wood about 6" in so grout won't "sand" the wood. A grout
line or threshold will work here.
Vacuum first. Lay out tiles for a dry fit - length and width - to see
where you'll need to make cuts. Cut pieces are best near a wall or
somewhere inconspicuous. Remember to add your spacers (see below) to get
an exact fit.
How to Tile a Floor - Tiling
How to Tile a Floor - Grouting
How to Tile a Floor - Finish/Seal
How to Tile a Floor - Angled Tile
Feeling adventurous? Tiling a floor at an angle gives a unique look to flooring! This is quite a bit harder and more time-consuming to do. You'll have to cut a lot more pieces, and everything must be cut at an angle.
How to Tile a Floor - Tile Cutting Tips
Rented tile saws usually have a table that slides the tile into the blade. The diamond blade grinds rather than cuts with teeth. Wear safety goggles and ear plugs.
Measure the space for a cut tile with a tape measure. DON'T FORGET TO ALLOW FOR THE GROUT LINE. Mark the edge of the tile with a grease pencil. Line up your mark with the blade and the saw will cut a straight line.
Make sure the tile's factory edge will be visible and the cut edge hidden.
To make a corner cut, mark measurements on both sides. Draw a line all the way across both ways to know where to stop the blade.
To cut in around a wall, mark your measurements on the tile and then make the two cuts from the edge.
Score the center line with a carbide-tipped scoring tool...or cut about halfway through the back of the tile with an angle grinder (use a diamond or masonery blade). Then snap out the piece.
These instructions on how to tile a floor can be used to tile other rooms, too!
Now that you know how to tile a floor, consider tiling your countertops! It's a whole lot easier than tiling a floor, yet all the basic techniques are the same. Check out Tiling Countertops.
Thinking of remodeling?
Keep a notebook or scrapbook of notes, clippings and ideas.
Kitchen magazines are expensive - look through them in the grocery checkout line. If you see pix of a kitchen you really like, buy that magazine.
Stop in at home centers and pick up any free cabinet manufacturers' catalogs.