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How to Tile a Floor

Last Updated Aug 9, 2017 · Written by Rob Schneider

Can tiling a floor be a DIY project? It can be, but you have to take a step-by-step approach. As an amateur tiler, take your time and make sure you're following the correct procedure. If you are careful throughout the process, DIY floor tiling is doable.

How to Tile a Floor; Step-by-Step

The first steps may be the easiest. Start with a clean, dust-free floor. This is an important step if you want your tiles to adhere to the floor.

Measure the floor area to find out how many tiles you need. You may have to trim some tiles later, so buy extra tiles. If you know how many square metres you're working with, a tile supplier can sell you the right amount of tiles and other supplies for the job. Aside from tiles, you will need:

  • A chalk line
  • Measuring tape
  • Tile mortar
  • Notched trowel
  • Tile cutter
  • Tile spacers
  • Grout
  • Grout float

You should also have a bucket of water and a sponge on hand. You may need them to clean mortar off the tiles and you will definitely need them when you grout the tiles later.

Tiles should be laid from the centre of the room outwards to the edges. To find the centre line, measure the length of the room and find the centre line on opposite walls. Use the chalk line to mark the first centre line. Then go to the other walls and repeat the process. The centre line will be the starting point of the project. It is a good idea to set tiles against the chalk line and snap another chalk line to be sure you're setting the tiles perfectly as you go.

The next step is to mix the mortar. Pour a bag into a bucket and slowly add water until the consistency is right, Stir until the mortar has a creamy consistency and let stand for about 10 minutes to allow it to partially set.

How to tile a floor

Now you're ready to start tiling. Before you start laying tiles, find an exit strategy. You don't want to walk across the tiles before the mortar is set. If you do, the tiles may wobble and the finished job will be uneven.

Use the notched trowel over a four tile area. Mark the centre line so you don't lose it. The edge of the first tile should be half a spacer away from the centre line. After you've set the first tile, make sure it's aligned with the chalk line you've drawn. Check it with a straight edge. If the first tile is perfectly aligned, use spacers to set the second, third and fourth tiles.

Rooms are rarely the right size for full tiles. When you get to the edge of the room, you will have to cut the tiles to fit into narrow spaces.

Tile a floor DIY

After you have laid the tiles, allow them to sit for a few days to make sure the mortar is set. Then apply the grout with a grout float. Apply the grout on an angle in both directions to make sure the grout fills the gaps between the tiles. Wipe off the excess in a straight line and allow the grout to set.

How to tile a floor

If you've taken time to do the job correctly, the next job is the easiest. Stand back and admire your handiwork. If you don't feel you have the time or inclination to tile your floor, hire a floor tiling expert and let them do the job for you.

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