How To Tile A Floor

 

When you want to consider what goes into how to tile a floor, there are a few things you need to know before you begin the process. You need to know if there is going to be an electrical in-floor heating system or some form of pattern and size of tiles, the type of substrate you’ll be dealing with as well.

 

How To Tile A Floor

how to tile a floor pattern

 

Many people believe installing tiles are no big deal, and a simple process of just cement them in place, grout, and you’re done. There is nothing further from the truth, and this is why so many jobs ended up having to be totally ripped out and started from scratch. It’s one thing to mess up a small bathroom floor, but I’ve been called into redoing tiled jobs that have spanned from multiple rooms and hallways throughout the home that others have made significant mistakes during their installation that now require everything to be demoed out and redone.

No homeowner or company wants to deal with the mess and cost to redo a job for the second time when it should have been done right the first time.

  • Key Things To Look For!
  • Knowing The Right Facts!
  • Proper Preparations!

 

How To Tile A Floor

How to tile a floor is one of the things that TD Remodeling specializes in for customers in the Halifax and Dartmouth and HRM surrounding area. Whether it is just a regular install or patterns inside of patterns that are requested TD Remodeling does it all.

How to tile a floor 1How to tile a floor 1
How to tile a floor in a diagonal.
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How to tile a floor in a standard grid.
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How to tile a floor with diamond multi-pattern.
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How to tile a floor with offset, in a diagonal.
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How to tile a floor with offset.
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How to tile a floor with a stone mosaic pattern.
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How to tile a floor for kitchen.
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How to tile a floor with stone offset.
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How to tile a floor for kitchen standard grid.
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How to tile a floor with porcelain offset.
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How to tile a floor diagonal to stairs.
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How to tile a floor with pinwheel design.
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How to tile a floor in diagonal throughout.
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How to tile a floor with patterns inside borders and patterns.
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How to tile a floor for bathroom standard grid large format tiles.
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How to tile a floor for kitchen using multi patterns.
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How to tile a floor with a pinwheel pattern.
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How to tile a floor against the hardwood.
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How to tile a floor using a floor leveling system.
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How to tile a floor for kitchens.
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How to tile a floor for commercial.
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How to tile a floor with borders in multiple patterns.
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How to tile a floor by creating a pattern.
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How to tile a floor showing close up of leveling system.
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How to tile a floor a front entrance with a pattern.
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How to tile a floor for kitchen with pinwheel design.
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How to tile a floor for a games room.
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How to tile a floor to hallway with pattern.
How to tile a floor 29How to tile a floor 29
How to tile a floor for kitchen with electrical.
How to tile a floor 30How to tile a floor 30
How to tile a floor for bathroom with creating a pattern.

Key Things To Look For!

Whenever you are about to embark on a tile installation, you need to take a close look at what is to be installed and where the installation is going. The things you need to consider is the floor you’ll lay the tiles on. concrete

Types of flooring:

  • Concrete?
  • Tongue and groove?
  • OSB?
  • Plywood?

The type of sub flooring will call for some possible preparations that may need to be addressed. Another consideration is if there will be an electrical heating system of wires to be cemented over. Adding a heating system calls for different installation techniques that need to be addressed correctly.

Area of flooring for install:

  • Are the tiles running from room to room?
  • Are the floors level from room to room the same consistency?
  • Will tiles be meeting up with staircases from the upper level?

Understanding all where the tiles will run and knowing about all transition points will allow you to prep accordingly for any height deviations or concerns that may need to be addressed for proper preparation.

 

how to tile a floor by fixing holes

Knowing The Right Facts!

 

When you take the time to understand what you’ll need to know the key things I’ve mentioned above, then the job will be easier to prep and get the installation done correctly with the proper home improvement hand tools. You need to know the right facts to have a long lasting and trouble free job. When cementing onto concrete in most cases, you have a proper sub floor for integrity but when cementing the tiles to a subfloor that is tongue and grove you’ll need a minimum thickness of 1/2 underlayment to be screwed down over-top.

For myself, I prefer 5/8 tongue and grove to give better integrity. If you are unsure of the type of floor joists, the thicker plywood will be better to ensure there are no deflections in the floor for any movement with weight applied.

Typically you would have a 3/8 plywood screwed down to a 5/8 tongue and groove sub floor.

how to tile a floor by preping underlaymentTiles will always crack and lift up if the floor integrity is not met adequately. Depending on where you live and the manufacturers of the tile will stipulate the size of floor joists for the distance of the span and floor thickness for structural integrity. I always prefer to go over the minimum requirements, but you still need to take into consideration to the transition areas for other rooms. Most of the time to have a slight difference in transition height is not a problem except at a staircase where you should always be correctly set to the height of the stair bull nose. Lippage at the end of a step is not acceptable as it creates a tripping hazard. Safety comes first above all else!

When it comes to electrical heating systems for under the tiles, most people and companies will cement the tiles directly over top of the wires. Tiling this way makes the job faster, easier and cheaper with no regards to future problems. I’ve been called into fixing tiles that got damaged by homeowners having a mishap from an install that I had done and other flooring jobs by somebody else. I also was called into fixing broken tiles from floor movement which cracked a string of tiles across the floor.

The job I did was a simple matter of busting out the two broken tiles and replacing them as I use a membrane system which meant it only took $10 worth of material to fix. The other jobs which another company did, would not fix their floors as they knew they would have to end up replacing the entire job for around $15,000. When you install an electrical mat or wiring system through multiple rooms such as kitchen, eating area, hallway to bathroom, laundry

When you install an electrical mat or wiring system through various rooms such as kitchen, eating area, hallway to the bathroom, laundry room and garage entrance, not to mention out to the front entrance where you have 500 – 1000 square feet of tile cemented directly on top of wires. Nobody wants to assume the cost to fix it because as you try to lift out the tiles, they’ll take the wiring system with them.

I cement the wires to the floor then a membrane over the wires then the tiles to the membrane. If you ever have a problem of breaking a tile like one of my customers did when they dropped a full wine bottle to the floor, I just break out the broken tile and fix it as the membrane allows you to lift tiles from the floor without affecting the wires.

 

Proper Preparations!

 

how to tile a floor by preping floor levelerSo once you know all the facts of what you are dealing with:

  • The type of tiles for size and thickness
  • what the pattern is if there is one
  • What areas are to be tiled
  • What the tiles will be cemented to
  • Whether there will be wires underneath them or not

At that point, you will be able to make the necessary preparations before actually tiling the floor.

  • Using floor leveler if needed or if possible
  • Making sure you have proper floor stiffness for thickness required
  • Nailed or screwed down properly
  • Using a membrane if dealing with electrical heating system underneath

Using floor leveler whenever possible to take care of dips and slopes when possible but may not always be able to level out a floor entirely. If that becomes the case, you must run the floor to what is called true by still having a flat floor, but it may not be able to be made level due to circumstances.  With concrete floors sometimes

With concrete floors sometimes you may need to grind down high spots and floor leveler in the low spots before tiling.

Underlayments can be nailed down in place with penny nails which have worked in the past and still work fine today with 2″ spacing on the seams and 4″ in the field. Screws work and hold the best and is the only method that I use 3″ spacing on the seams and 4″-6″ in the field. Some people use staples for underlayment, but I do not recommend them as these floors are the ones people have me rip out due to failure. Another method not to do is use gyprock screws as they are too brittle, and the floor will crack and fail as well. Gyprock screws are for drywall, not floors.

 

These are just a few things that you need to consider for how to tile a floor properly to make the job run smoothly with making sure that you are not setting yourself up for problems down the road. There is nothing worse than paying out all the time and money it takes to do some of these larger renovations just to find out that some shortcuts that were taken will cost you the job to be redone. Home renovation how to projects require the knowledge, preparation and tools to make it all come together the way it should.

8 Comments:

  1. Your pictures are beautiful! I’ve never tiled a floor before but I’d love to try it sometime! Are these floors you’ve actually tiled yourself? You really seem to know your stuff and I’m just curious about what your background is.
    Which type of flooring do you like the most and which is the most durable for kids and pets running through?

    • Travis Smithers

      All the photos in the gallery are from some of the stuff I have done. I first started learning about renovations from the age of 12 years old but did electronics for 20 years as my primary job where I spent the last seven as an instructor teaching to the component level.

      I’ve been doing renovations on my own now for eleven years.

      The Most durable flooring for children and pets would be tiled, but are extremely hard and causes the same problems as constantly being on concrete surfaces over long periods of time. Hardwood is great except pets especially larger dogs will scratch them from their nails.

      Most people have been switching to a high-quality laminate flooring as it gives better comfort like the hardwood to back and joints compared to tiles. The laminate if made of high quality will not scratch and get damaged like the hardwood. Laminate offers the durability more like that of tile.

      The companies have now been working on some great vinyl planking that is possible turning out to be one of the better all-purpose products for flooring that can be used in any room.

  2. Hi Travis,

    Thanks for your sharing all of your knowledge on how to tile a floor. I like all of the pictures you provided. You do some beautiful work. My husband and I just installed some laminate flooring and that was a pain in the butt. How does laminate flooring installation compare to installing a tile floor? What type of floor would you put in a kitchen? Thanks!

    Julie

    • Travis Smithers

      Installing a laminate flooring compared to other forms I install are considered a dream. Installers can lay two-three times as much laminate compared to tile.

      I can lay 1000-1500 sq ft of laminate in open space but only 400 sq ft of tile in a day by myself. When you get into hallways and closets etc. the square footage drops to half that amount very easily.

      I would not use any regular laminate in a kitchen as water will roen the floor very quickly. A lot of people have been using hardwood and although it is better than laminate I personally would not use it. Even the hardwood in the kitchen can have maintenance problems.

      I would use tiles or the new vinyl laminate planking for kitchen or anywhere you may be dealing with water spills.

  3. Simon Crowe in Asia

    Hey thanks for this Travis, I’m a self-employed painter and decorator but we’ve just booked our first flooring job – tongue and groove.

    This post is super helpful, the videos really help too so thanks for that.

    I’m gonna take you on your recommendation and use 5/8 tongue.

    Just one question mate (sorry if it’s a daft one but new at this) Do you always start from the middle and work outwards or is it better to start at the edge? Thanks again.

    • There are those who start at the middle and work their way to the perimeter. Some will even lay the perimeter tiles the next day.

      For me, most of my jobs require tiles running through multiple rooms, so there is no real center. I use lasers to measure out the patterns throughout the house to see what the tiles need to be at the doorways and walls then I pick a door or wall and start cementing them in from one end of the house to the other.

      I never start in the middle even if it is a simple square or rectangular room and especially when I’m required to use patterns with borders inside of other patterns.

  4. Thank you for a very informative article on how to tile a floor, and you are right that it is more complicated than it looks.

    Looking at everything that has to be prepared and thought out beforehand I doubt it will be a job that I should personally undertake. I think I will leave it to the professionals.

    • Travis Smithers

      The biggest thing about renovations is to understand what is required, then you’ll know if it is something you’re comfortable with or not.

      There is nothing wrong with people doing the DIY as long as they know how it’s supposed to be done. It’s also just as important if not more so to know when you should not attempt to do the DIY renovation.

      The only way to make a proper decision is to know and understand what needs to be done; then you can make a proper assessment of your abilities and take it from there.

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