Ceramic tile installing is much the same whether your project is a floor, walls or a counter top. Get the basics ceramic tile installation right and you can do most any project successfully. Let’s start with what you need for any tile project.
Gather your tile tools first. These are the basic tools, many of which you already have. Here’s what you need:
- Plastic 5 gallon Buckets,
- Ceramic Tile Nippers,
- Tile Cutter Board,
- Notched Trowel,
- Margin Trowel,
- Chalk Line,
- Tri Square,
- Tape Measure,
- Tile Sponge,
- Tile Saw.
You for sure need tile nippers. Then a tile cutter board is used for making clean straight cuts. A tile saw can make all the cuts needed. You can start with a small cheap saw and upgrade later.
2. A Solid Base
Many kinds of surfaces will work for a base, but the mounting surface needs to be solid. Old linoleum will work. Old tile will work. Concrete will work. But the best surface is usually cement board, Hardibacker board. It’s rigid and adhesives stick to it just right.
3. The Right Adhesive
The pros use a wettable powder called thinset that’s a masonry product. You can also use a pre-mixed adhesive with latex. For mixing wettable powder get a paint stirrer for use with your portable drill.
4. Careful With Spacing
To look great, the tile must be set evenly with consistent spacing. Mark off chalk lines as guide lines and then carefully keep the spacing between tiles consistent. Your tile suppliers stock plastic spacers that make keeping those spaces between the tiles uniform. Use those until you can eyeball the space and make it consistent. Part of the fun of laying tile is keeping the tile straight and level even though the tile size varies a little from tile to tile.
5. Grout Right
After the tile is set and dried in place, fill the spaces with grout. Grout can contain sand or not. Whether you use sanded grout depends partly on the size of the spaces between tiles. Grouts often contain latex additives to improve the performance. Sometimes installers choose epoxy grout for use in kitchens and bathrooms. Epoxy grout is waterproof and stain proof.