How to tile a floor
Want to have a go at tiling a floor but daunted by the task and don't know where to start? Fear not here's an easy to follow, step-by-step, guide to tiling a floor from the experts at B&Q. Get tiling!
If you’re after a stylish tiled floor (like those in a Tuscan-style interior or a French chateau) or would like to tile a greeting across your hallway to welcome guests with, this handy guide from B&Q will take you through the steps to elevate your flooring.
When tiling your room, start from a central point and work your way to each corner, one corner at a time. You’ll want to be able to exit the room without walking across your freshly laid tiles, so plan ahead and work into the further corners of the room first so that you finish by the door.
If you’re tiling a room you’ll need to access regularly, such as a bathroom or kitchen, consider tiling one half of the room and then tiling the second half once this is dry. It’ll take a little longer but allows the tiles to fix to the floor properly for a hard-wearing finish.
You can attach tiles to concrete, wooden floorboards (provided you use an ultra-flexible adhesive) and even on existing floor tiles, but make sure the surface is in good condition and correctly prepared. It needs to be even, flat, dry and free from damp, and the correct adhesive must be used. If you’ve had other tiles or sheet flooring, you’ll need to remove any adhesive from the floor before beginning.
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What you need to tile a floor
- Knee pads
- Safety goggles
- Tape measure
- Chalk line
- Gauging trowel
- Notched spreader 4
- Spirit level
- Flat bed tile cutter
- Electric wet tile cutter
- Tile nippers
- Tile file
- Grout float
- Dustpan and brush
- Grout finishing tool
- Tile sponge
- Dry cloth
- Floor tiles
- Floor tile adhesive
- Floor tile grout
- Adhesive tape
- Tile spacers
- Masking tape
- Flexible sealant
- Rubber mallet
How to tile a floor
Starting at the position you’ve marked out, on the floor, and use a notched trowel to spread this across an area of around one square metre. Use the smooth side to spread the tile adhesive on the floor, then draw the serrated edge back through the adhesive to form ridges. This will leave an even depth of adhesive to help create a level surface.
Place the first tile firmly into the adhesive, using a twisting action to bed it in. Repeat this process with the next tile and use tile spacers between each tile to ensure they’re evenly spaced. Be sure to press the spacers well below the surface of the tile so that they’ll be hidden once your floor is grouted.
Occasionally, check the tiles are flat with a spirit level. If they’re not, tap them lightly with a rubber mallet to level them. Remove any adhesive from the tile face with a damp cloth – it’s much harder to remove once it’s set.
To fill any gaps between the last whole tile and the wall, you’ll need to measure and cut some tiles. A good way to do this is to lay the tile that needs to be cut directly on top of the nearest whole tile to the wall. Then lay another tile on top, using this as a template.
Position a couple of tile spacers flat against the wall and push the top tile right up to the wall. Use a tile marker to mark the tile beneath – make sure to account for space for grouting. You’ll need a heavy-duty tile cutter to cut any tiles. Wear goggles and gloves when cutting, then smooth any rough edges with a tile file.
Once all the tiles are down, you’ll need to wait until the adhesive has set before you walk on them – this can take up to 48 hours. If you’re tiling a room that you’ll need access to, like a kitchen, bathroom or hallway, tile half the room one day, and the other half the next.
Once the adhesive has set, you can begin grouting. Remove any dust or debris from the surface and check no tile spacers are sticking up. Use the gauging trowel to remove the grout from the tub and then work it into the joints using a grout float until the grout is level with the surface of the tile, covering the spacers.
Once you’ve grouted several rows, smooth the joints using a grout finisher to compact the grout and leave a neat finish. Wipe any extra grout on the surface of the tiles using a damp sponge before it begins to set. Continue to work your way across the floor, grouting, finishing and wiping away. Once finished, avoid walking on the floor and leave the grout to set. Check the manufacturer’s instructions for how long this will take, as different grouts will vary.
Once the grout is set, wipe the floor with a damp cloth and then with a dry one to remove any remaining grout from the surface of the tiles. If there are any stubborn areas, you can use a cleaning agent, but make sure the grout is fully dry before allowing any water contact.
Next, seal around the edges with a flexible sealant that matches the grout. This will help accommodate any movement or expansion between the wall and the floor. Lay masking tape either side of the area you’re going to seal. Work from one end of the skirting to the other and apply a continuous bead of sealant, keeping a steady pressure and speed. If you like, you can shape the sealant with a special tool for a different finish. Leave the floor to set for 24 hours after grouting and sealing.
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