Generally floor tiles can be installed onto any surface that is structurally safe and sound. This means that the surface is clean, smooth, dry and free from any wax, soap, scum, grease or dirty and grime.
If the surface has any damage, is loose in any way or uneven then you must repair the surface before any installation of tile work begins.
Before the installation begins it is best to plan the layout of the tiles. This will largely depend on the design layout that you want to achieve however there is a standard process.
To start planning the layout of your tile installation, begin by finding and marking the centre point of the room. Draw a line from the centre of the room to the centre of each wall in the area and ensure that they are perfectly square.
The next step is to lay out some of the tiles you will install along the lines in all directions. Remember to leave space for the grout joints. The width of the grout joint will depend on what spacers you use or levelling clips.
If you find that laying out your tiles in all directions will leave cuts that are smaller than half a tile against the walls, then you should adjust the centre line by half a tile closer to the wall. This should be repeated along if centre line if necessary.
The centre lines also split the room into smaller grids so you can work within these grids.
The type of adhesive will depend on the type of tiles and area of installation. Make sure you carefully read the instructions, make and precaution on the adhesive packages to ensure correct use and application. When mixing the adhesive, only mix enough that you would use within 30 minutes to avoid the adhesive curing the bucket mixture.
When applying the adhesive, use the type and size of trowel recommended on the adhesive package. Spread the adhesive over the area of one tile at a time using the flat side of the trowel. After the adhesive is well spread, use the notch side of the trowel to comb the adhesive into the corners of the area the tile will be installed. Remove the excess adhesive so that a uniform and firm bedding of adhesive is left.
Make sure each tile is measured carefully before cutting. A pencil or felt tip pen can be used. Diagonal and straight cuts can be made using a standard tile cutter. Curved cuts should be done with a tile nipper which can chip away in small increments at a tile to ensure a smooth and accurate curvature.
When setting tiles onto the adhesive it is best to mix tiles from several boxes to ensure a blended effect if there is any variation within the tile. Tiles should be placed on the adhesive in a twisting motion, not a sliding motion. When two tiles are set together, place spacers in-between them to create the equal grout joint space.
If you are laying rectangle tiles in a brick bond patter, make sure that these tiles do not overlap more than 1/3. When the tiles are set, use a rubber mallet or hammer and tap on the tiles to knock out any air and to ensure a good bond to the level plane.
Remove any excess adhesive from the joints with a putty knife and from the top of the tile with a damp sponge.
Continue applying the adhesive and laying the tile in working sections in the same manner. Make adjustments as needed so the tiles are aligned straight, especially along the longest dimension of the room where variations will show.
Remember to cut tiles an extra 1/4 inch smaller at the edge of the flooring to allow for mortar and expansion.
Leave tiles for at least 24 hours before applying grout or walking on.
Grouting should generally be done 24 hours after the tiles have been installed. You should refer to the specific instructions and precaution on the grouting package before grouting. When mixing the grout, only mix an amount that will be used within 30 minutes.
Before applying the grout, remove the tile spacer. Then spread the grout on the tile surface by forcing the mixture into the grout joints using a rubber grout float. Remove any excess grout from the surface of the tile as soon as possible with the edge of the rubber float.
After approximately 15-20 minutes, use a damp sponge to clean the grout residue from the surface of the tiles. The sponge should be rinsed regularly and the water changed as required.
Once the grout has dried and the grout has formed a haze on the tile surface, polish it off with a soft cloth. Rinse again with a sponge and clean water if necessary.