How to Lay Floor Tiles
Time Required: Over 1 day
Setting tile is fairly straightforward if you begin in the center of the room and work your way out.
This guide shows you how to work with mortar, lay out and level tiles, and score tiles to complete a professional-looking installation.
- Put a little mortar on the flat side of a square-notched trowel and apply it, pushing it into the face of the backerboard as you go.
- Then, apply more to make a layer of mortar roughly ½ inch thick.
- Holding the trowel at approximately 70 degrees to the floor, push the teeth of the trowel to the floor, making ridges of uniform height.
- The size of the trowel notches should be the same as the thickness of the tiles you are setting.
- Twist the tile back and forth slightly to make sure it is embedded in the mortar.
- Remove any excess mortar from the tiles with a damp sponge or cloth as you go.
- If you place a tile down crooked, pick it up immediately and reposition it to align properly.
- Lay a short 2 x 4 or beater block on top of the tiles and tap lightly with a rubber mallet to level the tiles and bed them firmly in the mortar.
- Continue laying tiles, one box at a time, until your reach the wall.
- Cut tiles to fit against the wall if necessary.
Tip: Be prepared to cut some tiles. You can either make them as you go, or install all the full tiles and wait 24 hours for them to dry and cure before cutting the tile pieces you’ll need.
- Set another tile, the “marker” tile, on top of it so it butts up against a tile set on edge at the wall.
- Trace along the marker tile to mark the cutting line on the tile below.