Tiles can be one of the most durable kinds of flooring. They last for years and are easy to clean. But if you find yourself at the point that the tiling in your home could use a facelift, luckily replacing them is simple enough that you can do it on your own. So whether you’re looking to replace a beat-up floor, change the pattern, or just want to try new flooring, we’ve put together an easy step-by-step guide to get you on the right track.
Tools and Materials
Before you get started tearing up your floor, it is important to make sure that you have all the necessary tools to complete the task. Doing this will ensure that you don’t get halfway through and then realize you have to run to the store to pick up more materials. You are going to want:
- A scoring tool
- Tile spacers
- Grout saw
- Metal straightedge
- Grout bag
- Safety glasses
- Tile clippers
Finally, you need the ceramic tiles you will be laying. If you are covering a large area, it is a good idea to look into purchasing wholesale tiles. It might be the best value for your project. Once you have all the necessary materials, you can finally begin.
Replacing Your Tile Flooring
Step 1: Clearing the Room
Make sure that you empty the room of any furniture that might get in the way of your project. This also includes lamps and even shelves on the walls that restrict your movement. If you're going to be working around a sink or toilet, the water to your house should be turned off before removing these fixtures.
Step 2: Removing Tiles
Once it’s cleared, you can start tearing up the tiles. This is the easy part of the job. If none are broken lightly hit one with a hammer by a wall to start lifting them. Be careful of any sharp edges.
Step 3: Prepping the Underlayment
Once all the tiles are off the floor and disposed of, it’s time to access the underlayment. This is a sheet of plywood that is commonly placed underneath tiling. Occasionally tiles are attached directly to a concrete floor, but this is rare. If the underlayment is damaged it needs to be replaced before continuing on. If it is in good condition, it’s time to clear off any debris. Sweep thoroughly for dirt and small tile pieces. You also should remove any extra nails that you come across.
Step 4: Prepping for the Tiles
Once you're sure that the floor is in good condition, mix thin set mortar in a bucket to the recommendations of the brand. Create reference points before spreading the mortar with the thin side of the trowel in 3ft x 3ft patches. Then comb the mortar with the toothed side of the trowel to ensure an even application. Any excess can be removed and re-added to the bucket.
Step 5: Laying the Tiles
Use your references when lying the first tile, often along a wall or in the corner of the room is best. Pressing the tiles and gently twisting them ensure the best set. Place a tile spacer at the edges of the first tile and lay the second one next to it. Continue on like this. Upon finishing a section use a level and rubber mallet to level the tiles.
Step 6: Continuing
Gently remove any excess mortar you find. Make adjustments as you go to ensure that the tiles are straight.
Step 7: Cutting Tiles
In tight corners or rooms that are not true rectangles, it will be necessary to cut tiles to make them fit. It these cases make a mark of the line on the tile and then make a relief cut along that line. Break off the pieces with tile clippers before smoothing down the edges with aluminium sandpaper. At this point, you lay the tiles just like the rest.
Step 8: Filling the spaces
Once all the tiles are down, let it sit undisturbed for 24 hours. After this time has elapsed you can mix the grout according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Remove the tile spacers before applying the grout in the spaces between the tiles. Remove as much excess as possible and then let it dry for 20 minutes. At this point you can use a sponge to clean the grout off of the tiles. It takes around 72 hours for the grout to be fully set. After three weeks you can also seal it for more protection.