Laying Ceramic Floor Tiles

Ceramic tiles are made from clay dust pressed into moulds and baked at high temperatures. If you choose the option of laying ceramic floor tile, you will be using a tile that has been used for hundreds of years, since they are so durable and are capable of withstanding heavy use, they are waterproof and will not be affected by most household spillages. Many Victorian houses that have ceramic tiling look as good today as they did when they were laid. The main areas for laying ceramic floor tile are the hall, kitchen and bathroom.

Ceramic floor tiles are slightly thicker than wall tiles, they come in a variety of designs, shapes,colours and patterns, and are available either glazed or unglazed. As with any job preparation is key to getting it right, this is no different with laying ceramic floor tile. If you are laying ceramic floor tile over a concrete floor surface, you need to first repair and fill in any holes, clean any grease off the surface and sweep leaving the floor free of dust before applying a sealant.

When laying ceramic floor tiles you will need to use an adhesive recommended by the manufacturer of the tile, this will usually be a bituminous cement based or solvent based adhesive. A trowel or spreader to apply the adhesive, spacers and a tile cutter or saw. If tiling over floorboards screw loose floorboards to the joists and then cover with 12mm exterior grade plywood, make sure the screws are countersunk and then seal the plywood surface.

How many tiles will I need? you can work this out by using the tile size to find out how many tiles there are in a row, then add up the number of rows, count the tiles you will have to cut as a whole one and then allow another row for any broken tiles you might have.

The final part of your preparation when laying ceramic floor tiles is deciding which grout to use. Waterproof grout is available in many colours, and white is always a popular choice but bear in mind this tends to show up dirty marks easily. Now we are ready to start. The first thing I recommend before you start laying ceramic floor tile is that you plan your tile layout on paper, in an awkward shaped room your tiles should follow a main feature such as a run of kitchen units.

OK now we can get down to the real business of laying ceramic floor tiles. Firstly we need to find a starting point, this can be done by snapping chalk lines from the centre of each wall across to the opposite wall, where these two lines cross will be the position of your key starting tile. Dry-lay the key tile and tiles to two walls, reposition these tiles along the chalk line to prevent the cut tiles at both ends being less than a third of the full size. Remove the tiles and fix guide battens along the chalk lines, then spread the adhesive within the area using a notched trowel.

Start laying ceramic floor tiles onto the adhesive using a twisting motion, then place spacers between tiles to keep gaps even, at this point only lay whole tiles. Remove any excess adhesive. Now we can move onto the other sections of the floor and repeat the process. When this has been completed it is usually best to leave it overnight to dry. Next using a heavy duty tile cutter, cut and lay the edge tiles. Finally we can now grout the floor using a rubber bladed spreader, pressing the grout into the gaps with a grouting tool, and then wiping off the excess with a wet cloth before it sets.