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DIY: Install Your Own Floor Tiles

Any home requires a functional floor that’s built to withstand foot traffic and scratches from everyday wear and tear. The best product on the market that will achieve this clean and durable look in your home: tiles. They come in a variety of patterns and designs to suit any style and space. Before you check out our database of experts, why not consider making your next flooring project a do-it-yourself? We’ll help you. Here’s what you need to know before you begin.

Tile Options

Yes, you have options when it comes to tile! The two most common types of tile on the market are ceramic and porcelain. Here’s an overview of both products so you can make an informed decision of what to install in your home:

Ceramic

  • Made from a mixture of clay that are pressed into shape.
  • Stain resistant
  • Fire resistant
  • Colour won’t fade from sunlight
  • Slip resistant
  • Easy to clean.
  • Ideal for both the floor and a wall.

Porcelain

  • Made from a much finer clay than ceramic.
  • Resistant to moisture, making it an ideal choice for a basement.
  • Tough and retains its colour over time.

Tiles are rated on a class level to help consumers determine which tile should be used for where:

Class 0

Wall tile. Therefore, should only be used on a wall and not on floors.

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Class 1

Very light traffic. Tile should be installed in an area of the home with light foot traffic where typically a homeowner will be walking barefoot, like an ensuite bathroom.

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Class 2

Light traffic. Floor tile suitable for areas of the home that are not subjected to a lot of foot traffic, like a second floor bathroom.

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Class 3

Light to moderate traffic. Any residential area with exception of spaces where high traffic is expected, like a kitchen.

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Class 4

Moderate to heavy traffic. Residential areas where high foot traffic is expected and dirt may be tracked.

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Class 5

Heavy Traffic. Ceramic tile suggested for residential or commercial spaces with heavy foot traffic.

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Properly-installed tiles will last for years, so why not start this DIY project right away? Here’s a list of the supplies you’ll need:

  • Level
  • Goggles
  • Carpenter’s square
  • Sponge
  • Rags
  • Rubber grout float
  • Pencil
  • Tape measure
  • Hammer
  • Notched trowel or spreader
  • Buckets
  • Tile cutter or tile saw
  • Rubber gloves
  • Knee pads
  • Grout
  • Tiles
  • Tile adhesive
  • Silicone caulk
  • Silicone grout sealer

 

Prepare Before You DIY

Vacuum the floor you’ll be working on. Clear out any debris left over from construction, as any dust and dirt will prevent the mortar from sticking to the subfloor. You’ll want to remove tiles from the different boxes they were packaged in and randomly mix them up. This ensure minor colour differences don’t form an unwanted pattern as you’re laying the fresh tile down. Floor tiles should be laid with the first tile centered in the middle of the floor and working outward. Once the tile has been unpacked, mix the mortar in a bucket. Follow the instructions listed on the package; it will help you determine the right consistency needed before it get applied to the subfloor.

If you’re having some trouble visualizing how to actually do the project, check out this video:

Laying the Groundwork

  • Once the mortar is mixed to the right consistency, begin spreading the mortar on the subfloor at the cross point in the middle of the room.
  • Spread the mortar with the thin side of the trowel. You’ll want to spread enough to create an area the size of 3 feet by 3 feet.
  • Hold the trowel at a 45 degree angle for control.
  • Comb the mortar in one straight line. This will ensure its applied to the floor evenly.
  • Apply the mortar using the notched side of the trowel held at a 45 degree angle.
  • Comb the mortar in one straight direction to ensure uniform application.

Begin the Tile Work

  • Lay the first tile at the crossing of the reference lines. Press the tile lightly into the mortar to ensure it sets.
  • Place tile spacers at the edges of the first tile (these are typically included with purchased tiles).
  • Continue laying tiles in the same manner along the reference lines and add spacers.
  • After you’ve completed a few sections, use a carpenter’s level to level the tile properly.
  • Remove excess mortar with a damp sponge or cloth.
  • Continue applying mortar and laying tile in small work sections.
  • If you’re nearing a corner or space that requires a tile to be cut, use your measuring tape to determine how much of the tile needs to be cut.
  • Carefully use the tile cutter to cut tile to the right size and place on top of the mortar.
  • The floor should set for 24 hours before you begin the next step in this DIY flooring process.

Grout the Tiled Floor

Now that your tiles are set, it’s time to grout the floor. But don’t worry – the tile spaces show you exactly where the grout needs to go!

  • Remove the tile spacers from between each tile.
  • Mix the grout according to package instructions.
  • Apply the grout between the tiles with a rubber grout float.
  • Be sure to remove excess grout quickly.
  • Grout should dry for about 20 minutes.
  • After it’s dry, wipe down the lines with a sponge and some water to finally set the grout.
  • Since the floor is fresh, try to avoid foot traffic on the floor for at least 72 hours.
  • Consider applying a grout sealer to the joints to ensure it lasts.

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Congratulate yourself on a job well done! It’s not an easy task, but the end product looks great. Is this DIY not for you? That’s not a problem. Let us put you in touch with a tile expert who can help you with your next flooring project.

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