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What are the Best Methods for Laying Tile?

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  • Written By: Malcolm Tatum
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 26 September 2016
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The process of tile installation is one that can be extremely complicated or very straightforward, depending on the strategies or methods used for the job. While professionals who are used to laying tile for a living are very well versed in the most efficient procedures, homeowners who want to do the job themselves may not be quite as knowledgeable and are likely to make the simple job much more complicated. Here are some tips for laying tile that will save a lot of time and effort.

One of the most important parts of the project will involve the proper preparation of the floor that is to receive the tile. This means that the kitchen or bathroom renovation must begin by removing existing floor coverings of all types. Once the floor coverings are removed, the floor should be cleaned thoroughly. Make sure there are no lingering traces of old adhesives or any other elements that could cause the tile to not lay flat on the surface of the floor. Allow the floor to dry completely before proceeding on to the next step.

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Many novices will begin laying tile along one wall, then progress to the opposite wall. This approach can make the final product look slightly off center, a phenomenon that will be particularly noticeable if alternating colors of tiles are used for the floor design. Instead of starting along a wall, lay the first row of tiles in the middle of the room. Measure to find the exact center of the area, and begin the tiling at that point. When you approach each wall, it is a relatively easy task to cut sections of tile to create the perfect fit.

If you are laying tile that is not of the peel and stick variety, you will need to apply adhesive to the floor. Apply an even coat over a small section of the floor, then press the tiles into place. This process works especially well with ceramic tile, but is a good idea with any tiles that are not pre-pasted. Make sure to only work on a small section of the floor at one time, with one-fourth of the space being the maximum amount. This will allow you to set the tiles in place before the adhesive dries too much and does not create the proper bond with the tiles.

As you are laying tile, make sure there are no gaps in between the individual tiles. Leaving gaps during your bathroom or kitchen renovation will make it possible for water and other liquids to seep under the tiles, causing warping and cracking at a later date. Also refrain from mopping the area for several days. This will allow the adhesive to completely dry and create the tight bond you want. If necessary, use a damp cloth to wipe up spills, followed by a dry cloth to remove any lingering moisture.

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