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How to Install a Snap and Lock Tile Floor

Installing a snap together tile floor results in the look of a standard ceramic floor but without the expense, difficulty and mess. Best of all, any DIYer can accomplish this project.

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Step 1: Level the Subfloor

Determine if the subfloor is level. With the help of a friend, stretch a string across the floor in each area. If the string doesn't touch in some places when pulled, taut it to fill the low areas with floor leveling compound. Mark the low area of the floor, then spread the compound to level the floor. Allow the compound to dry before continuing.

Step 2: Spread the Underlayment

Spread the underlayment and cover the entire area. Tape the seams together to ensure an effective moisture and insulation barrier.

spread underlayment over entire area

Step 3: Install the First Row of Tile

In this project the tile comes in two tile panels and is a tongue and groove system that locks the rows together. Begin in a corner with a full double panel spacing the panel 1/4 inch from the wall. Lay the entire row, maintaining the 1/4 inch spacing from the wall. Trim the final tile to fit using a circular saw with a blade specifically made to cut this kind of tile.

"lay entire row, maintaining quarter inch spa

Step 4: Install the Subsequent Rows

Begin the second row by cutting a double panel in half. This half tile will offset the seams between the tiles and will give the floor dimensional stability. Lay the remaining rows of tile, starting every other row with a half tile and finishing each row with a tile cut to fit.

Step 5: Install the Last Row

Trim the width of the tiles to fit the last row so that there is a 1/4 inch gap between the wall and the edge of the tile. The gap will be covered by molding.

Step 6: Install the Transition Strips

When it's necessary to transition from the tile to another type of flooring or at a doorway, the manufacturer will usually provide a special transition strip. This metal track will screw to the floor about 1/4 inch from the tile and the transition strip simply snaps in place. When cutting the strips, be careful to align the grout lines together before making the cut mark.

Step 7: Grout the Tiles

Fill the gaps between the tiles with grout. Use a damp sponge to wipe off the excess, rinsing the sponge frequently.

fill cracks with grout

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