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How to Tile a Floor

Tile is a nice addition to any basement. It protects against moisture and provides a visual contrast to the rest of the house. Follow these steps on how to install a tile floor.

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tiling a basement protects against moisture Watch Video

Step 1: Clean the Floor

Clean the floor of dust and debris. This ensures the tiled surface will be level.

Tip: Check the manufacturer's instructions for tile installation before purchasing or beginning tile installation.

Step 2: Snap Chalk Lines

Measure to find the center of the room, and snap two chalk lines that intersect exactly in the center of the floor.

snap chalk lines to find center of room

Step 3: Dry Run the Tiles

Before starting the project, start with a dry run, laying out the tiles and the spacers. This determines where to start the process and helps determine the width of the grout lines.

lay out tile with spacers for dry run

Step 4: Snap Another Chalk Line

Snap an additional chalk line the width of a tile out from each wall. This will help keep the tile placement perfectly straight. Continue laying out tiles and spacers until placement is correct.

Step 5: Mix the Thin-Set Mortar

Use a self-mix thin-set mortar for the tile installation. Pour just about an entire bag of the dry mixture into a large bucket. Add just enough water to get the dry mixture wet, and begin mixing. Continue to mix until the texture is creamy. Then let the mortar stand for about 10 minutes to get tacky.

Step 6: Apply the Mortar

When the mortar is ready, begin working on one section of the floor. Spread the mixture on a 2'x2' section of the floor and use a notched trowel to obtain an even layer of mortar. Work in small sections to keep the mortar from drying before the tile is in position.

Step 7: Place the Tiles

Put the tiles in place.

work in small sections to keep mortar from drying

Step 8: Cut Odd Tiles

When you get to a wall where a standard tile will not fit, mark and make cuts with a standard tile cutter. If you don't use a tile cutter, mark the tiles and have a tile supplier cut them prior to installation.

use tile cutter to mark and make cuts on tiles

Step 9: Place the Spacers

Continue the process, using the chalk line as a guide and placing spacers between each tile to ensure uniform distance between the tiles. When all the tile work is complete, allow the tiles to dry in place for several days before grouting.

place spacers between tiles for uniformity

Step 10: Apply the Grout

Grout is available in a variety of textures and colors. Pick a color that matches the color of the tile. Use a rubber trowel or float to spread the grout across the tiles at an angle to be certain to get it between each tile.

spread grout across tiles at an angle

Step 11: Remove Excess Grout

When the gout is in place, wipe away the excess with a damp sponge or cloth. Repeat this process several times, being careful not to remove the grout lines around the tiles.

wipe away excess grout with damp sponge

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