DIY Network

Kitchen Upgrade: Installing Floor Tiles

Installing floor tiles yourself can cut the cost of the process nearly in half.

More in Kitchen

installing floor tiles as a kitchen upgrade
  • Time

    Weekend

  • Price Range

    $500 - $1,000

  • Difficulty

    Moderate to Hard

Highlights:

Step 1: Follow These Tile Installation Tips:

- Plan your layout ahead of time. Where you place the first tile determines where the rest of the tiles will end up.
- Try to avoid thin or narrow cuts when you are close to the perimeter.
- The exact tile you are using may not be available in the future, so be sure you buy enough for future repairs.
- Leave about a quarter inch space around the perimeter of the tile floor to allow it to expand and contract.
- Don't let glue and grout dry on your tiles. Keep a bucket of water and sponge on hand to clean up any excess.

Safety Alert: Always wear protective eyewear when working near power tools.

Step 2: Set the Back Board to the Subfloor

To create a uniform surface and protect the tiles from damage, start on setting backer board onto the subfloor. After mixing a batch of thinset, load a liberal amount onto a grooved trowel and spreads it evenly onto the subfloor. Then, place cut segments of backer board onto the thinset and secure them with a series of screws (Image 1).

set backer board onto subfloor

Step 3: Apply the Thinset

Next, again using a grooved trowel, spread more thinset onto the backer board (Image 1). Hold the trowel at a 45-degree angle to form uniform ridges, which helps keep the tile in place via suction.

spread thinset onto backer board

Step 4: Lay the Tiles

Lay the tiles neatly onto the thinset. Use plastic spacers to keep them properly aligned (Image 1). Near walls or tricky corners, measure for cutting tile and use a wet saw to trim it to size (Image 2).

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