Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Who knew...

I was a natural at tiling!!

Here are step by step instructions
for any amateur to become a tiling professional. :)

Working as the lead designer for Daltile in their stone division is one of the many downfalls of being in my industry.  You always see the latest and greatest materials to use in home remodeling. Which leaves the wheels turning as to where you can utilize that material in your own home.  My home is still fairly new.  I built it 4 years ago, and the remodeling bug got the best of me in January of this year. Being the independent girl that I am, and by independent I mean CHEAP, I decided I could totally do it all myself. I started with paint.   So off to Home Depot I went. After numerous cans of paint samples and paint test strips all over my walls (you have to see them at different times of the day to see how the light hits them), I was FINALLY able to select colors and the painting commenced. The only room I painted was my master bedroom. I have vaulted ceilings with walls climbing as high as 16 ft. Talk about terrifying painting those bad boys!! But I managed to survive and it turned out beautiful.
  • Supplies needed for tile:
  • Tile saw
  • Tile
  • Uncoupling Mat
  • Grout
  • Thinset
  • 1/4" V notched trowel
  • 1/4" by 1/4" Square notched trowel
  • Grout Float
  • Disposable Buckets
  • Mixing Paddle
  • Sponge
  • Margin Trowel
  • Spacers
  • Knee Pads (ALWAYS USE KNEE PADS!!!!)

After painting, I purchased the tile and got to work tearing out all the carpet on my upper floor, (the living room, master bedroom, closet, and also a small landing in between flights of stairs.) Total square footage was a little over 550 ft.

SIDENOTE: When ordering tile always estimate a 10% waste factor. This will save you if a tile ever breaks or chips down the road or if some pieces come in with chipped corners and such. (Lets be real, we all know FRAGILE means soccerball to the FedEx and UPS employees!!! KIDDING KIDDING!! My company doesn't use either company to ship!!!)

Remove all carpet, carpet pad, and tack strips.  Also make sure to pull out all staples that are in the subfloor. You need a smooth surface if you want all your tile to be even. And for all my fellow wine-o's out there, wine is a must when doing an home renovation project.
Now on to the more tedious steps. First you must lay your underlayment. Whether you choose a metal lath, Hardi Backer, or an uncoupling mat (my personal favorite) this step is very important!! I went with Laticrete's Strata Mat.

Step 1: Lay out and cut mat (puzzle side up, cloth side down) to length of floor. You will be setting the mat OPPOSITE of the direction your subfloor runs to add strength, durability, but also to help with flex purposes.

Step 2: Sweep and prep subfloor.

Step 3: Get disposable buckets from Home Depot and also have a power drill handy that can handle a 1/2" chuck bit. You will need a mixing paddle, similar looking to a giant handy mixer attachment. Mix thinset with water (Consistency should be similar to that of peanut butter) The thinset I used was VersaBond Grey from Customs.

Step 4: Using a 1/4" V notch trowel, spread thinset out on subfloor. Keep trowel at a 45 degree angle while spreading out thinset to allow adequate depth. Smash mat down as you progress.

Step 5: Once all the mat is down you will need to stay off of it for 24 hours. HOWEVER keep an eye on all edges. If you notice them lifting, weigh them down with a heavy object. AGAIN you want a smooth, even surface for the upcoming tile. (I unfortunately forgot to take a picture of the finished mat prior to tile, but attached is one with some tile set to it.)

Next comes the actual tile. First you want to figure out your layout. Based on my room size and flow pattern, the easiest way to start my tile was in the corner by my bedroom door. This area continued out into my living room, so there would be no transition bar. Step 1: Again you start out by mixing thinset, same type, same consistency. Step 2: Using a 1/4" by 1/4" square notch trowel, spread thinset on top of uncoupling mat. **KEYNOTE!! Don't spread this too wide, as you will need to scrap off any excess when you have reached a stopping point. FLAT EVEN surface is ALWAYS needed!!!! Hold trowel at a 45 degree angle again when dispersing the thinset out.
Once thinset is spread you want to place your tile. I was lucky enough to be working flush with a wall, so I had something stable to press my tile against to guarantee straight lines. As you place tiles, always working in the same direction, row by row, you will need to use spacers. I used horseshoe (U shaped) spacers in a 1/8". Spacers guarantee that the tile will be equally spaced throughout the entire project.  Different spacer sizes will allow you different grout joint sizes.  I personally like minimal grout joints, but "Butt Jointing" was not an option.  Tile must have a guaranteed straight cut edge for a butt joint option. These tiles unfortunately did not.
You will have to measure tiles to keep pattern looking even. I set mine in an alternating length, so each new tile started at the half way point of the last. For example the tiles I used were 7x20 (actually 7" x 19 and 1/2") so each new tile started 10 and 1/4" down the previous. Continue laying tile until entire floor is covered. :) You will need to eyeball that your tiles are flush on depth. If you want to get fancy you can use a level. I just eyeballed mine though. This entire process takes FOREVER!!! Trust me!!!
                                        (Thanks for the sweet photobomb dear puppies!!!)

  Once all the tile is set and dried the joys of grouting begin. I used a pretty advanced grout, Custom's Fusion grout in Natural Grey. I chose this grout because it is completely crack resistant, stain resistant and doesn't need to be sealed like any other cementitious, urethane or epoxy grout. It also comes pre-mixed, so that cuts down on some prep time. Prior to grouting your floor, clean the area really well and allow it to dry. When applying grout do small sections, I usually did 3'x3' sections at a time. Using grout float apply grout to floor and smash into spaces using an "X" pattern. Crisscross, back and forth. Your wrists will hate you after awhile of this!!! Once you get the grout into all the crevices, take a sponge and some clean water and start wiping clean.

**VERY IMPORTANT!! Do NOT allow the grout to dry on the tile. This will leave a haze that is extremely hard to get off. Gently wipe clean until all excess grout is removed, then move onto your next section.

Allow the grout to dry for at least 8 hours before walking on or moving furniture back into each room.  Enjoy your new tile!

1 comment:

  1. What is the name of the tile you used? It looks like aged wood. Great job! Thanks for sharing your ideas about tiling.


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