Tile Laying Guide
If you've got the time and are willing to put in a little elbow grease then there is absolutely nothing stopping you from installing your new tile flooring all by yourself. Not only will you save some hard earned cash by not paying a trade professional to fix up your kitchen or bathroom but everyday you will be filled with pride as you enjoy your own handy work. Now you may be thinking "How do I even install tile flooring?" or "What if I make a mistake?" but theres no need to worry as with a small investment in the proper tools to help guide you through the process and a little patience you'll feel like a Tile Laying Master in no time!
What tools do I need to lay tiles?
At TCO, we only like to recommend the brands that we trust when we're giving advice on how to get a job done so when it comes to tiling tools our in-house favourite is OX Tools. This premium brand is loved by trade professionals for a reason, they produce high quality equipment which can be endlessly and easily re-used which will keep costs down if you're tiling more than one room since you'll only need to buy new materials.
Our Recommended Tool & Equipment List:
OX Pro Tile Level System Wedge & Spacer Kit with Pliers
OX Pro Notch Trowel - 115mm x 280mm
OX Pro Profiled Sponge Float - 140mm x 280mm
OX Pro Soft Grip Grout Float - 240mm x 100mm
OX Pro Heavy Duty Flexi Tub
How do I lay tiles?
Using the equipment above makes laying tiles so easy that all you need to do to enjoy yourself is embrace the fact that you are now a Tiling Trade Pro so make yourself a nice strong cup of tea, put on an old pair of jeans and get that radio blasting to drown out your dreadful karaoke!
Step One - Mixing the Tile Adhesive
By following the instructions on your Tile Adhesive mix together the ingredients in the OX Pro Heavy Duty Flexi Tub till you reach the recommended consistency. If you have a large area that you plan to tile then we recommend you buy the larger flexi bucket as this means you will only need to mix the adhesive once.
Step Two - Applying the Adhesive
Once the adhesive is mixed, apply an even layer of adhesive over the area where you intend to lay the tiles using the flat edge of your OX Pro Notch Trowel. Once you have a relatively even layer use the notched side of your trowel to create ridges in your adhesive so that it looks like a potato field. When purchasing your OX Pro Notched Trowel you should purchase a smaller notched variation if your tiles are flat and very even but if your tiles are large or uneven then you should purchase a trowel with larger notches. If you are unsure what size of notch you need we would recomend buying a larger notched variation to be safe but this does mean you will end up using more adhesive.
Please note, if you are tiling a large area then we recommend doing a small section (approximately 1m²) before moving on to the next step to allow yourself to take plenty of breaks - remember you are a trade pro now.
Step Three - Laying the First Tile
This is where it begins to get exciting. Starting in the corner of your area firmly place your first tile into the adhesive by giving it a little wiggle as you straighten it out. It is very important that you make sure that this tile is aligned properly since all your other tiles will take their alignment from this first one. This reason is why we recommended starting in the corner of your area so that you can use existing walls as alignment aids but if this is not possible then you may need to use a Try Square to ensure that your tiles will be squared up properly.
Step Four - Laying the Rest of the Tiles
Now it's time to get out your OX Pro Tile Level System since this will help you evenly space your tiles whilst ensuring that they are all flat. First take the tile spacer (the clear plastic square) and slide the two feet on one side of the spacer underneath this first tile so that it stands up straight and resembles a tiny little window frame - depending on the size of your tiles you may need to use more than one of these for each edge. Now place your next tile on top of the two feet on the other side of the spacer so that the spacer should now look like a tiny little football goal. Make sure that the tiles are pushed right up against the spacer as this will ensure that all your tiles are spaced by exactly the same distance. Next using the pliers and a blue wedge slide the wedge into the spacer until it feels firmly in place - this will ensure that your tiles are flat. Congratulations you have just layed your first two tiles and they are perfectly spaced and flat so now all you have to do is repeat this process until your entire area is beautifully tiled. We recommend that you regularly check that your tiles are still aligned properly as placing down new tiles could easily nudge your already layed tiles out of place especially if you did not have a wall to help with the placement of your first tile.
Step Five - Give your Tiles a Wipe
Before rushing off to enjoy your break whilst waiting for your tile adhesive to set we recommend using a dampened OX Pro Profiled Sponge Float to wipe off any tile adhesive which has found it's way onto the surface of your tiles as this will be much harder to do once it has set. Once you have finished this however then it can be lunchtime as you'll need to let the tile adhesive set before moving on to the next step.
Step Six - Grouting you Tiles
Good lunch? Now that the tile adhesive has set it's time to fill the gaps between your tiles with grout. To do this simply apply a some grout to your OX Pro Soft Grip Grout Float and smother this over the gaps between your tiles - don't worry about being neat this is part of the plan. Once your satisfied that you have filled the gaps sufficiently with grout use your dampened OX Pro Profiled Sponge Float to wipe off any excess grout which has not filled in the gaps. Now it's time to take your final tea break for the day, maybe finish reading the paper and wait for the grout to dry.
Step Seven - Show and Tell EVERYONE
There's no point doing a great job yourself if theres no-one to show off to about it. So now it's time to invite all of your friends and family round for a "insert fake event here" and maybe leave some traps to force your guests towards your handy-work. Now just wait for that first guest to bite on how good your new tiles look before humbly explaining how you did it all yourself and bask in your moment as you watch the crowds gather, silenced by your great tale about how you a humble DIYer layed down your own tiles.
Drywall and plastering hand tools from our manufacturer OX Tools can help make any construction or repair job easier. Browse drywall tools, OX speedskim and more at TCO. Have a doubt? Have a live chat, and we'll try to answer your answer.