Tile Installation Tips From A Tile Expert (2023)

Casa parts of the house tiles

Updated: September 1, 2017

    Special tricks for special parts.

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    Tile Installation Tips From A Tile Expert (1)family handyman

    Take your mosaic skills to the next level. Learn pro tips for dealing with tricky diagonal layouts, large tiles, uneven walls, dry grout cleaning, and other tile placement issues.

    By the DIY experts at The Family Handyman Magazine

    Build a pyramid for diagonal tiles

    Tile Installation Tips From A Tile Expert (2)

    diagonal arrangement

    The usual way to tile diagonally is to mark 45 degree diagonal lines on the wall or floor. But when that angle isn't 45 degrees, like on the diamond tile you see here, getting exact lines is even harder. So we'll show you a better way: mark a single layout line and center the tiles on it, aligning the corners of the tile with the line. Build a pyramid centered on the line and use the sides of the pyramid to align each line diagonally. Check the sides of the pyramid from time to time with a ruler.

    Video: Create your own floor design

    Design planning for a tile project is often the most difficult and time-consuming step. Watch this video to see how a pro does it. You'll see how to draw chalk lines and make sure they're perfectly square. Plus, you'll learn how to avoid narrow, hard-to-cut tiles along a wall. Don't start a tile project until you see this video!

    Special mortar for large tiles

    Tile Installation Tips From A Tile Expert (3)

    Special thin mortar

    Thin grout is the best laying adhesive for most tiles. But if you're laying tiles larger than 12 x 12 inches, look for terms like "medium bed", "large tile", or "large format" on the bag tag. Larger tiles require a thicker bed and, unlike standard thin-set grout, medium-bed grout does not lose its bonding strength when laid over a thick bed. It's also firmer and shrinks less, so the tiles stay in place better as the grout sets. Medium bed grout is available at tile stores and some home centers.

    (Video) Most Amazing Ceramic Tile Installation | Workers with Tiling Skills

    Niche size to fit tile

    Tile Installation Tips From A Tile Expert (4)

    design suggestion

    If you are planning a niche in the wall, lay the tiles and take some measurements to determine the size of the niche. Custom sizing the alcove to fit between full tiles will provide a more attractive installation and avoid some cuts. With a diagonal tile layout like the one shown here, you'll get full tiles and half tiles. If the frame frames the niche, be sure to take this into account in the design.

    a symmetric niche

    By creating features like this wall niche based on the size and pattern of the tile, you can create designs that look balanced and symmetrical.

    remove lip

    Tile Installation Tips From A Tile Expert (5)

    Align the tile edges

    “Lippage” is the technical term for the jagged edges of tiles (although “@%&#” is more common). The ridge is difficult to avoid with large tiles and is easy to see with narrow grout lines or tiles with square edges rather than rounded edges. In any of these circumstances, clips and leveling wedges help lay the tiles flat. Simply slide the clip under the tile and push in the wedge. After the thin layer has hardened, break off the exposed clip. LASH brand clips are available at tile stores and some home centers.

    Tile Installation Tips From A Tile Expert (6)

    Two-Piece Alignment Clip

    The plastic tee top fits under the two adjacent tiles. The wedge then forces the edges to line up.

    Porcelain clean cuts

    Tile Installation Tips From A Tile Expert (7)

    Step 1: Scoring

    Make a shallow cut in the tile, about 1/8 inch deep. This minimizes chipping.

    Tile Installation Tips From A Tile Expert (8)

    Step 2: Slit

    Cut a final slit about 2 inches long. This prevents it from splitting as it nears the end of the main cut.

    Tile Installation Tips From A Tile Expert (9)

    Step 3: Slice

    Make the main cut as usual. Do not hurry; Slow, steady pressure creates the cleanest cut.

    (Video) Young man with great tiling skills - The most beautiful tiling PART 1

    Porcelain tiles are incredibly hard and brittle. Therefore, it often splinters along cuts or cracks before the cut is complete. Here's a three-step routine that eliminates these problems. The first step only works with saws that allow you to adjust the depth of cut. If not, you can still make the second and third cuts to avoid cracking.

    gentle stain remover

    Tile Installation Tips From A Tile Expert (10)

    cleaning assistant

    When shopping for tile supplies, make a detour to the sandpaper aisle and grab a pack of fine abrasive pads. Together with a little water, they are excellent for removing stubborn, fine stains from tiled surfaces. And they won't scratch the glossy nail polish.

    Do not trust this chart

    Tile Installation Tips From A Tile Expert (11)

    coverage guidelines

    Your slim set probably has a graphic like this on the label. Do not rely on it. The recommendations are a good starting point, but they don't guarantee a base thin and thick enough to provide full contact with the tile. And without full contact, you don't get full support or buy-in.

    As the table shows, larger tiles require larger trowel notches (to provide a thicker base). But other factors are also important: the flatness of the wall or floor or the texture of the back of the tile. So the only reliable way to know if the bed is thick enough is to lay the first few tiles and immediately lift them up. If the tile hasn't made full contact, you'll see it. The easiest solution is to use the next notch size. With tiles larger than 12 inches, it's a good idea to prime those as well. Also watch out for "pulls" during work. If you don't see foam oozing between tiles, lift a tile to check coverage.

    Get a handle on the tile

    Tile Installation Tips From A Tile Expert (12)

    fast collection

    A suction cup lets you lift a sagging tile or adjust a crooked one. Some home improvement centers and hardware stores sell them; most do not. To buy online, search for "suction cup strap". Note that they only work on smooth-faced tiles.

    Big cuts without a big saw

    Tile Installation Tips From A Tile Expert (13)

    economical tile saw

    Large tiles are popular these days, and the best way to cut them is with a large, expensive tile saw. This is the next best way: a hand saw guided by a ruler (we used a piece of plywood). The saw pictured here, along with the three-step cutting method shown above, gave us perfectly straight cuts in porcelain tile (but with some chips). A cement mixing tank picked up most of the mess.

    Absolutely Indispensable Palette

    Tile Installation Tips From A Tile Expert (14)

    margin spatula

    Tile installers use a margin trowel for everything: lifting fallen tiles, pushing out crooked tiles, cleaning grout lines, mixing small batches of thinset or grout, scooping the mix out of the bucket, and scraping up the mess. It is also an excellent back scratcher. If you're laying tile, you should have one (sold at home centers).

    (Video) Top 5 Best Tile Tools for Perfect Tiles Installation

    built-in trim

    Tile Installation Tips From A Tile Expert (15)

    depth adjustment

    If you are using tile trim, it is often necessary to "build" the trim to make it stand out from the field tile. A mosaic background strip can help you get the perfect build. Any type of backing plate will do; just cover one side with caulk or caulk and glue in place. Here, the trim wasn't thick enough to come up above the tile below, so we laid the trim over a 1/4-inch strip. fan. To make adjustments of less than 1/4 inch, you don't need a support strip; just apply a thicker layer of thin layer.

    A rag that is always there

    Tile Installation Tips From A Tile Expert (16)

    hand cleaner

    An old shirt makes cleaning your hands quick and convenient. And it keeps fine stains out of the tile. When the job is done, just throw it away. I bet you have a few shirts that must go in the trash anyway.

    Heavy duty scrubber for tools

    Tile Installation Tips From A Tile Expert (17)

    tool cleaner

    Thin-set today is much more sticky and resistant than it used to be. That's good for your tile work, but not so good for your tools. To make cleaning easier, throw a coarse sanding sponge (sold at home centers) into the bucket of water. Sand cuts thin layer or partially dried grout. And unlike rags or sponges, it won't catch the teeth of notched trowels.

    Tools needed for this project

    Have the necessary tools for this DIY project lined up before you start - you'll save time and frustration.

    • Bucket
    • mortar float
    • Level
    • tweezers
    • serrated wool
    • rags
    • Safety glasses
    • sanding block
    • Measuring tape
    • utility knife

    You will also need a tile saw, edge putty knife, abrasive pads and a suction cup.

    Materials needed for this project

    Avoid last-minute shopping trips by having all your supplies ready in advance. Here's a list.

    • alignment clips
    • fine mortar
    • teja
    • tile support
    • tile spacers

    Originally Posted: June 20, 2017

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