Your Tile Installation Resource
A successful tile installation guarantees years of trouble-free performance and increases your home’s value and beauty. To properly install tile, careful planning is important. For the best results we recommend following the steps below.
Carefully read all instructions before beginning your tile installation. If you have any questions, please call us for assistance. Some of our locations even hold seminars on installing your own tile, contact your local showroom for upcoming seminars.
Installing ceramic tile requires a variety of tools. Before beginning your tile installation, please check with your local showroom about purchasing or renting any specialized tools you may not already have.
Variation of shade and texture is an inherent characteristic of ceramic tiles. For a blended effect, mix tiles from several cartons as you set.
Tile ceilings before walls.
Tile walls before floors.
Tile countertops before backsplashes.
It is important to use the correct mortar or adhesive for a particular substrate (surface) in order to ensure a proper bond. Before setting your tiles, select the correct adhesive by consulting the following charts:
|Wall Substrates||Recommended Adhesives|
|Drywall / Green Board / Exterior Grade Plywood / Existing Tile||Wall Tile Adhesive Type I|
|Cement Board / Concrete||Multi-purpose mortar|
|Other||Remove or overlay with 1/2” exterior grade plywood or cement board|
|Floor Substrates||Recommended Adhesives|
|Concrete Slab / Cement Board||Thinset Mortar I|
|Existing Tile / Exterior Grade Plywood||Floor Tile Adhesive Type I or multi-purpose mortar|
|Vinyl (sheet or tile) / Particle Board||Remove or overlay with 1/2” exterior grade plywood or cement board|
|Countertop Substrates||Recommended Adhesives|
|3/4” Plywood / Existing Tile||Wall Tile Adhesive Type I or multi-purpose mortar|
|Cement Board||Thinset mortar or multi-purpose mortar|
|Particle Board / Plastic Laminate / Other||Remove or overlay with exterior grade plywood or cement board|
Once you have chosen the proper adhesive or mortar, read all instructions and precautions on the package before using. Mix thinset or mortar according to the directions on the package. Mix only enough to be used within 30 minutes. Pre-mixed wall tile adhesives, specifically for a backsplash area, can be applied directly from the can without mixing.
Determine the appropriate type of trowel (V or square-notch) and the right size (depth of notches) for the type of tile you are setting. Refer to the setting material package for recommendations.
Spread a 1/4" thick coat of adhesive onto the surface of one grid area using the flat side of the trowel. Do not cover the guidelines. When completed, immediately use the notch side of the trowel to comb adhesive into standing ridges by holding the trowel at a 45 degree angle. Remove any excess adhesive, leaving the setting bed uniform and ridged. Spread no more area than can be set in 15 minutes.
After determining the appropriate adhesive and mortar, begin setting the tile. Start with the first tile in the corner of the grid and work outward. Set tiles one at a time using a slight twisting motion. Do not slide tiles into place. Insert tile spacers as each tile is set, or leave equal joints between tiles. Continue until all tiles within the grid are set. When grid is completely installed, tap the tiles in with a rubber mallet or hammer and wood block to ensure a good bond and a level plane.
Remove any excess adhesive from joints with a putty knife and from the face of tiles with a damp sponge before moving on to the next grid.
Each grid must be installed correctly and completely within the layout grid lines for a successful overall installation.
Measure tiles to be cut carefully and mark with a pencil or felt-tip pen. Edges that are too sharp may be smoothed with a carborundum stone. Make straight or diagonal cuts using a tile cutter. Make small curved cuts with nippers. Chip away small pieces for best results. Make full length curved cuts with a rod saw.
Soap dishes, towel bars, paper holders, etc. should be set in the spaces left out for them.
Apply a room temperature, vulcanizing silicone sealant to the back of each accessory. Position over hole and press firmly. Wipe off any excess silicone that may have leaked out from the sides.
Use masking tap to hold in place and prevent slippage during cure time. After 24 hours, remove tape and grout perimeter edges.
Before grouting joints, the tile should be well-set to prevent breaking the bond. Refer to the adhesive package for specific time. Generally, you should wait about 24 hours before grouting. Remove all the spacers used for setting. For the correct type of grout for your tile installations, refer to the following chart:
|Wall or Counter Tile|
|Joint Width||Grout Type|
|Less than 1/8”||Non-sanded|
|More than 1/8”||Fine-grain sanded|
|Joint Width||Grout Type|
|Less than 1/8”||Non-sanded|
|1/8” to 3/16”||Fine-grain sanded|
|More than 3/16”||Coarse-grain sanded|
Determine the grout color of your choice. For best results, choose on the color-coordinates with the tile.
Carefully read all instructions and precautions on the package. Mix grout according to instructions. Make only enough to use within about 30 minutes. Wear protective gloves to protect your skin.
Spread the mixed grout on the tiled surface, forcing grout down into joints with a rubber grout float or squeegee. Tilt the float at a 45 degree angle to aid the compacting action.
Remove excess grout from the surface immediately with edge of float. Tilt float at a 90 degree angle and scrape it diagonally across the tiles. Continue the process of compacting, then scraping off excess, until you have grouted for approximately 30 minutes or when the mixture begins to stiffen.
Discard stiffened grout mixture and begin cleanup procedure.
Visit a Best Tile Showroom and let our design and technical experts help you with everything from choosing the appropriate tile and grout to making sure you have all the setting materials and tools you need to complete a successful do-it-yourself job.