Bathroom Tile Installation And Repair

A step-by step instruction manual for the person who wants to install new tiles in the bathroom.

Tiling your bathroom will give it a new look, fresh and clean, and it will last for years to come. To choose the tile, make sure that the colour will match that of your decor, or redecorate based on the colour you choose for the new floor. If you want to tile your bathroom floor there are a number of materials you should have at hand. Tiling is not as hard as you might think, and you can save a lot of money by doing it yourself. If you do choose a professional to do the job, make sure he is a registered contractor since many people will pose as qualified enough to do the job and then don't do it correctly and to your specifications.

Materials and tools needed:

You will need a notched trowel, a roller or rolling pin, a chalk line, a putty knife, odourless mineral spirits, a heat gun, floor covering adhesive, and the replacement floor tiles of your choice.

Removing the existing (old) floor:

First start by heating the existing tiles with the heat gun. Warm up one tile at a time to loosen the adhesive, and use the putty knife to pry the old tile up. Since this process will release toxins into the air, wear a sanding respirator to protect yourself against dangerous fumes. If your old tiles are made of asphalt with asbestos fibres, have a professional remove them for you since asbestos poses a health risk. Another choice is to just tile over the existing floor. Only do this if do not mind the increased height, so make sure by staking two tiles on top of each other to check whether the new height of the floor is something you can live with. To remove the rest of the adhesive from the floor, use the mineral spirits. Use the putty knife to scrape the old adhesive from the floor.

Drawing guidelines:

Before you draw the guidelines make sure you measure the exposed mortar to see if it is level with a marking line. If it isn't level, you will need to spread more mortar on the floor to make it even. Use the marking line as a guide and apply the mortar according to the manufacturer specifications. Separate your room into four equal, perpendicular quadrants. Measure for each midpoint between the four walls and use a chalk line between each parallel wall. Make sure that you have a 90-degree angle at the centre of the room. As an alternative method use the diagonal tile installation, where you snap the chalk lines from corner to corner, and you still end up with perpendicular lines in the centre of the room. Use the dry tiles to see how many will fit and make small markings lines between the marks made previously. Take into account the spacing between the tiles as well. Remember you can cut your tiles around the edges where the floor meets the wall to make them fit.

Spreading the adhesive:

You can use an adhesive such as DAVCO tile cement that is first spread in one quadrant of the floor. Spread it to the thickness specified by the manufacturer. Use to trowel to spread the cement. If the floor is almost even you can use more cement to lift the floor to make it straight instead of using the mortar, so use the measuring line while you work. Apply the adhesive at the back of the tile as well, and lay the tile. Start in the centre of the room where the chalk lines intersect. Use the measuring line to check the horizontal level to check if the tile is level and push it down on the higher points if needed. Check the horizontal level for each tile as you lay them. Use the line to monitor the longitudinal alignment with he line or laser level and the transverse alignment by using the cross-heads. Make the spacing between the tiles equal and use the first row of tiles as a guide to lay the second line. Do not slide the tiles since the adhesive would start to ooze at all the connections, so if you laid the tile incorrectly, lift it carefully at the edges and drop it again to the correct place. As you start to work on the next quadrants, you need to kneel on the already installed quadrants. This might be bad if the adhesive isn't already dry so use a large wooden piece or plywood to help distribute your weight.

Fitting the border tiles:

Where the tile meets the wall, you will need to make sure that the tile is smaller so it fits correctly. First measure each time you need a wall-bordering piece since the tile might need different measurements if the bathroom isn't perfectly symmetrical. Cut the tile in the back using a utility knife and place another tile on top of it to use as a guide to make the line straight. The use of the cardboard template is recommended for first time tile layers, especially for the corner tiles. The tile can then be pushed against a wall to break it in the marked place. This might take some practice since the cut with the utility knife needs to be deep enough. If you are lucky you can just cut the tiles in half and use the other half for the next time you need a tile to meet the wall.

Using the roller pin:

After you are finished with the tiles, you need to use the roller pin to make sure all the air between the tile and floor is pressed out and so the tiles will adhere better to the floor. You need to roll the pin in both directions and do not walk on the tiles until the adhesive is set. You can use a piece of plywood to be able to roll the entire floor since then your weight is distributed evenly among many tiles. Make sure you wipe any excessive adhesive that might ooze out from between the towels away with a damp towel. If any adhesive is on top of the tiles also use the damp towel to get rid of it before it dries to ensure the tiles keep their original shine.

Now that you know everything to start to tile, you can go shopping for the perfect one. Tiling your own bathroom will not only save you money; it will also give you the proud satisfaction of having accomplished something great. As you gain more experience you can start laying the tile in patterns or even make elaborate mosaics to show off you new skill.

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