| Surplus Warehouse
Stephen Price

Whether your home's tile is dingy, cracked or simply outdated, laying new tile is often a key part of any kitchen or bathroom remodel.

Successfully laying tile is within the capabilities of many DIY homeowners, but proper preparation and careful planning are key in achieving the best results from your new flooring. With that in mind, here are eight key tips to help you plan, prepare and execute the flooring portion of your bathroom or kitchen remodel. 


Prepare the Subfloor First

Whether you are using stone, clay or ceramic tile, most types of tile can be installed over a number of different subfloors, including plywood subflooring, cement board and even existing tile. Professionals favor a mortar base due to its durability and level surface, but mortar can be difficult to work with. If you aren't comfortable with mortar, cement board is easier to install and still provides a stable and secure base for your tiling. 


Start in the Middle

The first step in laying out your tile is finding the middle of the room. To do so, simply measure from wall to wall in both directions and mark the middle each way. Using chalk, draw a line through each point; where they meet is your room's center.


Check Your Tile Layout Before Installing

Once you've found the center of the room, plan your tile layout by placing the tiles (beginning in the center) without adhesive. Use the chalk lines that you made as a guide. Note that adjusting the resulting layout may be ideal if doing so will help you avoid the need to cut tile. When you're happy with the tile placement, trace the center tile with chalk to mark your starting point.


Use Spacers to Ensure Proper Positioning

Maintaining the proper spacing between tiles is key to a tile floor that looks proper and professional. The easiest way to do so is with plastic spacers. Simply place a spacer at each corner of every tile as you lay the tiles on the adhesive, which will not adhere to the spacers. Check with the store that supplied your tile to ensure that you are using the proper-sized spacer for the tile you've chosen.


Only Apply Adhesive to a Small Area at a Time

No matter which adhesive you use, only apply it to a small area at a time in order to keep it from drying out. One good guideline is to apply just enough adhesive for two to three tiles at once. 


Have a Level Handy to Check That Your Surface Is Smooth

The plastic spacers you are using between each tile will help keep the tiles positioned correctly, but to ensure that the tiles are also smooth, you'll need to have a level available. Use a level that is big enough to run across several tiles at once to help confirm that the edges of the tiles are properly aligned and the surface you've created is level and smooth.


Allow the Adhesive to Set Fully Before Applying Grout

When planning your tiling project, be sure to build in enough time for the adhesive to cure properly before moving on to the next step. The curing process typically takes at least overnight, although you should check the recommendation provided by your adhesive's manufacturer to be certain.


Seal Porous Tiles Before Applying Grout

Many types of tiles don't need any treatment before applying grout. However, tiles that are unsealed or otherwise porous can be stained by grout, or grout can become stuck to the tile and impossible to clean off. For such tiles, apply a sealer to the surface before applying grout.


Lesley F. graduated from Brown University and her professional experience includes researching, assessing and aggregating real estate market statistics, such as vacancy rates, market rents, absorption, and inventory; authoring marketing materials, including pitch books, offering memoranda, and marketing reports.