Available at home centers and tile dealers, though most high-end tile requires ordering as much as six weeks in advance. Tiles are sold by the square foot, ranging in price from $2 to about $50. You should look for tiles with a foot-traffic rating of 3 or above (on a scale of 1 to 5). Given a set of measurements, some tile dealers will calculate how much you need, and art-tile manufacturers may make you all the tiles, in the right sizes, to order. But you can also determine the square footage yourself: Multiply the length
in inches by the width, and divide the result by 144. Then add 10 percent to that number for waste cuts.
2. ½-INCH CEMENT OR FIBER-CEMENT BACKER BOARD
to go over a plywood subfloor and create a flat, stable surface for installation.
3. CONSTRUCTION ADHESIVE
to glue backer board to the subfloor.
4. 11/4-INCH BACKER-BOARD SCREWS
to screw the backer board to the subfloor.
5. UNMIXED THINSET MORTAR
Also known as setting cement. One 50-pound bag should be enough. Do not use mastic; it
can’t take high heat.
6. LATEX ADDITIVE
to mix with the thinset, as the liquid. It improves flexibility and creates a stronger bond than a water-based mix.
7. TILE SPACERS
Porcelain tiles can have as little as a 1/8-inch gap between them, while ceramic tiles can be 3/6 to 3/8 inch apart and terra-cotta tiles can be spaced 3/4 inch apart. Handmade tiles may require special surface spacers that accommodate irregularities on the top edge. Buy spacers appropriate for your tile type and the grout lines your layout dictates.
Use sanded grout if the space between your tiles will be greater than 1/8 inch, unsanded if it’s smaller. You can also buy colored grout to more closely match your tile.