How to Tile a Floor
The simple secrets to installing a ceramic tile floor
Joe Ferrante has been laying tile for 30 years - many of them for This Old House - and after all this time, he's still enamored of the material. "I love tile," he says. "It's beautiful and it doesn't require much maintenance."
On a floor, these thin, fragile slices of ceramic require some special care and preparation. Otherwise, they won't survive the parade of feet through an entry or the sudden spills in a bathroom or kitchen, where floors go from bone dry to sopping wet faster than you can say "puddle."
"Anytime I approach a new job, I make sure the area about to be tiled is stiff enough so it won't flex when someone walks on it and that it can stand up to wet-and-dry cycles," says Ferrante. Installed the right way, using some basic tools and techniques, a tile floor should last forever, come hell or high water.
Tiling a Floor Overview
Strive for a layout that maximizes the number of whole tiles and the size of any cut tiles.
When awkwardly sized tiles can't be avoided, place them where vanities will cover them later or out of the main sight lines from the doorway.
You shouldn't step on any tiles until the thinset has cured for at least 24 hours.
Save until last all of the cuts requiring a wetsaw. Then rent the wetsaw for one day.