The Tool Barn

Installing Floor Tile

Installing floor tile is a project that any dedicated do-it-yourselfer can accomplish. Tile stands up to a lot of abuse as well as the cleaning necessary for kitchens, bathrooms and entry halls.

The only downside is that things that fall on floor tiles usually break. This project describes how to install glazed, ceramic floor tiles. More porous tiles like terra cotta may require additional steps.

To start with, you have to make a few design decisions:

The first one is to select the tile that appeals to you. This is the part of the project that I can't help you with. If you are as bad as I am at choosing colors it is a good idea to seek help. One note: places like Home Depot normally have fairly plain tile. If you want something unique, you will likely have to go to a tile store.

The second decision is the color of the grout. The coloring of the grout should complement the tile color. If possible, go with a darker grout as stains are less likely to show.

The third design decision is the orientation of the tile. Tile may be put down in any orientation but the most common are parallel to the wall or at a 45 degree angle to the wall. Note that angled designs are harder to layout.

The fourth design decision is the space that you will allow between the tile. Spacers are available from 1/16" to 1/4". Look at other floors to help determine what you like. The width of the grout line will determine whether you need sanded or non-sanded grout. Non-sanded grout should only be used when the grout will fill a gap 3/16" or smaller. Sanded grout may also be used on 3/16" grout lines but nothing smaller.

Spreading grout on floor tile

Spreading grout on floor tile

Level of Difficulty

Time Required:
 8 hours
Rubber float
Utility knife
Sponge float
Notched trowel
Screw driver
Tape measure
Tile cutter
Floor tile
Galnevized screws
Thinset or mastic
Self-leveling compound
Safety Precautions
Tile edges may be sharp.

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