And welcome to part II of how to put down tile over sub flooring. So today I will talk about the tiling process. In my previous post I explained you how to put down HardieBacker. As mentioned in part I, hubby and I put down 1,500 SqFt of tile on our upper floor ourselves. Yes we were crazy enough to do it ourselves. It was one of the biggest projects we have tackled so far. And I am telling you guys it was insane. My knees are still not the same and I reached my limits more than once during the course of this project. But the outcome is just beautiful as you will see in the pictures below.
Put down tile – Why we picked tile
Before we dive right in let me quickly tell you why we decided to go with tile. Hubby and I are both huge fans of hardwood floors. They look beautiful and they give a specific type of warmth to the house. However hardwood floors are not as durable and they scratch fairly easy. Also, hardwood floors can be rather pricey and we didn’t want to spend too much money. Especially, not since our home is rather big. So we wanted something that would last long, and that would be somewhat cost efficient. The solution was wood-looking tile! We decided to go with a dark walnut. We found a really nice looking tile at Home Depot, and thanks to hubby’s military discount, we were able to get a pretty nice deal on them. So win-win!
Also if you want to find out how to pick the right floor check out this post here.
And now here are hubby’s instructions.
Put down tile – Layout:
- Try for wide tile pieces at perimeter, not thin tile pieces.
- Leave a 1/4” gap at perimeter and plumbing for expansion.
- Pro tip: hair spray can keep your chalk lines from fading from foot traffic.
Put down tile – Tile:
- Use “polymer-modified” thin-set to secure. Latex additive can replace water. (Note: Use Fortified Thinset” instead of the “polymer-modified” thinnest if you are putting the tile directly onto a concrete floor. Also, spray water over the concrete. The water should soak right in. If it beads up, then spray degreaser and scrub it away. Rinse off the degreaser and your good to go. If you want to ensure a great bond, you can use acid etcher which makes the concrete course & porous which promotes a better mechanical bond).
- Mix the thin-set to consistency of creamy peanut butter. Use a large sponge to add water from a separate bucket. This helps you to meter how much water you add. Let the thin-set stand for 10 minutes prior to use.
- Notches in trowel should be the same as the tile’s thickness.
- Wet HB or concrete with wet sponge prior to applying thin-set for tile.
- Lay “scratch-coat” with flat edge of trowel. Press the thin-set firmly into the HB to create a better bond. Notch at 45° in arcs. Firmly notch “straight pass” parallel to direction of tile.
- Make sure not to cover your layout lines.
- Lay tile.
- Press firmly with spread fingers & in a twisting motion while watching for “lippage” between adjacent tiles.
- Use a handheld level and rubber hammer to fix any possible lippage.
- Pick up 1st few tiles to ensure good coverage of thin-set. Half of the thin-set should be on the floor, and half on the tile.
- Keep a wet sponge nearby to wipe up any thin-set that may get on surface of tile.
- Mix boxes of tiles to avoid any coloring issues.
- Consider cleaning tile with wet sponge and sealing as you lay each section of tile.
- Let thin-set cure for 24 prior to foot traffic and laying grout.