outside floor tiles in orange colour

If you are currently on the first step of your tiling journey, you are at the right place. In this article, you will find everything you need to know about the process to make it a success.

We will guide you through the optimal way of creating a new tile floor – from laying the first tile to the finishing touch to the floor surface. You will feel much more confident about the tiling process at your home or business property after you finish reading this blog post.

Dark colour floor tiles with diferent round shapes patternsImage Source: Freepik.com

What tools and materials do you need?

Laying floor tiles is not a complicated task but requires specialised knowledge and specific materials. That’s why it’s usually best to hire a company that spesialises in floor tiling services.

However, if you decide to do it on your own, the first and most important material you will need is, of course, the tiles. 

Maybe you like natural stone tiles or tiles with marble effect? Do you want larger tiles or small ones? Do you want tiles to have an extravagant shape or be perfectly square? 

After choosing floor tile design, you must ensure that you have all the rest of the tools that you need. 

Here’s a summarised list:

  • Liquid waterproofing 
  • Tile adhesive or ready-mixed adhesive
  • Towel sponge 
  • Rubber spatula 
  • Tile scribe
  • Metal trims
  • Tile nipper
  • Drill hole kit 
  • Bucket and damp sponge or damp cloth
  • Rubber mallet 
  • Flexible sealant
  • Tile spacers
  • Notched trowel
  • Masking tape
  • Grout float 
  • Grout finisher 
  • Grout’s joint 
  • Electric cutter or manual cutter

Red orange gray and white floor tile patternImage Source: Freepik.com

How do we measure and plan the layout?

Before you lay floor tiles, it is essential to measure and plan the layout precisely. 

Here are some simple steps to do so:

  • Measure the floor – Use a measuring tape to determine an area’s length and width accurately.
  • Calculate square footage – Multiply the length and width to calculate the square-meter floor area. For instance, if the dimensions are 10 by 12 meters, the total area is 120 square meters.
  • Plan ahead – Buy extra tiles that you can use for cutting in case of any mistakes that may occur during installation or to keep for future repairs. You should always buy more, even if you know exactly how many tiles you need.
  • Calculate quantity – Divide the total floor area by the area of one tile to determine the number of tiles required. For example, for a 120 sq. m. floor, you need 120 tiles if each tile covers one sq. m.
  • Plan the layout – Plan the layout of tiles before installation, and take tile size, pattern, and orientation into account before you apply adhesive.
  • Rehersive tiling – Lay out tiles without adhesive to adjust and visualise the layout.
  • Tiling – Start tiling from the centre of the room outward, putting every next tile to the nearest whole tile. Follow the reference lines by applying a thin layer of adhesive and placing a tile firmly on top of it until there is no empty space for a tile left.

Broken floor tiles in differnet shapes and patternsImage Source: Freepik.com

How do you prep the floor?

Make sure to organise the tile file before starting the installation process. Before you begin, apply a diluted PVA adhesive to the surface to improve adhesion and durability.

Follow a few simple steps to prep the floor for placing new tiles:

  • Remove existing floor tiles – It doesn’t matter if you tile wooden or concrete floors. You should prepare the surface. Use a pry bar, hammer, utility knife and floor scraper to remove existing flooring and prepare a clean surface for your work.
  • Clean and level the subfloor – Use a vacuum cleaner or any other necessary cleaning tools for this step. Remove all dirt and dust, ensuring a smooth and even surface.
  • Install a cement backer board (if necessary) – If you install tiles over an unstable surface or a wooden subfloor, you will need a tile backer board. Use a circular saw to cut the backer board and secure it to the subfloor with a screwdriver or drill.
  • Apply a waterproof membrane (if necessary) – Waterproofing is crucial for preventing damage to bathroom or kitchen floors. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions to apply the membrane using a brush or roller and trim the excess with a utility knife.
  • Layout and mark guidelines – Start by using a chalk line to create guidelines. Measure and mark the centre of the room, then snap chalk lines to form a grid pattern that will guide you through the installation process.

tiles in blue yellow and white colours with different patternImage Source: Freepik.com

Where to set the first tile?

The first row of tiles in a room sets the level for the entire space. Setting it right is the most essential step in the project because it ensures the proper alignment of the tiles. 

Starting from the centre and working towards opposite walls is the best way to achieve symmetry in the tile placement.

To find where to put the centre tile, measure the length and width and mark the midpoints. Then, you can create a dry layout by placing tiles in both directions from the centre point, which will allow you to visualise the final arrangement and make adjustments if needed. 

You are now all set to begin tiling

How do you tile the entire floor?

Firstly, mix the adhesive according to the manufacturer’s instructions until you have a smooth consistency. Then, using a notched trowel, spread the adhesive onto the floor, covering the area that can accommodate several tiles simultaneously.

Continue laying on top tile by tile, firmly pressing them onto the adhesive. Periodically check with the spirit level to ensure tiles are flat and in a straight line. When all the tiles are laid, give them time to dry before grouting. 

blue and gold mosaic tilesImage Source: Freepik.com

Where do you start when tiling a bathroom floor?

When tiling a bathroom, it’s best to start with the walls before moving on to the floor. 

Begin by planning the layout to ensure consistency in the design and account for any fixtures or features. Clean and prepare the wall surfaces and apply primer if needed. Begin tiling from the centerline and work your way outward and upward.

Ensure that the first row is straight and levelled. You can use spacers to maintain consistent spacing between the tiles. If you need to fit tiles around fixtures and corners, cut them accordingly. Once you have tiled the walls, you can tile the floor. 

When tiling only the bathroom floor, it is recommended to begin from the centre of the room and gradually move towards the walls. This approach ensures that the tiles are evenly distributed and that any cut tiles at the edges of the room are symmetrical, which enhances the overall visual appeal of the bathroom floor.

a beautiful bathroom with tiled floor after a DIY renovation by a homeowner in IrelandImage Source: Unsplash.com

How do you lay tiles in a visually appealing way?

What is the correct way to execute a DIY tiling project

The aesthetic beauty of the tile surface arrangement is of utmost importance. The arrangement of the tiles is significant not only for their beauty to the eye but also for their stability. 

Here are some things you should take into account:

  • Standard-shaped room – With the correct shape of the room, you can start laying the tiles from the midpoint and work towards the edges. This will create a sense of symmetry and completion. Also, the cut-edge tile will be the same size at the edges, making the project look polished and successful.
  • Irregular-shaped room – The tiling starts with whole tiles in the direction from the most visible part of the room to the opposite side. Thus, where you may have to cut tiles at the end of the room, it will not be in the “visible” part of the room, and aesthetically, the floor will look good.
  • Room with irregular walls – Laying tiles on a floor in a room that lacks perpendicular walls seems more complicated, but rest assured, it is not. You can start laying whole tiles from the right corner that joins two walls. If there are no such walls with a right angle, it is best to start laying the tiles from the wall on which the room door is. This way, you will again achieve symmetry and aesthetic beauty.

How to grout?

You have arranged your tiles. After drying the solution (about a day), you must fill the gaps with grout. This is a crucial process and must be carried out with particular care because the precise application of the grout determines the finished look of your tiles.

You can choose the grout at any hardware store according to the colour of your tiles. It is sold in a mixed, ready-to-use form and in the form of a dry ingredient that you must mix with water until a uniform mass is obtained.

Before applying the grout, clean the tiles well, paying attention that the gaps between them and the corners are not stained with adhesive. The grouting solution is applied evenly with a rubber trowel in the gaps between the tiles. 

After partial drying, wiping it with a damp construction sponge is necessary. Next, run a piece of plastic cable thicker than the joint along all the joints, evenly pressing in the grout.

outside floor tiles in orange colourImage Source: Freepik.com

You have to pay particular attention to the grouting between the floor tiles and the wall tiles, as well as the grout lines in the tile joints and the floor joints.

You must mainly inspect for missing spots and re-grout them. After the joints have dried, you must clean the tiles with a dry rag – once or twice. If you have a construction vacuum, you can vacuum the dust.

Then you wipe with a damp cloth once or twice again until the grout traces disappear and your floors are ready!

Do you need professional services?

A professional flooring contractor is someone qualified in the installation, renovation, and maintenance of tiled floor coverings. The professional tiling expert is also familiar with all the materials, techniques and solutions for floor tiling.

The tile flooring is challenging and precise work. Every detail in the process must be carefully planned and taken into consideration. 

A professional tiler team, like the one we have at IVCG Renovations, will manage every aspect of your project, save you time and money, and ensure the quality of the materials and the job.

It is always better to have professionally executed work than to try doing something for the first time and create double trouble for yourself. 

In case you are experienced and have knowledge and security in your tiling abilities, it is okay to do such a job yourself. However, if you don’t, feel free to contact IVCG for an on-site consultation free of charge in Cork or Galway.

Frequently asked questions

What should I put on the floor before tiling?

Underlayment is the material placed on top of the subfloor that assists in installing the tile or other flooring.

Why should I start from the middle of the room when tiling the floor?

When it comes to floor tiles, starting from the centre of the room will make your job easier, and the tiling pattern will be symmetrical.

Is it hard to tile your floor alone?

Tiling your floor can be moderately challenging if this is your first time doing it. It requires careful preparation, measuring, cutting tiles, applying adhesive, and ensuring proper alignment.