Kitchens and bathrooms are known for the infinite number of beautiful tile floors they can have. And, if you’re choosing to DIY a new tile floor in your home, you already know there’s a tough task ahead of you. With these top 4 tips to getting that beautifully tiled floor, though, you can relax and be completely certain that you’ll get amazing results.
1. Before you start, prep a flat floor.
You never want to tile an uneven floor. This could give you finished tiles that want to pop out of place and cause lippage, which is just a way of saying the corners of each of your tiles won’t be even with each other. To prevent all of these annoyances, though, you can pour a self-leveling compound over spots in the floor that are lower than 1/4 inch, such as a self-leveling concrete.
Before you pour the concrete, fill as many holes as you can with caulk, so the concrete fills as evenly as possible. This type of compound also dries very quickly, so be sure to work fast while pouring it out.
2. Prep your boards, too.
Remove baseboards in the area where you are working before you start laying. This way, you don’t have to cut your edge tiles as precisely (your baseboard will cover mistakes up when you put it back), and you can spend less time measuring and more time working.
Also, set out some guide boards for you to place the tile against. It will make your life a lot easier than simple chalk lines would, and it keeps your tiles from shifting as you work farther away from the walls.
3. Slow the drying process.
You may feel tempted to try finishing the job as quickly as possible, but slower drying gives you more time to fix mistakes and achieve perfection. To give you extra drying time, you can do two specific things. First, dampen the floor and areas of leveling compound with a wet sponge before you spread out your thinset. This will keep the mixture moist and prevent it from drying up too quickly. Second, try mixing your thinset with a latex additive or agent rather than plain water. Latex additives dry a lot slower than water, and it can actually help boost the bonding capabilities between the thinset and tiles.
4. And clean up right away.
Throw all of your tools into a bucket of cold water when you’re finished laying to keep the thinset on them from sticking too quickly. Then clean the squeeze-out between your tiles with a utility knife, cutting away any excess thinset sticking through. Do this before it dries, too, to make your life a whole lot easier.
It’s a lot simpler to get perfectly tiled floors than you think. Take these tips into consideration before you work, and you can be certain you will get beautiful results.