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How to Lay Floor Tiles

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Tiles are the ideal flooring choice for kitchens, bathrooms, utility rooms, and high traffic areas like hallways and entranceways. Whether for a new build or a renovation, our easy step-by-step guide will help you lay floor tiles like a pro.

Step 1

Prepare Surface

Prepare Surface

Remove all fittings and fixtures that are attached to the floor, such as the toilet, sink and cupboards. Pull up any existing floor covering such as linoleum or carpet; floor tiles need a solid base in order to prevent the grout from cracking. Never lay tiles directly onto floor boards; screw down a sheet of half inch plywood first using corrosion resistant screws.

Step 2

Plan Layout

Plan Layout

It is important to plan your tiling properly. It is unlikely that the floor will be exactly the right width and length that you will not have to cut any tiles, so planning will help you decide where cut tiles will be needed and to what size they need to be cut. Lay a cross shape of full sized, uncut tiles from one end of the room to the other. This will give you an idea of how many tiles you will need, and will help you decide where the cut tiles should go. You will want the cut tiles to have as little visual impact as possible so consider where the light comes in from a window or the positioning of the bath, toilet and cupboards. Tip: A number of different tools can be used to cut tiles, including a scoring cutter, diamond tipped saw blade, tile nippers or a handheld grinder.

Step 3

Prepare Tile Spacers

Prepare Tile Spacers

Tile spacers are used to help you space tiles out evenly, creating a professional finished look. It will be necessary to trim the tile spacers for use around the edge of the room. Carefully use a sharp knife to remove one or more of the arms as required.

Step 4

Apply Tile Adhesive

Apply Tile Adhesive

Apply tile adhesive directly to the floor with a toothed floor tile applicator. Apply adhesive to a small section at a time.

Step 5

Lay First Tile

Lay First Tile

Position the first tile into place and press down firmly on the tile with the heel of your hands. This is important to ensure the tiles will be completely flat and not sitting proud on a layer of adhesive. Tip: While tiling, avoid putting your body weight on to the newly laid tiles; give tiles 24 hours to fully set first. Always work backward towards the door to avoid working yourself into a corner.

Step 6

Lay Rest of Tiles

Lay Rest of Tiles

Position the next tile beside the first tile using the tile spacers to keep the joints uniform. Check the alignment of the tiles as you go along with a spirt level to ensure the tiles are both level and straight. Repeat steps 4 – 6 until the whole floor is tiled.