3 Tips for Your First Ceramic Tile Project

Posted on March 17th, 2014 by

Although many beginners are hesitant to lay ceramic tile for the first time, it really isn’t as difficult as it looks. If you want to learn how to install ceramic tile, a small space like your bathroom floor or tub surround is a great place to start. Use these tips from the Carrollton Flooring experts at CMA to get started, and enjoy your new tile and a fresh, updated look.

  1. Know the drying times for your mortar.
    The surface you are tiling, not the instructions on the bag of mortar, is what will determine your drying times. Concrete and wood sub-floors usually take several hours or a full day to dry. However, concrete backer board removes moisture out of mortar – sometimes in as little as half an hour. Also, don’t apply too much mortar at once. If you get behind while you’re placing tiles, you might find yourself chiseling dried mortar off the backer board. Remember, drying times are not the same as curing times so while the mortar might look dry, most brands will take 24 hours for a full hardening.
  2. Use mesh and a straight edge to lay your tiles.
    Carrolton ceramic tiles two inches and smaller often come on a paper or plastic mesh to help keep them aligned as you lay them. It does make the job a little easier, but it is important that you don’t rely on the mesh to keep the tiles perfectly straight and flat. Keep a straight edge on hand to make sure your grout lines stay even, and press the tiles into the mortar with a level to keep your surface flat. Knowing the tools you’ll need before you begin the project can help ensure a beautiful final product.
  3. Never stop tiling in the middle of a row.
    We are all busy, and don’t always have time to do an entire tiling project in one day. However, if you stop somewhere in the middle of a row, the last tile you install will only be supported by spacers on three corners instead of four. It may shift before you return, and you’ll have to tear out that tile along with any others that moved with it. To prevent this, never stop tiling in the middle of a row. Best practice for laying tiles is to always lay them from one wall to the opposite wall.

Think you’re ready to tackle your first tile project? Head down to CMA Flooring and check out our extensive selection of tile floors in Carrollton. Our flooring experts can help you select the right size tiles for your needs, without breaking your budget. We also have professional installation available in case you’re not sure a DIY job is right for you. Call us at 972-418-6606 for more information or to schedule your free in-home consultation.