Installing Tile may seem like an overwhelming project for a new homeowner and DIYer, but it isn’t as complicated as it may seem. Whether you are looking to add a backsplash, redo a shower, or replace linoleum flooring with large floor tiles, this quick how to guide can help you make that dream a reality without hiring it out.
1. Prep the surface. If you currently have tile, linoleum, carpet, or some other material on the surface, remove it. If it is tile you are removing, you may need to replace the drywall or backer board below the tile as mortar is not easy to remove. You can find simple how to videos on how to do this. For floor and shower tile, add backer board to the surface. For back splash, just make sure the wall is clean from any oils and lightly sand the texture and paint for good adhesion.
2. Prepare your Mortar and Materials. When buying your supplies, make sure you are using mortar and spreader for the size of tile you are using. For instance, you can you thinset mortar and a small notch spreader for subway tile, but a non-slip mortar and a spreader with larger notches are ideal for large format tiles. For larger projects, I suggest mixing your own mortar as it is easier to work with, but for a simple backsplash, you can buy premixed mortar that is ready to use.
3. Set your tile. Begin by mapping out the pattern you would like to use. Mortar dries quickly, so spread your mortar and set your tiles in small sections. Use a wet tile saw to cut the tile. For larger straight cuts, you may be able to use a tile cutter, and for small mosaic cuts, you may be able to use snippers. Ask someone at your local hardware store which will be best for your project.
4. Grout. Once your mortar is dry, it is time to grout. You can mix your own grout, but it also comes premixed in multiple colors. Using a grout float, spread the mixture at a 45 degree angle ensuring all the lines are filled in completely. Use a sponge a clean water to wipe away the excess. Again, work in small sections and try to clean as much grout off the surface of the tiles as possible. Change your water frequently for easier clean up.
5. Clean and Seal. Once your grout has dried, make sure you clean it and use a grout sealer.