|A straight edge is one of the tile tools you'll need |
for a well-planned tile installation project |
Tile Installation TipsFirst off, your grout or thin-set should always be smooth, without any lumps. If your base is lumpy, then it can create gaps and bumps under the tile, which can cause areas of greater or lesser stress. The more foot traffic you have on your tile, the more likely it is to get damaged. When you're mixing your thin-set or your grout, wait a bit while you're stirring with the tile tools you're going to be using for the project. This will allow the mixture to be lump-free. On the subject of lumps and smoothness, make sure that your floor is flat.
If your floor has waves or other areas where it is uneven, then you're going to have to work a lot harder to get each individual tile flush with the other tile, even with the right tile tools. Lippage is usually a result, which makes your floor uneven. Check your floors with a 4 foot long straight edge or level. Any areas that are 1/4" or deeper should be filled in with thin-set.
Self Leveling Compound and Tile Tools
After you've used your straight edge, it's time to think about ways to make your tile project easier. Never underestimate the power of self-leveling compound in fixing uneven floors. It comes in powder form and is mixed with water. However, be aware that it is not cheap. It can run as much as two dollars a square foot. Some self-leveling compounds require that you use tile tools such as metal or plastic lathes. While self-leveling compound works rather well, make sure that you're aware of some things first.
Self-leveling compounds seep into holes and cracks in the floor, no matter how tiny they are. You could find yourself facing craters and pockmarks in the surface. Caulk every single gap and hole before you put it down. Next, work fast, and do it with two or more people. Self-leveling compound starts to harden within 30 minutes.
This may sound like a no-brainer, but in addition to the right tile tools, make sure that you have supplies in excess of your tile project. In other words, make sure you have more than enough tile, grout, and thin-set before you begin your project. You never know what's going to happen to the tile that you have, so it is a good idea to have extra.
Ultimately, make sure that before you begin any project, make sure you know exactly what to do. Start with the right tile installation tools.
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