How to Install Tiles in Your Home the Right Way

Tiles are used nearly everywhere today, but while replacing individual tiles is one story, setting them for your renovation project is another. But while the project itself can be really time-consuming, it’s actually quite straight forward and worth the effort once you get started.

Here’s how you can install tiles in any area in your home:

1. Prepare your work surface
Take the time to clean and patch any damaged or uneven areas to make sure your surfaces are clean and smooth enough for adding tiles.

Be sure to remove any traces of wax, soap, or even grease, and double check so that the work surface is structurally sound. If you have any moldings or appliances that may get in the way, you should also get them out of the way as well.

2. Start your layout
Mark the center point of your work surface and snap chalk between the center points of the area you’re working with.

You can then proceed by laying loose tiles along the center lines in either direction. Once you get to the wall, use specifically cut tiles for a more even appearance. You can also make any adjustments to make sure you have perfect squares.

For larger areas, you can divide them into smaller, more manageable grids, and you can add more lines parallel to the center as you go along.

3. Measure and cut your tiles in advance
Before applying the tiles to the adhesive, you should already have them measured and cut to size for areas such as corners and walls. Measure carefully – twice, in fact – and mark your cuts using a pencil or a felt-tip pen before cutting.

4. Apply adhesive and tiles
When mixing your adhesive, mix only enough that you can use within the next thirty minutes, as mortar tends to dry quickly. Use the flat side of the trowel and apply using a ¼” coat. Avoid covering the guidelines when doing this.
Apply the adhesive by holding the trowel at a forty-five degree angle for flat cement surfaces, and for standing ridges, use the notched side to comb them.

Once you’ve set the adhesive, it’s time to set the tiles. Be sure to start at the center and work your way outward. Use a slight twisting motion instead of just sliding them in place, as this can remove the adhesive.

5. Grout and seal
After the tiles are set, be sure to tap them in place using something solid yet gentle enough to not crack the tiles, like a rubber mallet. Once they are in place, let them dry before applying the grout.

Once the grout has set (ideally for 72 hours), seal it using a grout sealer and make sure that none of it hits the tiles.