A Guide Ceramic Tile Installation for Beginners

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Moving into a new apartment doesn't necessarily mean new floor. So, you decide to tear out the old floor tiles and put in new ones. But beware! Ceramic tile installation is not as easy as it looks. So before you begin tearing out anything from the floor, take a few and learn more about what you need to prepare for, when starting on installing your new ceramic tiles. Here are three great tips on what to prepare for when planning your ceramic tile installation:

1) Study the kind of floor you have - or rather, your subfloor. Knowing the kind of subfloor you'll be setting your ceramic tiles over is important. There are three main types of floors (or, subfloors), that you might encounter, when starting on your ceramic tile installation:

a. A concrete floor - Concrete floors are excellent for tiling but it's important that you first rid the concrete of any debris, grease and dirt before tiling. All the cracks and holes need to be repaired and filled in before your ceramic tile installation can start. Once your start working on your project, each of your ceramic individual tiles will be bonded directly to the concrete floor. If the cracks widen, this will affect your tiles, as well. Some cracks may even be that large that it would be best to replace the larger sections of your concrete floor rather than patching up all the cracks. If you have a lot of large cracks, especially ones that run up the wall, consult a specialist before your start working on your tiling project.

b. The plywood subfloor. Second floor rooms are mostly in plywood. Because you will be putting ceramic tiles over wood, your plywoord subfloor has to be structurally sound and capable of supporting your ceramic tile installation. Your plywood floor has to be at least 1 1/8 inch thick, and supported by an equally strong underlayment beneath it. Ceramic tiles are heavy and would need a subfloor that can support their combined weight. And they will become dislodged, or even break. Otherwise, it would be unwise to do a ceramic tile installation on wood.

c. An existing ceramic tile floor. Ceramic tile floors would more often than not, require the new room occupant to remodel. There are two options for remodeling an existing tile floor: One, leave the tile floor in place and work your ceramic tile installation directly over it; or two, remove the old tiles. If the current tile floor is set over a mortar bed, the easiest way to remove them would be to use a large flat-bladed chisel and just hammer away. Be sure to keep yourself protected.

2) Get an estimate of the cost of tiling by measuring the length and width of the floor area. When you go window-shopping, make sure to bring your measurements and discuss it with your hardware or home center specialists. Those measurements will help you a lot in estimating how much ceramic floor tiles you need to buy. It will also help you estimate how much cement and grout, and the tools you'll need for your ceramic tile installation.

3) Got your dream look for your floor tiles? Choosing ceramic tiles can be made easy by considering these general factors: Desired look, tile size and durability.

a. Be consistent in choosing the materials that would best fit the look you have in mind for your floor. Tile turn-on. What is the look you want to project with your ceramic tiles? Going for that rugged and rustic feel? Or are you more at home with that natural earthy adobe color? Choose a ceramic tile that fits the room's total appearance. It would not work, if you have got a shiny orange tile floor to go with your French windows.

b. Window-shop for your tiles. After you've made the estimates for the floor space that needs to be tiled, window-shop for your ceramic tiles. Ceramic floor tiles come in a variety of prices, shapes, textures and styles. Pick a tile that's within your price range. Then, ask to see in what a palette of colors that tile comes in, so you can select one that fits the look you want to make. The most common ceramic tile size is one square foot. But ceramic tiles may come in a wide array of sizes; from one inch, to two feet.

c. Whatever look you want to achieve, it is a given that your tiles should be durable. The kind of ceramic floor tiles you are looking for should have three main qualities: The ability to withstand water absorption, impressive resistance to abrasion and constant use, as well as high aesthetic qualities. Most hardware stores are open to requests for information like details tile strength and ability to withstand regular use and scratching, and resistance to physical stress and liquids. Gaining information will help you a lot in your ceramic tile installation, and maintenance.

When in doubt, do not hesitate to consult a professional. From choosing the right tiles and color, to tearing out existing ceramic tile floors without damaging the subfloor, a building professional can help you with information, at the very least, or assist with your ceramic tile installation. These professionals are always open about sharing what they know about home improvement and making beautiful tile floors. You can get referrals for tiling specialists from your hardware store, home center, or equipment tool rental yard.

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