DIY Ceramic Tile Floors

I have always wanted to install ceramic tile floors, but was afraid to do so because I thought it’d be time-consuming and difficult.  I couldn’t have been more wrong.  As I wrote in a post earlier this week, Evan and I completely renovated my dad’s master bathroom in less than 24 hours.  As part of this renovation, we ripped up the old linoleum tile floors and replaced them with new ceramic tile.  The installation of these floors was fairly simple and with the proper tools, easy to do.  Step-by-step instructions on how to install your own tile floors are below!

Since we had plans to replace the toilet, we removed that first.  Then, using flathead screwdrivers, we pried up the linoleum tile squares to reveal the plywood subfloor.  We found some mold underneath where the toilet was, so we cleaned it heavily with Lysol and bleach.  
We chose to replace the flooring with Marazzi’s “Montagna Lugano” ceramic tiles from Home Depot.  These are 2″ x 2″ squares that are mounted onto a mesh backing to help with installation.  I highly recommend beginning with these smaller squares of tile if this is your first time installing ceramic or porcelain tile on your own.  
You need a strong ceramic or porcelain tile adhesive to secure it to the floor.  Often times, this is called thinset mortar.  We used AcrylPro from Home Depot and that worked great.
To install the tile, I began in the furthest part of the room from the entryway.  I spread the adhesive directly onto the floor using the smooth end of a notched trowel.  The layer of adhesive only needs to be a few milimeters deep, as you don’t want the adhesive to ooze up between the cracks of the tile too much.  I applied the adhesive in small sections that were still large enough to fit each 12″ x 12″ mesh tile backing.  Once it was applied at the correct depth, I scored the adhesive with the notched end of the trowel to create little divots.  Then, I laid the tile in place and pressed it down to ensure a secure grip.  
No tile spacers are necessary for mesh-backed tile, so I kept moving along accordingly.  If I needed to remove a row or two of tiles to make them fit, I simply did so by cutting the mesh backing with scissors.
In places where we needed to physically slice the tile, we used the tile cutter shown below.  This tool successfully cut all of the tile safely and easily with a tungsten carbide cutting wheel and scoring blade.  It was the only cutting tool we needed for the job, and it costs approximately $20 at Home Depot.
Once all of the tile was set, we let the adhesive dry overnight.
The following morning, we gathered the materials we needed to grout the tile.  To make things easiest for you, you need pre-mixed grout, a rubber grout float, multiple large sponges, and a small bucket or large Tupperware container.  Choose a grout color that will best work for your tile style; I used a light tan to help compliment the tile in this bathroom.
Starting in the furthest corner from the entryway, I used the rubber float to dab on small globs of grout and spread it across the tile.  Press down firmly to ensure that the grout moves into each of the cracks.  Work in small sections at a time because grout will dry a lot faster than you think.
Add water to your bucket or container and dip one of your sponges in that.  Then, squeeze out the excess water and wipe down each small section of tile as you grout them.  Do this lightly, as you don’t want to remove any of the grout from the cracks that you just applied.  You basically just want to remove the surface grout.
Then, use a dry sponge to quickly wipe down and polish each section at a time.  Continue this process throughout the room until it’s completed.

Once you are finished, wait 24 hours before walking onto the tile.  Then, enjoy!
Approximately 3-5 days after you install the tile, it is recommended that you wipe on a few coats of grout sealer to protect and waterproof the floor.  Sealers come in either matte or glossy finishes, so choose which one will be best for you.  For bathrooms, be sure to apply a thin line of silicone sealer along the base of any toilets, bath tubs, or showers to prevent potential water damage.  

I could not be any happier with the new tile floors in my father’s master bathroom.  I think they truly transformed the room, upgraded my parents’ home, and provided an element of elegance.  
I just wish I knew how easy it is to install tile floors earlier!  I can’t wait to install them in more rooms now, and I hope you do, too.
You may find me linking up at these fantastic parties:

Monday: Boogieboard CottageC-R-A-F-TCraft-O-ManiacDIY Home Sweet Home,  Get Outta My Head PleaseThe Girl CreativeMad in CraftsMaking the World CuterOur Delightful HomePolish the StarsSerendipity and SpiceSew Can DoSkip to My LouThrifty Decor ChickToo Much Time on My HandsTuesday: A Bowl Full of LemonsCherished BlissCoastal CharmConfessions of a Stay at Home MommyDukes and DutchessesFunky Polka Dot GiraffeI’m Topsy TurvyMommy By Day Crafter by NightNap Time CreationsNot Just a HousewifeSugar Bee CraftsTip JunkieToday’s Creative BlogWednesday: Adorned from Above, Free Pretty Things for YouGinger Snap CraftsHome Happy HomeIt’s Just Called SpicyJAQS StudioLet Birds FlyLife with the Crust Cut OffThe NY Melrose FamilyRae Gun RamblingsThe Sasse LifeSew Much AdoSew WoodsySomeday CraftsSouthern LovelyThe Style SistersThursday: A Creative PrincessA Glimpse InsideCrafty, Scrappy, HappyHouse of HepworthsJust Winging ItMade in a DayThe Shabby Creek CottageSomewhat SimpleFriday: 2805The Answer is ChocolateBacon Time with the Hungry HypoCreation CornerFingerprints on the FridgeThe Grant LifeHappy-Go-LuckyIf It’s Not BaroqueJust Us FourMom 4 RealMy Simple Home LifeNot Your Ordinary RecipesOne Artsy MamaThe Rooster and the HenSimply DesigningTatertots and JelloWhipperberryYoung and CraftySaturday: Be Different… Act NormalCandace CreationsFunky Junk InteriorsIt’s OverflowingIt’s So Very CheriNutmeg PlaceSunday: The Crafty CowgirlEmbellishing Life with Homemade GoodnessFlamingo ToesG*RatedNifty Thrifty Things

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