Home > Mom's Life > Managing Your Home > Home Improvements > Lay a Ceramic Tile Floor
|

Lay a Ceramic Tile Floor

Cutting the Underlayment

Cement board, sold as WonderBoard and Ducock, is an excellent base for tile: rigid, waterproof, cheap, and flat. The only disadvantage: It instantly dulls knife blades. We use a jumbo drywall square, a utility knife, and plenty of blades to cut cement board. Cut one side (the label tells which), fold and break the board, and cut the other side. Stagger the joints so four corners don't meet, and place joints on top of the joists where possible.

Mortaring the Underlayment

The whole point of underlayment is to make a flat, stable base for the tiles. Underlayment gets laid in the same mortar bed you'll use for the tiles.

Once the boards are cut, mix thinset tile mortar and start laying underlayment:

  1. Trowel mortar onto the plywood, following the same procedure used to mortar tiles.

  2. Working quickly, lay the boards down, taking care to press the edges down. Don't wait too long, or the boards might rest not depress the mortar uniformly.

  3. Screw the boards with 114" cement-board screws, placed about 8" apart. If the screws are hard to drive, drill quick pilot holes for them. We screw underlayment with a screw gun, which shuts off when the screw reaches the right depth, but an electric drill would also work. Don't drive the screws too deep; that damages the cement board.

  4. Use a straightedge to check flatness as you work.

  5. Fill joints between boards with mortar.

Step 2: Where to Start Tiling?

Dave's Don'ts

Don't step on tiles during layout, when they are not supported by mortar. Don't mortar anything until every tile has been cut and test-fitted!

Finding the starting line can be the toughest part of tiling. It's helpful to start tiling in a corner. A triangle 3' × 4' × 5' is a right triangle. Measure a “3-4-5” triangle in your starting corner to check if it's square. You can get into big trouble by assuming your starting corner is square.

There are two methods for finding a starting line, depending on how the tile fits the room. In the next section we'll take a look at both.



|

Excerpted from The Complete Idiot's Guide to Simple Home Improvements © 2004 by David J. Tenenbaum. All rights reserved including the right of reproduction in whole or in part in any form. Used by arrangement with Alpha Books, a member of Penguin Group (USA) Inc.

To order this book visit Amazon's web site or call 1-800-253-6476.


highlights

Vote Now for the Children's & Teen Choice Book Awards
Voting is open now through May 3 for the Children's and Teen Choice Book Awards — the only national book awards program where the winning author, illustrator, and books of the year are selected by young readers. Encourage your child to vote for his favorites today!

Find Today's Newest & Best Children's Books!
Looking for newly released books for your child? Try our new Book Finder tool to search for new books by age, type, and theme, and create reading lists for kids!

8 Products to Help Your Family Go Plastic-Free
How can you minimize your family's exposure to harmful chemicals and lessen your impact on the environment? Try swapping out some of your everyday plastic products with these non-plastic alternatives.

Registered for Kindergarten — Now What?
Wondering what to do now that you've signed your child up for kindergarten? Try our award-winning Kindergarten Readiness app! This easy-to-use checklist comes with games and activities to help your child build essential skills for kindergarten. Download the Kindergarten Readiness app today!

stay connected

Sign up for our free email newsletters and receive the latest advice and information on all things parenting.

Enter your email address to sign up or manage your account.

Facebook icon Facebook icon Follow Us on Pinterest

editor’s picks