Updating the flooring can help infuse new life into tired, outdated
bathrooms. For an upscale, polished look that doesn't have to break the bank,
consider installing tile flooring.
Before you get started, you'll want to make some decisions about the look and
feel of your flooring:
Ceramic or stone? Weigh factors such as porosity, how slippery the surface may
be when wet and how well it retains heat or cold. Ultimately, your decision
hinges on the needs and uses of your family.
Complement or contrast? Define the overall style you want as well as the colors
and tones that will help best achieve your vision.
Big or small? Generally, the larger the tile, the fewer grout lines, and too
many grout lines in a smaller space can create the illusion of clutter. However,
smaller tiles can eliminate the need to make multiple awkward cuts, and small
tiles are perfect for creating accent patterns or introducing a splash of color.
When you've got your overall look and materials selected, keep these steps in
mind as you begin laying the flooring:
1. Prepare your subfloor. Use a level to check for uneven spots; you need an
even surface to prevent cracks in the tile or grout as well as rough spots that
could pose tripping hazards. Use patching and leveling material to create a
consistent surface. Apply a thin layer of mortar then attach your cement backer
board with screws. Cover joints with cement board tape, apply another thin layer
of mortar, smooth and allow to dry.
2. To ensure square placement, draw reference lines on the subfloor using a
level and carpenter square. Tile should start in the middle of the room and move
out toward the walls, so make your initial reference lines as close to the
center as possible. Mark additional reference lines as space allows, such as
3. Do a test run with your chosen tile by laying it out on the floor. There are
color variations in most tile patterns, so you'll want to verify each tile
blends well with the next.
4. Mix tile mortar and use the thin side of a trowel to apply mortar at a
45-degree angle. Use the combed side to spread evenly and return excess mortar
to the bucket. Remember to apply mortar in small areas, working as you go, so it
doesn't dry before you're ready to lay the tile.
5. When laying tile, use your reference lines as guides. Press and wiggle tile
slightly for the best adherence.
6. Use spacers to create even lines between one tile and the next, removing
excess mortar with a damp sponge or rag.
7. As you complete a section of tile, use a level and mallet to verify the tiles
are sitting evenly.
8. Let mortar dry 24 hours before grouting.
9. Remove spacers then apply grout to joints, removing excess as you go.
10. Allow grout to dry per the manufacturer's instructions then go back over
tile with a damp sponge to set grout lines and clean grout residue.
11. Once grout has cured - usually at least a couple weeks - apply sealer to
Find more ideas and tips for updating your bathroom at eLivingtoday.com.