Around the House: Tile and Flooring Solutions

Tile can make any home look beautiful and installing it isn't as hard as you think as Home Depot spokesman, Mike Cartozzo, explains!

Why Tile:
• Tile adds enduring value because it doesn't need to be replaced like carpet
• Tile doesn't trap dirt and dust like carpet, so it can help people with allergies breath easier
• Tile is durable and low maintenance

Variety of Choices:
• Type, color, size and shape
• Your local Home Depot tile department associate can help you determine what the best option is for your project

Installing Tile:
1) Start With a Solid Foundation:
• Floor must be flat
• If you have hollows and valleys, fill them with a self-leveling mortar made especially for this purpose
• You can lay tile over some existing floors without removing them
• Consult a Home Depot tile department associate or 1-2-3 book for exact floor types
• Make sure sub floor will not deteriorate is it gets wet
• OSB and particleboard are unacceptable
• Plywood is good

2) Installing Backerboard:
• Cement based backerboard provides a solid surface under tile to prevent flexing that could lead to cracking
• Generally use ½ inch backerboard for floors
• Arrange sheets so that ends are staggered from each other and are not directly over seams on plywood subfloor. Leave ¼ inch gap between edges of backerboard and wall
• Spread mortar on plywood where first sheet will go. Once it is spread, comb it out with notched edge of trowel at a 45-degree angle
• Place sheet and screw it in
• Space screws ½ inch from panel edges and 2 inches from corner. Drive screws every 4 inches around perimeter and every 6 inches within panel field
• After all the sheets are placed, fill in spaces between boards using mortar and margin trowel. Reinforce gaps by covering them with fiberglass tape and embedding it firmly with mortar

3) Lay Out Tile:
• It is best to lay tile out in a dry run first
• Find the middle of the room by using a chalk line. Draw a line from each end of the longest wall to the opposite corners of the room
• Lay down tiles starting in the center of the room moving toward the door. You want the tiles to end up centered or with a line between two tiles centered in the doorway
• Adjust tile accordingly until you know where your first tile should start

4) Laying the Tile:
• Press the thinset into the backerboard with trowel at a shallow angle to make sure it fully adheres to the backerboard
• Comb thinset, holding trowel at a 45-degree angle and push teeth to the floor
• Lay first test tile onto thinset bed. Lay it flat, slightly twist, and pat it down
• Test the thinset application and your tile laying technique. Lift up tile and look at the back. Back of tile should be completely covered in thinset
• Set remaining tiles using spacers
• Make sure tiles are flat to each other by rubbing your hand over the intersection of several tiles. Pat tile down if they are too high
• If thinset gets on the surface of tile clean it with a damp rag

5) Cutting Tile:
• A good strategy is to lay all the full tiles one day then make all your cut pieces
• Show marking tile against a wall
• Demonstrate cutting tile

6) Grouting Tile:
• Spread grout in sweeping arcs with rubber grout float held at a shallow angle
• Press grout into joints filling them completely
• For joints wider the .38 inch use a grout bag
• Remove excess grout
• Wipe tiles with a Braille damp sponge to remove grout residue
• After wiping with sponge buff tiles with dry cloth

7) Final Steps:
• Damp cure grout by misting floor twice a day for three days
• Apply tile and grout cleaner. Seal grout lines

Tile Cutter: Husky 950L — $297.00
• Cuts up to 22" tile; and cuts diagonally up to 16"
• Laser beam guide for precision cutting
• Cutting dept. up to 2-1/4" thick tile
• Includes light telescoping stand with wheels

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