How to install tiles yourself?

by Staenis | 24/01/2022

How to install tiles yourself like a professional?

Planning to lay a tiled floor in your kitchen, bathroom or toilet yourself? Then a handy step-by-step plan is always included. That way you won't overlook anything and the work will get along well. Discover our tips and experience: installing ceramic floor tiles yourself is easier than you think! Especially with this introduction video.

1. Provide a good surface

Laying a tiled floor yourself, you need a stable base for that. There are several options. For example, you can place tiles on a screed screed floor, or you can tile on tiles (if there is already a tile floor). So it is perfectly possible to tile over existing tiles, as long as you know how.

Are you going to install tiles on a tile floor? Then first sweep the tile floor and vacuum it. Then you thoroughly degrease the floor. This way you start from a dust- and grease-free surface. The perfect base for your tile floor!

Good to know: If there is no screed in the room that you want to tile, you must first create a screed. With the handy Staenis DIY system, you can easily lay your screed yourself, whenever it suits you. You are guaranteed to get a flat and crack-free result, even if you have no experience! Watch the video and find out how it works.

Laying screed yourself to tile after

2. Prime the substrate

If you want to start tiling on a screed screed yourself, you must first apply a transparent porosity-regulating primer. This ensures that the tile adhesive you are going to use remains workable for longer. Handy, because who likes stress?

However, if you are going to tile on tiles, choose a transparent adhesion-enhancing primer for tiles. Such a 'tile over tile primer' improves the bond between the existing tiles and the tile adhesive.

Attention: do not use a primer before laying a deck floor or any other outdoor application. The primer will partially make the surface waterproof, which can lead to problems.

3. Decide where to place the first tile

Then it's time to determine where to start tiling. Think in advance where the first tile will be, and in which direction you will place it. Check the size of the tiles on the walls. Keep these cut tiles larger than 50%, because it looks nicer.

4. Prepare the tile adhesive

Of course you need tile adhesive to install tiles. You use a tub and a mixer to make your glue. Check on the tile adhesive bag exactly how much water you need per bag. Measure the correct amount with your measuring cup and pour the water into the tub with the tile adhesive. Blend the mixture for a few minutes. Then wait a few minutes and mix the mixture a second time.

Mixer to mix tile adhesive

5. Cutting the tiles

To be able to place tiles nicely, they must have the correct dimensions. Some tiles you will have to cut. Use a tile cutter to cut one straight line. To adjust a tile in different directions, use a grinding wheel with a diamond blade.

Diamond saw blade for grinding wheel and tile cutter for ceramic tiles

6. Glue the substrate

Which trowel is best to use for gluing the substrate? A 12mm tile adhesive comb is usually suitable for your job. This ensures a glue height of 3 mm and a consumption of 6 kg/m². Adjust the tile adhesive comb depending on the flatness of the substrate, the thickness of the tile and the size of the tile. Grab your trowel and take a shovel of tile adhesive. Scrape the glue over the screed with the flat side of your trowel. This greatly improves the adhesion. Then add more tile adhesive to the substrate. Hold the trowel at 45 degrees and make straight glue grooves.

Glue comb to open tile glue

7. Glue in tiles

Glue a tile as follows: take a shovel of tile glue with a trowel. Using the flat side of the tile trowel, rub and scrape the adhesive over the back of the tile for good adhesion. If necessary, also place adhesive beads on the tile, parallel to those on the substrate. This allows you to increase extra.

What thickness should the adhesive layer that you apply to your floor tiles? For tile sizes smaller than or equal to 40 × 40 cm, the adhesive layer is best about 3 mm thick (glue once). For tiles larger than 40 × 40 cm, choose a thickness of about 5 mm (double bonding). Large tiles usually require double bonding.

8. Placing tiles

Then it's time for the real work: placing the tiles. First, place the leveling or leveling clips under the previous tiles. Placing a tile is best done as follows: place the tile with one edge against the other tile and let the tile fall from about 10 cm high. That way you remove most of the air between the substrate and the tile. This will give you a fuller bond.

Tile crosses

Then push the tile down with your hand, to the same height as the previous tiles. Follow the flatness of the substrate.

Then place a tile cross of 3 mm between the 2 tiles. By paying attention to the tile cross, instead of the thickness of the clips, you can place the tiles more beautifully. Because the tile crosses remain clean and ensure an equal joint width. Remove excess glue in the joint with a sponge and a bucket of water.

Note: while tiling, check whether the tile adhesive is still good enough to use. Test this by pressing your finger on the tile adhesive. If there is tile glue on your finger, the glue is still OK and you can continue.

How can you remove traces of tile adhesive after tiling? In principle, all types of glue can be removed by mechanical means. With a hammer and chisel, or an electric hammer drill or router. Dispersion adhesives, however, are best removed with chemicals, such as paint remover, gall soap or cement haze remover.

9. Install leveling or leveling system

Place the leveling or leveling spikes through the clips. This with the high side of the wedge on the last placed tile. Try working without clamping pliers first. These pliers only serve to perfectly smooth the last millimeter. The first difference in height, between the tiles, you work away by pushing the tile with your hands.

When the tiling is finished, place clips again under the last tiles, so that you can use the leveling or leveling system again the next day.

Leveling system to place tiles flat

10. Remove Clips and Skewers

Kick or knock the clips sideways. Try to crack off the entire plastic of the clips. If that doesn't work, you can cut it out or scrape it out with a tool of your choice. Do not use a screwdriver for this, but a sharp cutter knife. Cut diagonally to remove the excess plastic.

11. Merge

Make sure all tile joints are clean. Then make the entire surface dust-free by wiping with water (without soap). Then push the grout into the joints with a grout trowel. Try to grout small surfaces first, then you can always create and place more grout. Finally, clean up any excess grout with a sponge. Always follow the manufacturer's manual.

Grout set sponge tray to clean tiles after grouting

12. Placing skirting boards

Now you can start installing the tile skirting. To install a tile skirting, use tile adhesive or (if necessary) silicone. Push the skirting board against the wall and take another tile to push it square using the flatness of the floor. Place 2 tile crosses under the plinth and position the plinth nicely over the underlying tile. Fill the raised joint with grout: the top with acrylic silicone and the bottom with sanitary silicone.

Note: Sometimes it may be necessary to cut off some plaster and re-stick it with a cement-based mortar. This way you avoid the risk of rising damp in your walls.

13. Finish

Job done? Almost! Remove the remaining dust layer from the tiles with water (without soap). Repeat this job until the tiles are clean. After a few weeks you can use soap in the water to clean your tile floor.

You now know how to lay tiles yourself like a real professional. For a sustainable result, you always start from an even, solid surface. Using the Staenis grid, a handy leveling system, you can easily lay your perfectly flat and crack-free screed. Placing, insulating and leveling a screed with one system? It doesn't get any easier! Discover quickly how it works.

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