DO IT YOURSELF: INSTALLING FLOOR TILE
Tiles tend to accentuate and beautify rooms; they are also easy to clean and quite durable hence a great option if you are looking into new flooring or even building a home. Prices, styles, and availability vary from one manufacturer to the next when it comes to tile floors. However, with these clear and precise instructions for installing a tile floor will make your home beautiful and presentable:
Before you start installing your tile floor, you need a few tools to help you along the way. Tools such as tile spacers, measuring tape, grout float, notched trowel, tile nippers, tile saw, knee pads, goggles, measuring tape, drill, mixing bucket, sponge, circular saw, chalk line and gloves.
There are a few materials that are key during the installation process from the tile, tile spacers, backer board, backer board screws, thin set mortar, sealant, tile adhesive, grout, and sponges will be of great use during the whole process. Ensure that the adhesive is recommended by the manufacturer and compatible with the tiles you want to install.
Here are some of the definitive steps to follow for a successful installation:
Before anything else, measure the floor you want to replace with tiles. Also measure the mortar, grout and backing board as well. The measurements will help you determine how much of everything you will require during installation. It is advisable to buy a little bit excess of the materials and not fixed figures to have flexibility and also for precaution. Buying the correct number of tiles on the onset will help you avoid mismatched floors regarding texture and color.
Lay out the tiles in a different set up to check for the minor variations such as color and texture. This will help you determine the exact floor color you desire or even mix it up to form your pattern.
- CEMENT BOARD INSTALLATION
Before jumping into an installation, you are required to make a base for the tiles. The main purpose of the cement board underlayment is to ensure the floor is as stable enough to support the whole floor. The underlayment of the cement board to the subfloor also helps to smoothen the surface for the tile installation. Keep in mind after installation of the tile floor; the floor will be 0.5 inches higher than it is already. Therefore, ensure that appliances kept under the kitchen countertops or even in the different rooms of the house have ample space to fit and operate.
It may require you to shift some fixtures around the house that take up floor space such as toilets and at times the sink. You may notice some wobbliness in some areas of the floor; ensure that you stabilize these significant portions with the cement floor underlayment. By doing this you will prevent the tile floor from cracking, moisture seeping through the joints and extra expenses on the replacement.
To fix the underlayment to the subfloor, use the drill with a driver to screw it in sturdily. As you screw in the underlayment, ensure the screws are six inches apart from each other and that they lay flat therefore not interfering with the rest of the process.
- CENTRAL POINTS
It is fundamental to find the central point of any room before you start any significant process. To find the focal point of the room, carefully measure from one end to the other end of the room steadily. Then mark the center point of that particular line. To be confident of this central point, measure the whole room in an entirely new and different direction of various points of the space and mark the center of each. The intersection of these lines makes the central point of the room. This ensures that you have a genuine center of the room whereby you will start your installation
- TILE LAYOUT
Carefully position the tiles starting from the center of the room for a dry run, tracing them along the lines previously drawn to locate the center point. Ensure that you put pacers in between the tiles to provide ample space for perfect fitting.
- INSTALL THE CENTRE TILE
Before placing the tiles, ensure the adhesive being used is recommended by the manufacturers. The manufacturers’ recommendation may vary from synthetic adhesive to the thin-set mortar. Using the notched side of the trowel, smear the glue at 45-degree angle on the floor- to avoid excess application or applying too little for the tile to be held in place correctly.
After successful application of the adhesive on the floor, take the center tile and carefully place it in its position. You can ensure it is well positioned by shifting it slightly back and forth so as to secure its place. After that, lift the tile and look at the bottom of the tile to check if it has areas that haven’t come in contact with the tile properly. If this is the case, take the trowel by its notched edge and apply a thicker paste on the floor but at the same time keeping it level. When the adhesive seems to be ample enough to hold the tile in place with no bare parts left, then reinstall the center tile at its position.
- REMAINING TILES
Using the center tile as the reference point, put the remaining tiles along straight lines in the room. Be careful not to use too much or too little adhesive. The adhesive used should be enough to hold the tile in place and not spill over in between the joints to the surface of the tile when pressure is applied. This is a sign that you should reduce the amount of adhesive used as it will give a bad finish to the floor.
If you need to trace the grout lines along the floor board, you can use pacers to establish a clear guide. In some instances, the tiles do not fit the room as expected due to different factors and may require you to cut the tile for proper fitting. Working from the central point towards the end will give your floors a more desirable pattern Also it will not affect the general outlook as the end row tile is cut to fit the room.
- TIME ALLOWANCE
After you have reached completion of installing the tiles, it is important that you allow the adhesive to cure overnight or to depend on the manufacturers’ directive for that flooring or adhesive.
The main function of the grout is to keep the color consistency of the floor as neutral as possible. There are different colors of grout and can be easily manipulated into matching the color of your tiles. Making it monochrome and as befitting as possible. Mix the grout into a paste-like form, not too lumpy and not too light. The grout should be thick and maintain a consistency of margarine or that recommended by the manufacturer. Scoop the grout and smear it along the lines between the laid out tiles. Using the rubber grout float, ensure the grout reaches every nook and cranny of the joints. Spread the grout at an angle making the tile and its crevices to be in unison.
The grout might have spread all over during the application process and may require you to clean off the overspill. Take a damp sponge and carefully wipe off the grout from the tiles carefully while avoiding the grout lines in between the tiles. Keep water nearby so as to rinse the sponge frequently as possible avoiding spreading the grout further. The damp sponge will ensure that the grout is leveled and smooth. It is fundamental to make sure that the grout on the tile is completely wiped off to avoid it from sticking permanently on your floor tiles. Leaving traces of grout may lead to a grout haze. Allow the applied grout to cure to a light mist then take a damp cloth to buff the tiles to shine. Different manufacturers have different procedures of curing the grout, seek your manufacturer’s advisement before any undertakings. It usually involves one spraying the grout to keep it damp over a few days. Remember to apply a sealant along the grout lines after the grout has cured. The grout is safe to walk on after 24 hours but takes an extensive number of days to cure completely.
In the bathroom, you are advised to caulk along the tub line or toilet line to protect the floor from moisture that may seep.
Bathroom tile installation DIY
Installing new tiles in your bathroom is not as difficult as it may seem. Changing the look of your bathroom will give your home a new feel and more value.
For the bathroom tile installation, use similar tools and procedure. However, there are things to factor in during the process.
The circular saw and jigsaw will help you make definitive cuts and holes respectively on the panel according to the tub and toilet fixtures.
It is different for tile installation in the bathroom as compared to other rooms which will require that you start laying out the tiles from the center of the room. The bathroom floor has fixtures that you will have to work around them. The edge tile will be laid first working towards the center of the room or the accessories. Use the whole tiles first placing them in a way that will minimize the number of tiles being cut. The best fit should be achieved before deciding on which tile to cut. You can be certain of this by simply having an overview of the floor with the different styles of dry running. Before you cut the tiles using the tile saw, take the measurement of the specific ones to be cut and by how much.
After all the necessary tiles have been cut, reinstall them in their positions. During the placement, ensure that you have spacers to ensure they fit evenly and with ample space between each other. You can have a wide overview to confirm that the layout is as formidable as it can be.
Luxury Vinyl Tile flooring is regarded as one of the most popular flooring types in the market today. Given the already existing durability and ease of installation, this flooring category is one of the most preferred also due to its waterproof capabilities.
Wood Plastic Composite also knew as WPC flooring is simply made from ground wood particles mixed with heated thermoplastic resin after that put into a mold. WPC can also mean Waterproof core. The main components of WPC include wood flour, calcium carbonate, and thermoplastics. It is luxury vinyl tile coated and reinforced by a more rigid core. The Wood Plastic Composite has layers that make it such a great choice for flooring;
Wear layer function is to protect the flooring against excessive wear and tear. The wear layer varies in thickness depending on the manufacturer. The layer also ensures that the flooring has ease of cleaning, stains, and spills are not easily absorbed by the flooring and can easily come off. This superior stain resistance makes the Wood Plastic Composite flooring perfect for commercial use.
Printed vinyl layer is responsible for the appearance of the flooring. This layer varies from wood-like an appearance to stone like appearance. With the advanced technology in place, one can hardly tell the difference between wood flooring and Waterproof flooring. The Wood Plastic Composite flooring is one of the highest quality in regards to flooring.
Luxury Vinyl Top Layer makes the flooring durable over long period and also quite resilient to any damage. The layer act as a resistant to scratches and dents.
COREtec Core Structure is referred to as the extruded waterproof core. This layer is very essential as it prevents expansion and contraction of the flooring when the humidity and temperature of the surrounding changes. The COREtec core structure is very dense and makes the flooring quite solid.
Attached Cork Underlayment absorbs sound; it gives the floor its sound insulation property. The WPC does not require an underlayment because of this preexisting layer. This layer also repels any natural growth of both mold and mildew.
Wood Plastic Composite is another way of putting luxury vinyl tile or enhanced waterproof vinyl and luxury vinyl plank flooring. Most WPC is usually Polyethylene based and there exist in the form of various colorants, Ultraviolet stabilizers and other agents that assist in achieving the final product.
Wood Plastic composite flooring is usually regarded as a product of luxury vinyl tile, is one of the most installed types of flooring in today’s market. The fact that it has wood in its name does not mean that this product is wood based as many people have been misled to believe. Most people who want to have the aesthetic value of wood but not the maintenance cost usually opt for the Wood Plastic Composite. This flooring mirrors the real hardwood floors very intricately but is cheaper and accessible. The Wood Plastic Composite is suitable for businesses and commercial areas which require little maintenance but need that appealing look.
WOOD PLASTIC COMPOSITE THICKNESS
The thicker the Wood Plastic Composite plank, the denser it is. Dense WPC means that you have more stability as you walk on the floors, they tend to offer the extra cushioning needed when standing for very extensive periods and heavy traffic. The plank has a better underfoot and also more flexible and durable in the long run. The plank thickness of the Wood Plastic Composite varies from 4mm, 5.5 mm, 6.5mm, and 8mm.
WOOD PLASTIC COMPOSITE WEAR LAYER THICKNESS
The wear layer is usually the top layer of the Wood Plastic Composite flooring. This layer is responsible for protecting your floors from any damage, therefore, the thicker it is, the better for the WPC. The MIL number determines the level of resistance your floors have to tear and wear. Here are different measurements of the wear layer and their suitability;
8MIL is the lowest measurement of the wear layer but is quite effective and durable. This measurement is most suitable for any residential housing.
12MIL depending on the traffic flow of your home, you should gauge which wear layer is suitable. Areas of high traffic should incorporate the 12MIL wear layer flooring.
20MIL are most suitable for commercial or business areas that have heavy amount of traffic and prone to tear.
Wood Plastic Composite versus Laminate flooring
Laminate flooring also referred to as the floating wood tile is a composite synthetic flooring joined through lamination. The laminate flooring photographic surface is usually a replication of wood or stone giving it that natural appearance. The clear wear layer protects the flooring from damage and moisture. Laminate flooring is usually mistook for vinyl flooring.
The Wood Plastic Composite flooring is different from the laminate flooring. Laminate flooring is not entirely suitable for places with high moisture content. Installing laminate flooring in areas like the bathroom, basement or kitchen is not advisable because of water infiltration through the floors. On the other hand, WPC flooring characteristic of being waterproof makes it most suitable for these three main areas. The Wood Plastic Composite products are more appropriate for installation in vast areas, unlike the laminate flooring which manufacturers stipulate one must leave room for expansion. The Wood Plastic Composite can cover more room space and commercial areas because it does not need the expansion moldings.
The enhanced luxury vinyl has a top wear layer responsible for making it resistant to water, provide comfort and extra cushioning and also acts as an insulation to sound. This wear layer makes the WPC long lasting and durable.
ADVANTAGES OF WATERPROOF FLOORING
Manufacturers have come up with different references such as enhanced vinyl plank, waterproof vinyl or even engineered luxury vinyl flooring for branding purposes. All WPC products are considered as Luxury Vinyl Tiles, or luxury vinyl products but not all luxury vinyl is WPC. However, most luxury vinyl products have the same features that are a top resistant wear layer, a 3D imprinted photographic film, thick and durable layers and a textured surface.
The thickness and durability of WPC floors can help you save on costs imparted by the subfloors. During most installations, one is required to prepare the subfloors and at times with the help of a contractor. Nonetheless, this does not happen when it comes to WPC flooring. The WPC is dense enough to cover up any faultiness of the subfloor hence no extra charge is incurred.
The enhanced luxury vinyl tile has high resistance to corrosion given its rigid coating. Thus making is less prone to rot and decay.
Resilience. The WPC is a mirrored wood or stone floor. Most people prefer having the real deal in their homes instead of an imitation, however, with regards to comfort and resilience, the WPC tops the charts. They are a better underfoot as compared to stone add wood and still give off the same aesthetic value.
Minimal maintenance. The Wood Plastic Composite only needs the occasional damp mopping and vacuuming to keep it looking new and appealing.
The Wood Plastic Composite is 100% waterproof making it most suitable for areas or rooms that are susceptible to high moisture content such as the kitchen or the bathroom.
The enhanced luxury vinyl floors are primarily made from recycled plastic and waste products making it easy to sustain.
CONS OF WOOD PLASTIC COMPOSITE
Pricing. The cost of purchasing the Wood Plastic Composite flooring is quite expensive. The WPC flooring is quite formidable and offers a range of benefits to the home, and all these are reflected by the price tag. However, with its popularity on the rise and more and more companies getting into the production of WPC, the prices might subside given time.
SUITABILITY OF WOOD PLASTIC COMPOSITE FLOORING IN DIFFERENT AREAS
The Wood Plastic Composite flooring is so flexible and can be used almost everywhere in the house. The unique features of the flooring allow it to be used in areas like;
Kitchen. If you are fond of the hardwood floor look in the house then look no further, the wood like appearance of the WPC is most suitable. Usually, hardwood flooring and engineered hardwood flooring is not suitable for the kitchen due to the traffic and moisture content. The WPC gives a great alternative to the hardwood flooring and also a cheaper choice. This flooring is also more comfortable to stand on for long periods when cooking or to clean up.
Bathroom. Instead of going the conventional style and use ceramic tiling for your bathroom floors, try WPC for a change. Their waterproof ability will ensure there are no damages and also you will not have a flooding problem in the area.
Basement is usually the first place to experience flooding and make it a tad difficult to choose the flooring. However with the WPC flooring, you will have nothing to worry about, your basement can look stylish and still practical with the layout.
Commercial spaces or areas which experience high traffic should embrace the used of WPC as it is durable, resilient and appealing to the eye.
Wood Plastic Composite versus LVT
LVT is a luxury vinyl product which appearance has more similarity to ceramic or tone tile. The surface of the LVT embraces the aesthetic level of the ceramic and stone tile that at times it is hard to differentiate. In some cases, the LVT is installed using grout. The Luxury Vinyl Tile is made of several layers just like the laminate flooring, its main component being PVC vinyl hence resulting into a solid and flexible flooring.
Unlike the LVT, the Wood Plastic Composite does not require a lot of subfloor preparation during a new installation. It is important for one to carefully prepare the subfloor before installing the LVT as any obstructions or unevenness will transfer to the surface. This factor applies to both the solid-locking LVT and the traditional glue-down LVT. Extra preparation is required when there are cracks and divots over wooden and concrete subfloors to cover up the protrusions. Wood Plastic Composite is more solid and rigid and therefore is not affected by such factors, nevertheless, it is still key to prepare the subfloors effectively to ensure a long lasting covering. The WPC solid core allows it cover more area and be more extensive as compared to the LVT.
The Wood Plastic Composite is also waterproof as compared to the LVT.
Wood Plastic Composite flooring has an extensive use and very minimal restrictions. This flooring is recommended to and targeted at different audiences such as:
Pet owners. Keeping pets can be quite a handful with their playful nature and at times if not trained, often accidents tend to happen. The Wood Plastic Composite flooring is the best flooring for this type of scenario as it will not tear during the animal’s play or plight. Also, the protective wear layer of the flooring prevents staining and makes the Wood Plastic Composite flooring easy to clean. The WPC can look presentable for a very long period with minimal maintenance.
Business owners. High traffic areas are prone to scratches, staining, tear and wear but which flooring type is most suitable for such places? How do you maintain an appealing look of an office or business over a long period? The Wood Plastic Composite flooring is not easily left with markings or footprints on the surface, so it easily maintains the aesthetic appeal of the office or business. The WPC is a great option as it offers a broad range of designs to choose from and also durable over the years leaving your office space looking presentable.
Parents if you have many children or even just one, the WPC floor will be a great addition to your home. With the Wood Plastic Composite Floor, you are assured that your children will not destroy your floors as easily if it were wooden or carpeted.
Anyone can buy and install the Wood Plastic Composite flooring; there is no discrimination when it comes to having real floors. The installation process of the WPC floors is simple and direct- interlock floating. Given that you do not need to worry about subfloors then installation will be a walk in the park. However, if your subfloor is completely unleveled, then you might need to fix it before installation. Oversight is only allowed in cases where there are cracks and a bit of wavering.
Using the notched trowel, apply thin-set mortar or adhesive carefully on the floor after that place the tile in place. Similarly to installing tiles on any floor, use spacers for even and firm tile installation. Allow 24 hours to pass for the mortar to dry.
Cutting and fitting
Areas around the cabinet, door passages, walls, and fixtures, you will need a trim file for installing the pieces. There are different tools for such areas: tile saw is mainly used when the tile in question is thick and cases whereby there are many tiles. The tile cutter is used when minimal and exact cuts are needed for the tiles. In cases whereby you are installing the tile floor in the bathroom, you will need the tile nippers to make the round or curved cuts on the tiles.
Other times the tile is too thick for the tile nippers to make any cutting. Thus one can use a different but conventional method; simply make the markings along the tile which is to be cut, after that make cuts with the tile saw to relieve the unwanted parts. Then take your tile nippers and snap off the remaining surplus pieces. Do not leave the tile with rough edges, take a file and smoothen the cut area giving it a nice finish. When cutting the tiles, always leave a quarter inch of space between the flooring edges and tiles due to expansion and also for mortar space.
Keep in mind that some ceramic tiles come with an inbuilt spacer and therefore minimizes the workload. Some manufacturers produce large tiles that go up to 12 by 12 inches for larger spaces. During installation of these specified tiles, you will need to add more adhesive to the backside in addition to the adhesive on the underlayment floor. This precaution is for ensuring that the tile is completely fixed to the spaces and is more durable.