How to Tile a Floor

Adhesives for Floor Tiling

There are proprietary adhesives for fixing tiles to timber. Either a thin-bed or thick-bed method can be used, dependent on the final use of the final floor area.

An epoxy-based resinous adhesive can be used to fix tiles. Supplied in the correct proportions, all the resin and hardener should be mixed, allowed to stand and then ‘knocked up’ for use. The mixture has a workable life of two hours.

Spread about lm2 at a time and use a knotched spreader or comb to score the adhesive surface. The thickness of the mix cannot be adjusted to accommodate differing levels.

A mixture of two parts adhesive to one part sand can be used to fill small hollows.

As the adhesive dries, a slight skin may form. To counteract this, twist each tile as it meets the adhesive, periodically checking to see that the tiles are in contact with the adhesive.

Tiles are fixed ‘dry’ and pressed firmly into position, ensuring they are evenly laid, with no raised edges. Never butt-joint tiles but allow a 3mm space all round.

Clean any adhesive from the face of the tiles, leave for at least six hours, and grout with a mixture of equal parts of Portland cement and sand or a proprietary grouting. Work grouting well into the joints.

There are various proprietary tile-fixing mediums which can be used in the thick- or thin-bed methods of tile laying, dependent on the use of the floor.

Setting out

Setting out tiles for all floor laying operations follows the same method.

Tiles should be laid to line up evenly with the doorway, running squarely away to the back of the room.

First, mark a line in the centre of the doorway and then draw a line at right angles to the first line for the length of the room.

Mark this line off in tile widths, using a marked batten. As floor tiles do not have spacer lugs, allow a 3mm gap between the tiles, using ceramic spacers or pieces of card as spacers.

Cutting in

As it is unlikely that the room will take an exact number of tiles, any cutting in can be done at the far end nearest the wall. Mark the point where the last full tile comes and nail a wooden batten across the room at the point where it finishes.

This batten must be at right angles to the centre line, even if it is not aligned with the rear wall. Nail a second batten to the left-hand corner of the first batten; this will give you a square corner.


Start tiling at this corner. This is the keystone of the entire operation and must be correct. A slight inaccuracy here would be increasingly obvious as tiling progresses.

Apply the adhesive with a notched trowel over an area of lm2, starting at the corner where the two battens meet, pressing the tiles into the adhesive. As you work, remove any adhesive adhering to the tile surface.

Once the main body of the tiling is complete, remove the battens and fix any cut tiles in position.

Cut tiles

To cut these, place a tile upside down over the gap to be filled, and mark two points at each end, indicating the waste portion, allowing for the tile spacing. Transfer the marks to the face of the tile and score a line between the points across the surface.

Next, kneel down, and grip a spare tile between your knees, firmly hold both sides of the tile to be cut, and strike it across the score line on to the edge of the held tile. This should result in a clean break. Any rough edges can be smoothed with a carborundum stone. ‘Butter’ the cut tile and fix it into position with the cut edge to the wall. Allow the tiles to set for 24 hours, remove the spacers, and then grout between the joints, making sure that the grout is pressed firmly between them. Remove excess with a damp sponge and later polish with a cloth.


Mosaic tiles are laid in a similar manner to standard floor tiles. Apply adhesive, and lay the sheets with the backing paper upwards.

Press them down firmly, so that the tiles are evenly bedded.

Remove any excess adhesive before laying the next section and make sure that the sections are accurately butted together.

Allow the adhesive to dry for 24 hours, moisten the backing paper and peel this off. The tiles can then be grouted in the conventional way.

Partial sheets or individual tiles may have to be removed and cut in at corners or around awkward or uneven places.

10. November 2011 by admin
Categories: Featured, Handyman Tips | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on How to Tile a Floor


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