Ceramic is great for kitchen floor tiles. It’s attractive hard-wearing easy to clean and it comes in styles colors and patterns to match any decor. The quality of finished floor depends on two things, careful planning and the quality of surface beneath it.
Installing kitchen floor tiles
For best results use backer board to create a smooth level surface. Installing backer board and 16 x 16 inch filled tiles in a kitchen. Before installing the backer board, check the subfloor to be sure it isn’t warped loose or damaged. Measure the space to determine how much backer board is necessary. Multiply it by 5% to allow for mistakes and unusable pieces. Check the installation area so that it’s free of dust dirt and debris. Use a vacuum to make sure everything is completely removed.
Lay out the pattern for the panels, plan the layout so the backer board will span and reinforce the joints in the subfloor. Plan on starting every other row with a half panel so the corners of adjacent panels don’t line up. Snap chalk lines to show where each panel will go.
Before you mix up the first batch of mortar and start putting down the backer board, decide where you lay the first panel. If it will be a partial panel cut it to size ahead of time. To cut back a board measure and mark cut off lines on both sides of the panel with the felt tip pen or carbide scoring tool. Align a straight edge with a line on one side of the panel and pull the scoring tool along at several times. Make as many passes as you need to break through the mesh on the surface. Place the straight edge on the other side of the panel and repeat the process. With the back of board on flat surface press down one side of the cut line with your hand and knee with the other hand lift up just enough to snap the board along the scored edges.
Mix your latex modified thinset mortar, then using square notched trowel apply mortar and comb it into straight vertical ridges. Immediately put the first piece of backer board in place, if you don’t set the panel when the mortar is wet gaps will form between the floor and panels and the tiles will crack when you walk on the gaps. Place spacers at the walls to leave a gap between the wall and the backer board as recommended by manufacturer. To set the panel in the mortar walk on it gently. Fasten the panel to the floor with one and a quarter inch backer board screws, follow the manufacture instructions for proper spacing and placement. Screws placed around the outside of the panel should be half inch from the edge. Using 16 pen nails as spacers leave a 1/8 inch gap between the panels. One at time lay the rest of the panels around the room, continue to use spacers at the walls and leave 1/8 inch gaps between panels. Once all the panels are in place, remove all the spacers.
Fill the spaces between the panels with mortar, use margin trowel to smooth it and form 3 inch wide band centered on the joint. Put fiberglass backer board joint tape across all of the seams and firmly embed them into mortar. Cover the seams with more mortar and smooth it trowel. Don’t expose the tape just feather the edges of the mortar. Once it dry you’re ready to start tiling.
Layout the floor
Proper pre-planning will help you avoid costly time-consuming mistakes. Laying the plan out on graph paper will help you decide where to start and what the finished floor will look like. To begin the actual layout start by finding the center of the room, measure the longest wall, calculate it midpoint and mark it. without mortar layout a row of tiles along the mark in both directions starting at the center point and working out. Insert spacers between the tiles stop when remaining space is less than a full tile.
Starting at the center of the room use trowel to spread and comb mortar up to the edge of one your layout lines. Put two tiles in place next to each other with spacer in between and press them firmly into the mortar. If mortar squeezes up between the tiles, the bed is to thick and the ridges to be shorter. Lift up one of tile and look at the bottom, the mortar should cover the entire surface. If you see parallel lines the mortar is to dry. If the ridges of the mortar have left solid lines on the tiles, the bed is to thin and you need to increase the height of the ridges.
Places spacers beside firs tile and set the second tile in place, twisting it slightly. Put beater block on top and tap lightly with a hammer or rubber mallet to level the tiles and embed them firmly in the mortar. Continue setting tiles in the same way until the floor is complete. Then let the mortar dry completely.
Grouting is the next step in the tiling process. Grout fills the spaces between the tiles. Grouting is messy so be sure to properly cover any areas that you don’t want to get dirty. Using margin trowel mix the powdered grout with liquid and apply it. Skim the excess grout off with the edges of the float to digging into the joints, move the float diagonally across the tiles. The grout will settup in about 5 to 15 mintes and have a putty like consistency. When a thumbnail pressed against it doesn’t leave an impression the grout is hard enough for the final cleanup.
With the damp sponge wipe tiles diagonally to clean them, rinse the sponge frequently in clean water. Remove any remaining haze, cure the grout and let it set thoroughly before applying sealer. The curing process is very important do not disturb it. Once the grout is cured, apply sealer with the sponge. Sealing tile grout gives it greater water and mildew resistance and help keep it from getting dirty. Make sure to wipe off any excess within 10 minutes, don’t let it dry in the tile.