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How to tile a floor

How to tile a floor: get started

It may happen that the floor in your home needs to be tiled again. Either because you no longer like existing tiles, or because they are old and damaged or even broken. In this case there are basically two possibilities: contact a professional tiler, who will do the job for a variable rate between 15 and 30-35 euros per square meter, or do everything quietly by yourself. In this case, the first question that arises is precisely how to tile a floor? The first thing to do, if you choose to do it yourself, is to take the measurements to establish the number of tiles needed. The number of these depends on the size of the tiles, their shape and the design you want to appear at the end of the work. It is always advisable to buy 5-10% more tiles, especially if you are not an expert, to be used in case of cuts and possible breakages. As for the color of the flooring and grout for the joints, dark mortar is usually used on light floors, and vice versa. Finally, the bottom must be examined to find irregularities and level it by spreading a special leveling mixture.

Lay the tiles and take the measurements


The next step in how to tile a floor is the actual laying of the tiles. Having already calculated the measurements of the room, now we need to find the center point of the room. To do this, it is sufficient to find the two median points of two adjacent walls (in the case of a rectangular room), and start two lines perpendicularly from these points, until they always cross the opposite wall perpendicularly. The intersection of the two lines will be the center point of the room. At this point it can be seen that four areas with the same measurements will have formed. Now you can start laying the tiles, without glue or mortar, starting from the corner closest to the central point, taking care to leave small spaces (which will be the joints) between the individual tiles. IS’ important to do only one sector at a time. Arrived near the wall, laying the tiles, we can start taking measurements for any tiles to be cut to fill the empty spaces that will almost certainly be created near the wall.

Fix the tiles


Now we can start gluing the tiles to the bottom. By removing (two or three at a time) the previously placed tiles, we begin to spread the glue, starting from the center of a quadrant and going outwards, always working in only one quadrant at a time. The adhesive should be spread evenly with a trowel, and then slightly streaked (perhaps with the help of a notched trowel). We then arrange the tiles on the glue that has just been applied, pressing not too hard, and then place some tile spacers between one tile and the next (they are cheap in every hardware store). It is advisable to check, with a level, that the tiles just positioned are flat, possibly correcting the laying of the same and adjusting the quantity of adhesive for the following ones, to keep everything level. Finally, we remove the spacers while the adhesive is still fresh, and we wait 12-24 hours for it to set on the tiles just placed.

Fill the joints and clean


Now we need to fill in the joints. First we have to spread the mortar, to be chosen usually dark on a light floor and vice versa. It can be spread with a trowel, taking care to subsequently remove the excess mortar, passing it over a few tiles at a time. Let the mortar dry for 5 minutes. It will form a halo due to drying. We can easily remove these halos with a wet sponge, to be passed not inside the joints but around them, thus also removing any excess mortar residues. Once this is done, press well and move on to the next tiles, checking that the joints of the tiles just treated are all well filled with mortar. For joints near walls and skirting boards, it is advisable to seal instead of using the mortar. This is because the tiles tend, like all bodies, to expand and retreat in reaction to heat or cold, therefore the use of the sealant, being more elastic than the mortar, will provide an “escape route” for the expansion and contraction of the tiles. Once the work is finished, we leave the floor to consolidate for a few days, without washing it or subjecting it to further pressure.

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