(BPT) – A bathroom remodel is on the agenda for 31 percent of homeowners in 2018, according to a survey by Lightstream, a national online lending division of SunTrust Bank. Those remodeling efforts can take many forms, but arguably the most dramatic and impactful upgrade to a bathroom is installing a new tile floor. While that may sound like a complicated undertaking that is better left to a pro, with a few simple tips, even homeowners with modest do-it-yourself experience and skill can successfully install a reasonable-sized tile bathroom floor. Even in cases where a homeowner ultimately decides to hire a pro for the job, understanding some basic tile installation practices and principles will make the project less daunting and the overall experience more positive.
Note: These tips give homeowners useful insights to consider when installing a tile bathroom floor, but do not cover every detail of the process. Homeowners should always consider local building codes and Tile Council of North America guidelines before starting any tile installation project.
* Measuring the floor — Calculate how many square feet of tile you will need, being sure to consider voids and curves for the toilet, vanity, bathtub and/or shower. Always round the measurements up to the nearest foot and then add 10 percent to avoid running out of tile.
* Preparing the surface — Remove the existing floor to include adhesives, mortars or other residues. If the substrate is concrete, patch or level it so the surface is smooth and flat. If the subfloor is wood, attach a cement backerboard like WonderBoard Lite before installing tile. Applying a waterproofing material like RedGard Crack Prevention and Waterproofing Membrane is recommended to combat the moisture and water exposure in a bathroom.
* Designing the floor — Lay out the tile in the desired pattern to determine required cuts and confirm accuracy of measured dimensions. Create a layout guide representing the pattern by popping chalk lines on the floor starting at the walls and working into the middle.
* Selecting the mortar — Choose a mortar designed for the specific type and size tile on the installation. Tiles longer than 15 inches on any side are very popular these days and require the use of large format tile mortar like ProLite that has non-slump properties to prevent lippage. After selecting the right size notched trowel, apply the mortar on the clean, dry surface in one direction to form straight, parallel lines before applying the tile.
* Selecting the grout — Choose a single-component grout like Fusion Pro that requires no mixing so filling joints is easy and fast. In addition, this single-component grout has unmatched color consistency that won’t fade and is stain proof so applying a sealer isn’t necessary. To make sure the grout color matches the tile, conduct a test by filling the joints between four tiles on a small piece of backerboard to simulate the larger installation.
* Caring for the floor — Always use pH neutral cleaning products like TileLab Grout & Tile Cleaner designed to remove dirt, stains, mold and other unwanted contaminants from tile and grout without etching, discoloring or otherwise harming the surface.
In addition to potentially saving thousands hiring a pro, the gratification and pride a homeowner enjoys after remodeling a bathroom with a new tile floor is irreplaceable. Of course, homeowners should always follow the instructions on product packaging before use so the project goes smoothly and all warranty requirements remain intact. For comprehensive details on every phase of tile installation, visit the Custom Building Products website at www.custombuildingproducts.com.