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Do it Yourself-- Tips on Tile


Today's homeowners are short on cash. Many homeowners are choosing to do-it-themselves. Making improvements to your home can be a great way to add value, especially if you keep costs low.

One popular projects today is tiling. Local home improvement stores offer weekend classes on how to tile. Check for the times available in your area. There are also a wide range of instructional videos available on YouTube that can steer you in the right direction. Sometimes it helps to see what to do in addition to reading what to do.

The first step is to measure your room. How many square feet of tile will you be needing? To figure this, multiply the length times the width. An 8 foot by 10 foot room, for example, will have 80 square feet. You'll need this figure to help you know how many tile to buy. Pricing is also generally by the square foot.

Types of Tile

Price ranges widely depending on what material you buy. There's a huge variety of tile, from large to small, slick to textured, decorative to utilitarian. The choice is yours! Porcelain and ceramic tile are less expensive that marble and travertine. Both options are durable and are made to last. The latter, however, will give any space an upgraded look. Entryways and sunrooms are complimented by slate and saltillo tiles. Be aware of the climate you are in. If you are tiling in an area that will be hit by the elements need to have appropriate choice of tile. 


  • Knee pads
  • Chalk line
  • Tile cutter or saw
  • Mortar and bucket to mix it in
  • Drill attachment for mixing mortar
  • Trowel to spread mortar
  • Tile. Always get a little extra. Tiles can break during installation and you'll also want a      few extra to keep for replacements down the road.
  • Plastic tile spacers
  • Grout and bucket to mix it in
  • Trowel to apply grout
  • Sponge to remove excess grout
  • Sealant
  • Sealant application bottle

Now that you have your supplies, here is a simply run-down of how you install tile.


First, clean the area thoroughly. You don't want any pieces of dirt or old mortar on the floor, since it will cause unevenness. Next, have a game plan. Where are you going to start your tile? Will you have the grout lines perpendicular to the door or will you have them angled? Laying out a chalk line on the floor ensures an even first row.

Next, mix the mortar and spread only a small amount at a time. It dries quickly! Place your first tile square with the chalk line. Press it firmly into the mortar and use a plastic spacer to get the next tile spaced perfectly. Continue your way around the room. You'll need to make cuts at certain points. A tile saw works best, but use what you have!

Next, you'll want to remove your spacers and let your tiles set for 24 hours. Don't walk or move the tiles during this time. The mortar needs time to set up.

Once you have your tiles in place, it's time to grout them! Mix your grout and then trowel it between the tiles. After 10 minutes, use a wet sponge diagonally to clean off the excess grout. Allow this to dry 72 hours before sealing your grout.

Working with tile isn't "rocket science". An amateur can do handle this project. Have faith in your abilities and you'll have something you've done with a real sense of pride and ownership. You CAN do it!