Did you know that installation cost can account for up to 80% of your total tile project cost? In many cases, especially smaller projects, the labor cost to install your tile can be much greater than the cost of your tile! Though hiring a professional is always a good idea, it can be cost prohibitive for some. That is why we have some DIY installation tips by Clay Imports:
There is a wide range of difficulty levels when installing tile. While we would consider certain installations to be completely far too advanced for DIY, some projects are relatively simple and beginner-friendly.
Let’s take a look at this DIY shower wall installation by Ayse Iyriboz
Video and pictures by Beef & Pie Productions
What you need
✔️ Grout (and grout release if needed)
✔️ Tile adhesive
✔️ Tile spacers
✔️ Wet saw
✔️ Ruler and Pencil
✔️ Mild detergent
✔️ 1-2 days to dedicate
STEP 1. Inspect the tile
Firstly, always unpack every piece of your tile and make sure that you have enough to complete your project. The best way to confirm that you have enough tile is to exactly lay out your tile before you start the installation. And while you’re at it, mix tiles from all the different cases ensuring that your tiles share an array of variation.
STEP 2. Install tile spacers
Once all the tile is spread out, include appropriately sized spacers in between the tiles. Tile spacers are designed to leave a consistent space between tiles, i.e. the grout joint. You can buy tile spacers at about any hardwood store or online. Now, your layout is representative of the installed project.
It’s time to make cuts
STEP 3. Measure & cut your tile
As part of your layout, you will most likely need to cut some tile. We recommend cutting all needed tiles prior to installation. To know which tiles to cut where, take a ruler and a pen and mark lines on all tiles that will need to be cut. Then, carefully cut your tiles with a wet saw.
STEP 4. Draw installation grid lines
Once you have all tiles, including your cut pieces, and tile spacers laid-out, begin drawing an installation grid on your installation surface (your installation surface may be Hardi-Backer, concrete, or sheetrock.)
Now, your grid can vary in line density. This is based on the tile you are using and the area of your installation. Generally, your grid lines should measure the size of 4 pieces of tile, in a square. For example, if you are using an 8-inch tile, with a ¼” grout joint, then your grid squares should measure 16-½”.
Now that all the grid lines have been marked onto your installation surface, it’s time to install tile!
Let’s get to it
STEP 5. Trowel the adhesive
Use a high grade glue that is compatible to your installation surface, and begin troweling the adhesive between the grid lines. The key for a DIY installation is to be diligent and only trowel one to two grid sections at a time.
STEP 6. Install the tile
Now, take your tiles from our layout, one grid section at a time and glue them onto your installation surface. Add tile spacers to avoid wonky grout joints. Make sure that the edges of the tile are installed line up and sit flush with the tile next to it. FYI, if your tiles are directional, make sure that you are installing them in the correct direction!
Keep on installing your tile, two grids at a time, until all tiles are installed.
STEP 7. Pull the tile spacers
All adhered? Now, gently clean away adhesive and residue from the tile surface with a damp sponge. After the adhesive has dried, you can begin pulling the tile spacers from the joints.
STEP 8. Apply the grout
Now that the tiles are firmly adhered to the installation surface, it’s time to apply grout. We always recommend grouting your tiles, although groutless installations are possible in certain applications. Grouting will ensure the longevity of your installation.
Using an appropriate grout, begin troweling the grout across the tile surface in a diagonal direction. Press firmly and fill the joints fully. Compress as much of the grout between the joints as possible, so only a minimal amount remains on the tile surface.
Again, be meticulous and only apply grout to sections of approximately 3 to 4 square feet or 8 tiles at a time. Immediately following grout application to one section, begin cleaning away grout residue from the tile surface with water and a sponge, wiping in a circular motion.
STEP 9. Clean excess grout
Continue applying grout sections and cleaning residue from the surface until the entire installation area is complete. After the entire area has been cleaned, there might still be a thin layer of grout residue. You can clean this residue during the final cleaning.
Make it shine!
STEP 10. Final cleaning
After you have successfully grouted your tile, wait 24 hours, then get ready to make that tile sparkle! For the final cleaning use a combination of mild detergent, such as dishwashing soap, and warm water. This will remove all residue from the tile surface.
Disclaimer: since the installation of tile greatly determines the integrity of the project and the tile itself, Clay imports does not warranty this product and is not responsible for dissatisfaction of material following installation. Please inspect all tile upon receipt and notify us immediately if you have any quality concerns. This guide is meant to serve as a general resource. Because each project is unique, consult your tile installer before installing your tile.