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What are the Best Tips for Installing Ceramic Tile?

Autumn Rivers
By
Updated Jan 21, 2024
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Installing ceramic tile is a task that can be done by most homeowners, as long as they pay attention to a few important tips. For example, it should be kept in mind that darker grout is often the most desirable type, as it tends to hide dirt better than the lighter kind. It is also advised that homeowners attach the tile to backer board rather than to the subfloor, unless the surface is made of concrete. Additionally, it is often worth it to purchase special tools for installing ceramic tile. In particular, a rubber hammer, a level, and a trowel are all typically useful for this process.

Homeowners usually have a few shades of grout to choose between, as the colors can range from lighter hues like white or beige, to darker ones like gray or brown. No matter which color is chosen, it should be noted that darker shades tend to hide dirt the best. Therefore, high traffic areas are typically better off with dark grout, unless the homeowner is willing to spend some extra time keeping the lighter grout clean. Additionally, a sealer should be applied after the grout is dry, as this will usually make it waterproof and easy to clean.

In most cases, ceramic flooring should not be attached directly to the floor. Instead, backer board should be attached to the subfloor, especially if the surface is made of wood. The most popular type of backer board is made of cement, as this type is durable and resistant to moisture. It should be noted that backer board is not meant to add structural strength to the floor, but is typically used as a level, solid surface for the tile to be attached to. On the other hand, those installing ceramic tile onto a concrete floor should be aware that backer board may not be necessary for this type of subfloor surface.

This task usually involves the use of a few tools, some of which may need to be purchased just for this purpose. For example, a small trowel is typically best for spreading the grout evenly when installing ceramic tile. Tools may also be used when setting the tile into place on the adhesive, as a rubber hammer can help ensure that each tile sticks to the bonding agent securely. Finally, a level is often a good instrument to use while installing ceramic tile since it is a simple way to make sure that the new flooring is even.

WiseGeek is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Autumn Rivers
By Autumn Rivers
Autumn Rivers, a talented writer for WiseGeek, holds a B.A. in Journalism from Arizona State University. Her background in journalism helps her create well-researched and engaging content, providing readers with valuable insights and information on a variety of subjects.
Discussion Comments
By RagingFlower — On Dec 18, 2014

I'm looking into trying this Do-It-Yourself project for a small foyer. I already have the tools -- a level, a rubber mallet and a trowel -- the author suggested and understand that I can rent the tile cutter from a big box housing store. I'm not sure, however, on what particular type of saw I'll need to cut the the backer board which is made partially of cement. Do I need to purchase or rent a special type or would the store cut it for me to any measurements I provide? Any tips would be greatly appreciated.

Autumn Rivers
Autumn Rivers
Autumn Rivers, a talented writer for WiseGeek, holds a B.A. in Journalism from Arizona State University. Her background in journalism helps her create well-researched and engaging content, providing readers with valuable insights and information on a variety of subjects.
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