Subfloor preparation is the most important step in accomplishing a proper installation.  The subfloor must be structurally sound, rigid, smooth, flat and free of curing compounds and oily or waxy films.  Appropriate moisture content of the floor must be determined and maintained.  Some subfloors require the installation of a cement backer board or similar material.

Periodically, you may discover concealed damaged once your old floor covering has been removed.  It is at this time that a qualified installer will be able to determine any repairs necessary to bring the floor into compliance with manufacturer specifications and allow it to properly accept the new flooring.

The layout of the floor is determined by measurements and squaring off the area for installation.  A chalk-line is snapped to determine the starting point.  Patterns and inserts will also affect the final layout.  Be sure to include enough extra material for cuts and patterns when ordering your product.

It is important to determine what furniture and/or appliances can and will be moved by the installer.  Typically, there are select items, such as antiques, pianos and aquariums, for which moving services may not be available.   Most flooring installers are not licensed to disconnect or reconnect water or gas.  It is recommended that a licensed professional be retained to take care of plumbing, electrical and electronic needs.  Often, there are manufacturer restrictions on the amount of time required after installation before walking on or replacing furniture onto the new flooring.  If you are doing the furniture and appliance removal and replacement yourself, be sure to have the work areas cleared before the installer arrives.  Please consult your sales associate for more specific information.

Today’s tile often blends colors and shades within each tile.  Even more uniform, single-color tiles may have slight tone variations.   Minimize problems by combining tiles from various boxes throughout the installation.

Specialty tiles, such as glass or metal, may require specialized setting materials and extra care during the installation.  Consult your sales associate or manufacturer specifications for more details.

Thinset is used to adhere the tiles to the subfloor.  It is spread using an appropriately sized trowel for the size and type of the tile to be installed.  It is important that this step is performed correctly to ensure proper grip of the tile to the subfloor and minimize future problems.

Each tile is secured in the thinset by twisting and pressing it into place.  It is important to leave space for the grout joints.  A straight edge or spacers may be used to align the tile and create consistent joints.

Grout joints are spaces between tiles that hold a colored, cement-type mixture once the tiles have been permanently installed.  Grout joints size is based on the type of tile, application and type of grout being used.  It is important to determine the size and color of the grout joints with your sales associate prior to installation.

Prior to grouting, allow the thinset enough time to cure.  Grouting is typically done on the day following installation.  Grout is applied over a small section at a time using a rubber float or squeegee to spread it.  By pulling the grout firmly over the flooring surface, grout is deposited into the joints.  It is important to evenly and properly fill the joint.  Excess grout on the surface of the tile can be rinsed using a damp sponge.  Avoid using too much water when rinsing.  Note that some grout joints may need minor repair over time due to movement of the subfloor.

Sealing of the tile and/or grout is done once the setting materials have completely cured.  This final step will help extend the life and beauty of your tile.  Consult your sales associate or manufacturer specifications for appropriate guidelines.

Tile is a durable choice in floor covering when properly installed and maintained.  From ceramic and porcelain to travertine and marble, there is a tile for almost every application and décor.