Installing interior ceramic tile floors - November 28th 2001
It is very important that the under surface that you are tiling over be sound construction. Movement in the under surface can cause tiles and grout to crack and spoil the appearance of your floor. The stiffer the floor the better. Extra pony walls or braces under the floor or the addition of an extra layer of material on top of the existing surface can reduce movement .
During new construction you should consider floor joists on 12" centres instead of 16" centres on areas where you plan to install ceramic tile floors. Double layering of plywood floors is also highly recommended to stop the potential of cracking.
Laying the Tile:
Plan your layout before beginning to lay the tiles down. Remember that your often walls are not completely square. Concentrate on that focal points in the room and place full tiles in these areas. Cut tiles will be much less noticeable along cupboard edges etc.
Liquid latex additives are available to add to thin set mortar mixes to make the installation more durable. Epoxy ceramic tile adhesives are also available. They are stronger but more expensive. Whatever type of adhesive you are using do not skimp on the coverage. Trowel a thin coat onto the floor surface and cover the back of the tile completely with adhesive mortar, do not leave any ridges. There should be 3/16" of adhesive mortar between the tile and the floor surface. When placing the tiles on the floor do not push the tile too hard or you will force the bonding material out around the edges.