Blog Post

This time I’ll be showing you the steps I took to get rid of our old junkie carpet and linoleum, and lay down a great looking tile.

This is just a recap from the first video showing the old brown carpet in the vanity and closet area, and how I removed the aged linoleum from the shower and toilet room.

Once the floor was down to nothing but the plywood sub-floor, I swept and vacuumed to make sure it was free of debris.

I measured out the dimensions for the ¼ inch cement backer board that would go on the floor.

After cutting the sheets to size, I started laying them down on the floor.

Again, I took the same steps in the other room to make sure there was nothing between the backer board and the sub-floor.

In this room, I could lay out some full sheets. The goal is to have as short of joints as possible so I staggered the full sheets and made some cuts. Where necessary, I notched out sections to fit around corners.

At this point, this is nothing but a dry fit. I just laid down backer boards until the floor was completely covered.

I chose to use a modified thin-set to prevent any cracking down the road. I added water and then poured in the mortar until it was the right consistency. I just followed the directions on the bag.

To make mixing easier, I used one of these spiral concrete mixers attached to a drill. It makes quick work of the job.

I took the mortar inside and removed the first sheet. I began slopping the mortar down onto the floor and then spread it out. I spread the thin-set first, and then straightened out the notched lines after.

I realized I needed to install this other sheet first since it had to slip under the bump out for the closet.

Once the boards were down, I walked around on them to make sure there was a good bond to the sub-floor.

To lock them in place, I used inch-and-a-quarter galvanized roofing nails and drove them in roughly every 12 inches.

I continued the same process for the rest of the room. Lay down some thin-set, smash it down, and drive in some nails.

I had to remove this far sheet first since it was notched around the other side of the closet.

The whole process did take a little bit of time, but wasn’t difficult. It’s one of those quick transformation steps that are extremely satisfying.

I moved into the smaller room to finish up the cement backer board installation.

Using an old chalk-line I inherited from my wife’s grandfather, I marked a line that was in the center of the doorway. This would make the tile visually symmetrical as you come in the room.

We tried out a few different tile patters, but ultimately decided on straight herringbone.

I laid out the tiles, working from the back of the room, to make sure I had a full tile front and center. I also didn’t want some weird sizes around the perimeter. It took some time to get it all adjusted and marked out, but it was worth it.

Once I was sure where to start, I plopped down the mortar for the first tile and set it in place. To get the best results, I pulled the notched lines in one direction, and then rocked the tile back and forth in the other direction. This collapses all the lines down and gives the best possible connection.

I continued adding thin-set and smashing down the tiles. Since these tiles, at 12 by 24, were pretty big, I used a wide, ­­3/8-inch spacing.

I took the process slow and methodical, but the hardest part was just getting the pattern right.

And here is where that process broke down. Coming around this corner made me mess up the tile pattern. Luckily, I realized after only a few tiles, and could fix the mistake.

Now that the all the large tiles were place in this room, I added all the smaller pieces along the walls.

I went back to the larger room and filled in some more of the puzzle pieces.

I had already pre-cut all the thin pieces for the perimeter and now just lifted each one up and put it in place. This was already the next day so I could move around on the tile.

I laid these tiles last because I wanted to get the water-proofing membrane under the tile first. I’ll show that water-proofing step in another video.

This is what the tile looked like after the whole room was laid, but before the grout.

I started in the back corner, spreading the grout down over the tiles. It’s important to smash the grout down into the joints as much as possible.

The steps are to lay down the grout into the joints with the float at a 45-degree angle, and then come back and drag the float at a 90-degree angle to remove the excess.

After letting the grout set up for a little while, I came back with a bucket of warm water and a sponge to clean up any grout that was on top of the tiles, and not in the joints.

And here is the finished product. A brand-new floor. I finished the floor by adding a coat of tile and grout sealer.

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