Laying tiles on the floor

An object

Hall of a 3-storey country house:

  • room length: 6.20 m;
  • room width: 3.65 m;
  • room area: 22.63 sq.m .;
  • entrance to the room from the front side;
  • there are windows on the left wall;
  • a fireplace is located on the right wall.
  • Bathroom:

  • length: 2.87 m;
  • width: 1.30 m;
  • area: 3.73 sq.m.
  • Total area: 26.36 sq.m.
    Location: Moscow region, village Timonino.
    Manufacturer of works: professional construction team.

    Intellectual and labor force:

  • designer;
  • tiler.
  • Instruments:

  • level;
  • metal spatula;
  • “Comb”: wide notched trowel for even application of the mortar;
  • plastic crosses necessary to ensure even joints between tiles;
  • small rubber trowel for grouting;
  • wooden lath, cords;
  • sanding mechanism, sandpaper.
  • Stages of work

    1. Checking the condition of the concrete screed

    The tiler detects the difference in floor height

    The designer – the head of the work, using the level, found out that the quality of the concrete screed in the hall and in the bathroom is satisfactory (it is relatively flat, does not crumble, without cracks), but the floor level in the hall has a height difference of about 2.5 cm both in width and along the length of the room (a slight slope towards the front door). The designer suggested eliminating the drop by making a new concrete screed.

    However, after agreeing on this issue with the customer, it was decided not to make a new screed, but to level the floor (and only along the width of the room) already in the process of laying the tiles – due to the thickness of the glue layer.

    Having examined the floor in the bathroom, we came to the conclusion that the door allows you to level the floor in the same way as in the hall.

    Time: 15-20 minutes.

    Why did the designer decide to level the floor only to the width of the room??

    Firstly, in order to save materials and time. Secondly, human vision is arranged in such a way that the optical perception of the width of the room is always clearer than the perception of the length of the room, therefore it was decided to level the floor only in width.

    2. Finding the actual center of the room and the semantic center of the composition

    Craftsmen determine the place for the central tiles of the panel

    Since not just tiles were purchased for the floor, but a panel (4 tiles with a pattern forming the center of the panel, terracotta and coffee-colored tiles, as well as border tiles), the first task was to determine the center of the mosaic composition.

    The customer and the designer unanimously decided that the center of the panel must necessarily be opposite the furnace of the fireplace, built, fortunately, exactly in the middle of one of the walls of the room. Then they measured the distance from the established semantic center of the composition to the middle of each wall, checking whether the semantic center coincides with the actual center of the room.

    The semantic center of the mosaic composition coincided with the actual center of the room. Otherwise (for example, if the fireplace was displaced relative to the middle of the wall), you would have to neglect the actual center of the room and move the entire panel to the fireplace, placing the central tiles opposite its furnace.

    Time: 30-40 minutes.

    3. Installation of beacons

    According to the rules, the laying of the tiled panel begins from the central part of the panel. To do this, first stretch the cords connecting the centers of the opposite walls, and at their intersection in the center of the room, in front of the fireplace, lay 4 central tiles, aligning them parallel to the walls of the room.

    Then on the revealed highest place of the screed – the far left corner of the room – the tiles are reinforced, which will serve as the first “beacon” (that is, the level of laying the rest of the tiles will be determined by it). Then the next “beacon” tile is installed according to the level so that the lace stretched between them passes through the center of the room. They also stretch the cord from the highest point to the threshold (since it was decided not to level the floor along the length of the room, the tile will repeat the slope of the floor).

    Time: 25-30 minutes.

    4. Trying tiles

    When laying tiles around the fireplace, I had to bite out

    Having installed 4 central tiles, the master began to lay out the picture of the panel (during the “fitting”, the tiles are not glued, but simply placed on the floor). This is necessary in order to find out whether trimming of tiles near the walls and when “bypassing” the protruding parts of the fireplace is required (the less trimming, the faster the work will be completed and the more effective the appearance of the mosaic composition). At the same time, the master checks if the tile has any defects.

    What defects can there be?

    The boxes of the tiles purchased may be from different batches (that is, the tiles were made at different times) and slightly differ in color. In case of slight color deviations, the master mixes tiles from different boxes before laying. Glaze chips and scratches can be detected. The master lets such tiles for cutting. The tile can have significant deviations from the square or rectangular shape. To avoid the distortion that occurs during installation, the seams between the tiles are made wider than usual. The tile is leveled by changing the joint width. Cheap tiles are often slightly concave in shape. In this case, the master can increase the layer of glue by sinking the tiles in it, thus trying to correct the defect..

    Fortunately, the master did not find any obvious defects in the tile. According to the designer’s idea, the central pattern of the panel is surrounded by two rows of coffee-colored tiles “seam-to-seam” (that is, in the form of ordinary cells), then the border tile is laid exactly half the size of the square tile used. Following the curb, terracotta tiles are laid out on the floor; they will need to be laid “diagonally” relative to the central fragment of the panel.

    And here the first hitch arises: the tiler informs that if terracotta tiles are laid “diagonally”, then trimming will be required at the curb.

    Ambush number 1

    The edge of the cut tile often turns out to be uneven, and if it can be masked or leveled against the wall with a well-made and worn seam, then in the very center of the mosaic panel it will look untidy. And if you try to sand an uneven edge, then a layer of colored glaze will be removed and the sanded edge of the tile will be gray, which is also unacceptable in our case. A professional tiler will definitely pay attention to this and warn the customer before starting work (as in our case).

    The designer suggests to the customer to lay terracotta tiles not “diagonally”, but “seam in seam”, as well as coffee-colored tiles, in order to avoid trimming the tiles in the very center of the panel. The customer agrees, and the tiler starts a new “fitting” of the tile already “seam to seam”.

    But a new problem arises, which is immediately successfully solved.

    Ambush number 2

    The number of staggered tiles is kept to a minimum

    Due to the fact that the size of the curb tiles is 1/2 square, the terracotta tiles are displaced during installation. At the same time, part of the panel is laid “seam in seam”, and part – “in a run” (like brickwork). The customer starts to “boil” on the sly – his original plan has been completely violated. But finally, after collectively crawling on the floor and dragging the tiles from place to place (the picture was very reminiscent of laying out a giant solitaire game), a compromise was found, in which the number of tiles laid “at a distance” was reduced to a minimum (see photo).

    So, “fitting” is over. The customer sighs with relief. The designer is about to leave.

    Time: at least 1 hour.

    5. Mixing tile adhesive

    The dry glue mixture is mixed with water in the proportions indicated on the package. An unremarkable dusty-dirty process.

    Time: 5-10 minutes.

    6. Directly laying tiles

    With a metal spatula, the glue mass is applied to the floor, the tiles are laid and slightly pressed down. In places requiring leveling, a thicker layer of glue is applied, checking the accuracy of laying with a level. In high areas of the floor, the layer of glue is less, and for its even distribution, a “comb” is passed over it. A distance of about 2–3 mm is left between the tiles. Plastic crosses of the required thickness are inserted into the corner joints of the tiles: they will help maintain the same distance between the tiles and the accuracy of corner joints.

    Note: Before laying the tiles in the bathroom, we dismantled the tulip sink leg, the toilet bowl and the shower stall. Then the holes of the sink and toilet sinks were overlaid with tiles, while the “extra” parts of the tile were “bite out” with pliers or drilled out. At the end of the tile laying work, the plumbing fixtures were hoisted in their original place and fixed.

    Time: 7 working days.

    7. Dilution of grout

    The dry composition is diluted with water in accordance with the instructions on the package..

    Time: 5-10 minutes.

    8. Grouting

    The space between the tiles is smeared with a trowel using a small rubber trowel. The joint surface should be just below the tile level.

    In conclusion, a special rounded device is carried out along the seam, giving it an even, complete look. In the absence of a special device, the master puts the final gloss with his own finger, wrapped in a piece of durable fabric. It turns out well too.

    Time: 1 working day.


    For laying floor tiles on an area of ​​26.4 sq.m. spent 8.5 days (about 3 hours for preparation of the work front + 8 days for work).

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