Installing larger sized ceramic tile floors are lot more easier than installing mosaic tiles. Here are the best tips for your to install large sized ceramic tile floors
Using the center line of the room (hallway, etc.) lay the tile outward to the walls. The goal in the layout is to have the largest pieces of tile against each wall. You do not want a ten inch piece on one side and a one inch piece on the other.
Try to balance the piece sizes if at all possible without ruining the visual appearance of the tile grout lines when you are done. A four foot wide hallway for instance with two full 12″ file and two eleven inch pieces is fine after deducting the width of the grout lines. If it appeals to you visually it is OK as long as you avoid those little narrow pieces of tile.
Sometimes small pieces cannot be seen due to the room layout. Try to place them under the stove and fridge where they are out of sight. Once your layout is established, install the floor leveling compound in any areas that shrunk after the initial coat was applied. Many products can be applied down to a papers thickness making the floor very smooth and even.
Remove any ridges left in the floor compound once it is completely dry. Sweep and vacuum the entire floor to assure there are no bits of debris left behind. This is the time to block off the room to all foot traffic except yours. Kids sneakers can carry small pieces of dirt and if left on the floor and not removed will surely crack the tile when stepped on later.
Vacuum the floor a second time. When you think it is perfectly clean it is not. Make the extra effort. Snap a blue chalk line on the center line of the closest grout line to the middle of the room. This will be your starting point for laying the tile. Using pre-mix tile adhesive or after mixing your own, spread some of the adhesive along side the chalk line for four or five tiles. Do not spread an area bigger than you can easily reach. Keep tile as close to yourself as you lay the new floor.
A helper can be a big asset and make the work go much faster by feeding you tile and adhesive. Using a 1/4″ or 3/8″ notched steel trowel will allow the tile to compress the adhesive and make a good tight bond to the back of the tile and provide full support at the same time. Any voids left under the tiles will cause a crack when stepped on.
You may purchase tile spacers to help you make all the grout joints the same width. They are very cheap and are reusable. As you place each tile, place two spacers on each side of the one installed and the next tiles will slide right up against the spacers making a uniform grout space. You can purchase a rather inexpensive tile cutter or rent one if your doing only one room. Practice on one tile to get the hang of how much pressure you need to use to score the tiles and snap them.
Not real hard and you will get the hang of it quickly. A pair of tile nippers (pliers) will help you chip away at a tile edge to fit against a pipe or odd corners and so on. Finish one area before moving onto another.
Install all the cut pieces if you cannot access that area after the main full tile are laid. Work your way to the door so all the tile is 100% installed as you exit the room. Barricade the doorway very well. Anyone stepping on the tile before the adhesive dries will cause the tile to shift and heave thereby ruining the entire floor. Chopping out damaged tiles is no fun at all. In warm weather you can grout the floor the next day.
Most adhesive manufacturers say wait 24 hours but 18 hours in warm weather is usually OK. Starting at the farthest point from the door (assuming there is only one) install your grout using a sponge rubber float and pressing the grout down into the grout joints on a 45 degree angle to the joints.
You want to fill the joint and leave it just very slightly concave. If you use the float in line with the joints you will see you are removing more grout than you want. Very quickly you will get the hang of it. Do a small area that again you can easily reach. After the grout is in, using a wet sponge with clean water and wrung out, wipe off as much excess grout as possible.
Do not carve out the grout in the grout joints. It is easy to do and once dry cannot be repaired without total removal. Proceed over the entire floor until all the grout is installed. After an hour or so of drying you will want to do a second cleaning with the damp sponge to remove all the haze that will quickly form on the tile.
Use a soft cloth to buff the tile as you go and the final cleaning will be fairly easy. If more heavy work is to be done in the room, place some heavy cardboard pieces over the tile to protect them from damage. A good idea is wait two full days after grouting before allowing foot traffic back on the floor.