Three Things to Know Before You Start a DIY Tiling Job

  Jeremiah Caughron is a real estate and construction professional and a sales manager for Aire Serv. Passionate about making living spaces safer and more attractive, Jeremiah Caughron enjoys DIY home remodeling projects, such as tiling floors.

Installing tiles on a concrete floor looks easy on television remodeling shows, but in reality, the job is complicated. Here are three things you should know before you begin tiling your floor:

Thinset is difficult to mix. Thinset must be mixed with water in the correct ratio to become a smooth solution. Mixing thinset is physically strenuous. Novices will notice dry lumps in their mixtures. While letting the thinset settle for about 10 minutes will allow the lumps to absorb moisture and become smoother, the wait times can be limiting. The best option for a first time installer is to purchase premixed thinset.

Cracks in the concrete should be repaired before you tile. At the point of a crack, the concrete will not be able to support the tile. This eventually will lead to cracked tiles. Before you lay a tile, fill cracks less than an eighth of an inch with suppression compounds. For larger sections, remove the concrete and install a new slab.

Floors that are not flat are a nightmare to tile. Before you apply thinset, check the floor with a straight edge to identify low spots. If any of these spots are more than a quarter of an inch deep, apply thinset over them to make the surface even. If the floor is severely uneven, use a self-leveling compound to create a consistently flat surface.