|Give an old floor a new look|
Preparing the floor for tiles
If you are installing ceramic tile on a bathroom floor you will save yourself time and money by removing and reinstalling the toilet yourself. For each toilet you will need one wax toilet bolt gasket, one toilet supply line, and two brass mounting bolts.
Installation is the reverse of removal. Shut water supply off, flush toilet and wait. The tank should not fill up. Using channel locks or pliers, unscrew the supply line from the toilet tank and unscrew mounting bolts from toilet bowl. Use a hacksaw to cut mounting bolts if they are rusted through. Then lift and gently set toilet down on cardboard. The flange should then be thoroughly cleaned.
A popular trim molding called quarteround is sometimes found installed on the bottom of baseboards. Because its rounded shape increases the grout joint along the walls it is recommended that you remove them prior to installing the tile. Using a razor knife, score the caulk seal on the top and bottom corner of the quarteround. Wedge prybar under trim by lightly tapping it with a hammer and pull trim loose.
Because ceramic tile adds to the height of your floor any thresholds already installed are probably unsuitable for the job and should be removed.
Vinyl flooring is a poor substrate for ceramic tile flooring and should be removed wherever possible. Use a razor knife to cut through the vinyl flooring along edges of walls. Find a loose corner or edge of vinyl and pull hard. A razor scraper may be necessary to finish the job.
Choose a ceramic tile floor
Unglazed Tile - There is no glazing or any other coating applied to the tile. Their colour is the same on the face of the tile as it is on the back resulting in very durable tiles that do not show the effects of heavy traffic. The most common unglazed tiles are the red quarry tiles or the granite looking porcelain ceramic tiles used in heavy commercial areas. Some of the other important things we can help with when selecting ceramic tiles is the slip-resistance, the size and color of the grout joints, the thickness of the tile, height variations from room to room, size of the tile, suitability of the subfloor, and cleaning of the tile. Ceramic tiles with bright reflective surfaces (bright glaze finish) are not recommended for floors as they can pose a slip hazard and have poor abrasive resistance. If you have never considered ceramic tiles before, you will be amazed at the variety of colours, patterns, sizes, shapes, and textures available for you to choose from. With the sophisticated manufacturing processes being used today, ceramic tiles have become easy to maintain, much more affordable, and can compliment any interior design.
Glazed Tile - Most of the common ceramic floor tiles have either a glazed, or unglazed surface. The glazed tiles have a special ceramic coating that is applied to the body of the tile and then fired under tremendous heat. The glazing becomes hard and non-porous resulting in a flooring that is: stain resistant, scratch resistant, fire resistant, doesn't fade from sun light, slip resistant and easy to clean
Ceramic or Stone? - Ceramic is a man-made product and is generally homogeneous in construction. In other words, each and every tile has the identical composition and therefore has predictable qualities. On the other hand, stone tile is a product of nature and can differ in composition from tile to tile and therefore has unpredictable qualities. Ceramic tiles are generally non to slightly porous with a very low absorbency. Stone tiles can be very absorbent and for this reason can cause several different setting problems. Test data is available for many common stones and should be requested by the consultant. Ceramic tile is generally light weight and relatively thin. Stone tile ranges from 3/8-inch thick to as much as 1 1/4-inch thick and can be very heavy. A 12-inch square stone tile can weigh as much as 10 pounds or more. The backside of a ceramic tile is cast with many different corrugation designed to provide the proper bonding of the tile to the setting bed. The backside of a stone tile has no corrugation and is generally saw-cut or smoothed. Ceramic tile is generally resistant to acids. Certain stone tile, marble for example, is very sensitive to acids.
Porcelain Tiles - Porcelain tile is a ceramic tile that is generally made by the dust pressed method from a composition which results in a tile that is dense, impervious, fine grained and smooth, with a sharply formed face. Porcelain tile is available in mat, unglazed or a high polished finish. Manufactured in various thickness and sizes.
Quarry Tiles - A glazed or unglazed tile made by the extrusion process from natural clay or shale. This tile is most common in the dark red shades; however, shades of brown and gray are also available.
Mexican Tile/Terracota - This tile is generally hand-made and varies in colour, texture and appearance. The tile is available in various shapes and sizes. The tile may come pre-finished or require the application of various types of sealers or coatings on site to provide a wearing surface.
Terrazzo Tiles - Pre-manufactured consisting of marble or granite chips in a portland cement or epoxy matrix in various thickness and sizes.
Courtesy Trinidad, Express Mix, Magazine, Sunday, March 21st 2004