Getting Started: Tiling Your Concrete Floor

If you have an unfinished basement that you are hoping to spruce up, new flooring will have to be one of your considerations. Because concrete can expand and contract you have to be careful when choosing flooring.  Tile is a great option to put on top of concrete. Below is a guide to get you started.

Choosing Tile

The main choice you are going to have to make when choosing tile is between ceramic or porcelain tile. They both have advantages and disadvantages.  If you are working on a budget, ceramic is a better bet. If you are placing the tile in a high traffic area then you might want to consider porcelain.

Pulling up old Flooring

If there is old dirty carpet on the floor on top of your concrete, or maybe someone attempted to put hardwood down your first matter of business will be pulling up the old flooring. Most of it can be pulled up with a few tools like pliers, a utility knife, and a pry bar. A construction dumpster is also a very helpful tool during this process. Renting a construction dumpster will leave your yard without debris. You won’t have to worry about nails, old carpet padding or splinters filling your yard.

Preparing the floor

Before you lay tile you need to make sure the floor is clean. First sweep and vacuum the floor to ensure there is not dust or debris. Next you are going to want to scrub the floor with water and some type of degreaser.  Certain dish washing liquids will work. Rinse the floor and let it dry. Make sure there aren’t any patches of flooring with globes of paint or other substances stuck to them. If there is, you need to scrape these up before tiling.

Finding Center

Once you are sure that the floor is clean and free of debris you need to find the center of your room. Use chalk lines to mark the center so that you know where you should begin. This is much easier if you have a partner to help you.

Dry Run

Once the center is marked, you can do a trail run by placing tiles without thin set to ensure that your placement is correct. This is not something you want to find out after you have already laid tile down. Once the trial run is complete you are ready to start the tiling.

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