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A DIY Guide To Laying Patio Floor Tiles

How to go about laying patio floor tiles

This is an article from David at Direct Tile Warehouse.

Laying patio floor tiles is a great way totransform your garden into a gathering space. Gone are the days when they were only available in certain styles. Nowadays, thanks to advancements in the way they are manufactured, they can be purchased in a plethora of shapes, sizes and colours. This article will provide you with a step by step guide to laying patio floor tiles.

Before you begin

Before you start placing your tiles, you should first check that the concrete is clean and in good condition. If the concrete isn’t in good condition, use a concrete cleaner and scrub brush to remove any grease, dirt or debris that may be lingering on the surface. Once you have done this, make sure that the concrete is wiped dry.

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After the concrete has dried

Now that the concrete has dried, examine the surface for any uneven areas. Uneven areas can cause your tiles to move about and crack; this is why it’s of the utmost importance to make sure that the surface is flat. Use a spirit level to check for imperfections and mark any uneven spots as you go along. You can then use a concrete leveller to repair the marked surfaces.

Seal the concrete

When the repaired areas have completely dried, seal the surface area using a good sealer. You should be able to find sealer at your local home improvement store. Sealing the concrete will provide a more friendly surface for your mortar and will also allow the tiles to stick more firmly. Effective sealing will also prevent moisture from developing between the tiles and the concrete.

Only mix small amounts of mortar at a time

When you buy mortar, make sure that you choose one that is specifically designed for outdoor surfaces.  Following the manufacturers instructions, mix enough mortar to lay just five or six tiles. The reason for this is because mortar sets extremely quickly and until you get the hang of it, you will find it hard to get the tiles down before the mortar sets. When the mortar has set, it’s essentially useless and will need to be removed. The task is made much easier if you take things slowly and only mix small amounts at a time.

Covering your patio floor

Covering your patio floor is a significantly easier task than tiling a room; this is because you can adjust the ending point which means that you don’t have to go through the tricky process of cutting your tiles. If you must cut your tiles, cut them in an area that will not be noticeable.  If you are using square tiles, mark all four sides of the tile as well as the centre.

Laying the tiles

 Place a chalk line that goes all the way across the concrete pad and crosses in the center.  When you have done this, start laying your tiles from the center and work your way across to the edges of the pad. It’s important to use the chalk line as this will be your guide for keeping the tiles straight.

When laying the tile, start with your center mark and use spacers between each tile as you go along. This will ensure that you lay them in a straight line and an equal space is kept between each tile.  Unless you are 100% sure that a tile is laid correctly, don’t leave it! It’s important that every tile is laid correctly becausereturning to adjust it can completely skew the rest of the tiles.

The reason why returning to adjust a tile can affect the other tiles is because it was that specific tile that you worked from when going forward. Clean the tiles one by one as you go along, this will save you a considerable amount of cleaning time later on. Do not use masses of water; a damp rag will be enough to do the trick.

When the mortar has dried

When the mortar has completely dried, you can start applying the grout between the tiles.  The grout should be used as per the instructions on the packaging. Using a grout float, spread a generous amount of grout over the surface of the tile, making sure that each crack is covered.

Keep doing this until you are satisfied that all cracks have been grouted evenly. Once you have finished grouting the cracks, use a damp, non-abrasive cloth to remove the excess grout from the tiles. Be extra careful not to remove any of the grout from in-between the tiles. When the grout has set, repeat the process to ensure that all cracks have been filled evenly. Finally, wipe the tiles to remove any excess.

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