I have never laid a tile floor before. Never.
I’ve watched Dad do it, and I’ve hired it done. But I’ve never been brave enough to do it myself. But with more experience in this house flipping life, I’m getting braver! I wanted to save money because my budget is all but blown on this flip, so I wanted to just pay for the materials. I mentioned in my last post that I chose a vintage-inspired tile to give the bathroom some throwback charm.
Once I had the tile cut, it was time to start gluing down tile to the backerboard! My knowledge of gluing tile comes from my DIY vanity at Flip 2. My level of expertise is definitely not the best, but I think I kind of know what I’m doing. And, heck, my labor is free. So it’s win/win.
I opted to use a premade glue rather than thinset. I chose a mastic designed for tile. The reason I didn’t use thinset was because I was not doing all of the gluing in one setting- I was doing it in my spare time. So, if I had used thinset, each time I went to work on gluing tile, I would have to mix thinset (and get it just right) and then do clean up after I was done. With the premade mastic, I just popped the lid and started gluing. When I was done, I just put the lid back on. That tub of mastic could get me through multiple projects, and it’s just easier to use.
Using the right tools is essential in successful tile laying. Which I didn’t do initially. I used a regular tile trowel to spread the glue across the back, and it provided wayyyy too much glue. So I switched to a putty knife, and I was able to apply small amounts of glue to each tile. With this particular style of tile, a putty knife is the right tool instead of a normal trowel– as I learned the hard way.
Too much glue is a problem because it completely fills the grout lines. That’s why the putty knife is the perfect tool. For the record, I threw away the ruined section of tile.
The key is to be able to see through the grout lines. If you can’t see the grout lines, you won’t have room for grout.
Once you have glue on the back of the tile (not too much glue!), it’s FUN time! We finally get to start gluing! I was so giddy to finally start the process. As I glued, I had to make some more cuts around corners and the walls. To see how I cut the tiles, you can visit my previous post.
Honestly the worst part about gluing was how tedious it was to dab enough glue on every single piece of tile– especially the tiny ones. I tried to save all my cuts for the end. I glued all my full sheets in two days and then dedicated a third day for cuts and gluing.
In total, I spent about 3 days gluing. It wouldn’t necessarily take that long normally, but I was doing this in my spare time. So it took a little longer than it normally would.
Up next: Grouting! (I promise, we’re almost done!)