Installing tile floor

I installed ceramic tiles in our master bathroom when we remodeled our master bedroom and bathroom.

You can find plenty of how-tos and advices on the ‘Net on laying ceramic tiles on a concrete subfloor, so I won’t go into any of that here. I would just mention what I did to reduce the amount of time of I needed to rent the tile saw from Home Depot. The key is to measure and dry-fit pieces of tiles before you rent the saw so when you have the saw, you can spend all your time cutting tiles.

First, I laid all the whole tiles in one session. Then I measured and marked cut line on all the partial pieces. I used a Sharpie to mark the cut line on the back of each tile to be cut. This took a while, so if I was to fit and cut each tile piece, I would have needed to rent the tile saw for several days.

To know which piece of tile goes where, I numbered the tile and its spot on the floor with matching numbers. The numbering starts at “1” and proceeds in one direction around the room’s perimeter. By numbering the tile piece and its spot on the floor with the same number, I don’t need to keep the tiles in order while cutting, because I know which piece goes where.

After marking all the partial pieces, I rented a tile saw from Home Depot and did all the cutting in one afternoon. A couple of things about using a tile saw:

  • Use it outdoors if possible. The saw is a wet saw: the lower edge of its blade runs through water in a water tray to cool and lubricate the blade. As such, the blade flings a fair amount of water when it runs and can be rather messy if used inside.
  • Wear earplugs! The saw might not seem very loud at first (thought it’s loud enough!), but it’s better not to subject one’s ears to a few hours of it.
  • Keep a BIG bucket of water nearby, or better yet, a garden hose, because the saw sprays a lot of water and uses up water fast.
  • A helper to ferry and fetch tiles will make things go even faster, so you’ll need to rent the saw for less time.