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Whether you are looking to tile your entryway or redo it, it's important to know what you're doing before you begin. Laying tile on your own may seem a bit daunting, but we've done the research and condensed the process into seven easy-to-follow steps.
Laying tile is not too difficult if you have the necessary tools and the general idea of how to do it. Here are 7 simple steps for you to follow if you want to tile your entryway:
- Level your base
- Layout your design
- Cut your tile
- Lay down your membrane
- Apply your adhesive
- Start laying tile
- Apply grout
What's the difference between tile types? What color tile shows dirt the least? Keep reading to learn the answers to these questions and learn how to complete each of the steps outlined above to lay your tile.
How To Tile An Entryway
1. Level your substrate
Depending on the type of tile you'll be using, you'll need to adjust your substrate or base accordingly. Most tiles can be laid over mortar, plywood, cement, or even existing tile. Most professionals prefer a mortar substrate because it's a solid, level base that helps make the floor even and secure.
You can use a patching compound to fill in cracks in existing tiles.
If your base is slick, you should use sandpaper or a similar rough tool to add texture to your surface. A textured substrate is important, so the tile has something to grip onto when it's laid down. After you make sure your substrate is level and rough, you should give a good clean and let it dry completely.
2. Layout your design
You should first measure the floor and make sure your design fits the space. Use a chalk line to divide the room into quadrants, starting from the longest portion of the room and moving toward the shortest. It's easiest if your tiles fit without cutting them. Slight adjustments can prevent you from cutting tiles unnecessarily.
3. Cut your tile
After you have laid out your design, use a snap cutter or a wet saw to cut your tiles to fit. If you use a snap cutter, it will leave jagged edges, and you'll have to sand them down.
4. Lay down your membrane
While it's not always necessary, it's a good suggestion to lay a membrane between your substrate and your tile. This uncouples the two materials, so the tile is less likely to crack if the substrate moves. You should lay down a membrane if your substrate is concrete or wood. Concrete and wood are both temperamental and can swell or compress, depending on the temperature and moisture level. A membrane is necessary over metal or asphalt substrates because the tile will have a hard time sticking to the base otherwise.
To lay down a membrane, you should first use a notched trowel to spread adhesive over your substrate and then lay or roll out your membrane. Ensure your membrane has no cracks and let it dry for at least 24-hours before moving on to the next step.
5. Apply your adhesive
There are several tile adhesive types, but thin-set tile mortar is typically the default for indoor tiling. It's water-resistant, perfect for high-traffic areas, and heatproof so that it won't be affected by direct summer sunlight.
Premixed packages require you to just add water, but make sure you have enough time to lay down all the tile in one day, as the mortar starts to set as soon as the water is added.
6. Start laying tile
Once your adhesive is down, you'll want to start laying your tiles. Carefully place them. It's best to work from the center out toward your walls. Use a rubber mallet to tap each tile down firmly, but don't be too rough, as you could break the tile.
Be sure not to adjust or slide the tiles, as this will displace the adhesive and make the grooves for added adhesion less effective. As you lay down tiles, use a plastic spacer. This area will be filled in with grout in the next step.
7. Apply grout
Let your adhesive dry for at least 24-hours before you start grouting the tiles. Because grout dries very quickly, only mix a little at a time. Sanded grout is the cheapest option, comes in more colors, and is great at holding floor tiles together.
Using a rubber float, squeeze the grout in between tiles. Clean any extra grout off the tiles as soon as possible, so it doesn't dry and become impossible to remove.
What's the best tile for an entryway floor?
Now that you know the process of laying down tile, you may be wondering what type of tile to use. There are three main types of tile: ceramic, porcelain, and stone.
Ceramic is made of course clay and fired at relatively low temperatures. It's heat resistant and great for areas that get direct sunlight in summer. Ceramic is easy to clean and only requires occasional re-grouting to keep it looking just as great as it was when it was new.
There are many different shapes and styles of ceramic, ranging from solid colors to intricate patterns. They can be either smooth or textured (commonly to resemble stone).
Porcelain is a type of ceramic, but it's made from denser clay and is fired at temperatures much higher. Because of its durability, it's a great choice for high-traffic areas. It is low-maintenance and has a long life. Most porcelain tiles are made to look like stone, but they're more durable and much less expensive. They also are made with the color through the entire tile, so they'll look the same as they slowly wear down with use.
There are a wide variety of shapes, colors, and sizes of porcelain tiles. It's easy to find something to match any decor or layout.
Stone tiles are always unique because they are cut from nature. They come in a wide range of natural colors and different types of rock. Some of the most common rock used for tile are marble, quartzite, slate, and limestone. Stone is durable, with an incredibly long lifespan, and only requires minimal maintenance. It's great for high-traffic areas and keeps your home nice and cool.
Stone has a very natural, sleek look that adds value to your home or business. It is more expensive than other types of tile, but it's worth it if you appreciate the natural aesthetic it will bring to the space.
Is porcelain slippery when wet?
As the most common and cheapest tile, you might want to know more about porcelain tiles for your entryway, including the danger they pose if they're wet. If you come into your entryway with sopping shoes, you'll definitely want to wipe up the water immediately. Porcelain is very smooth and, therefore, very slippery when wet.
To reduce your tile floors' slickness, you can regularly mop with a grease-fighting cleaner, such as Dawn dish soap. There are also special products you can use to make your floors less slick.
Does a tile entryway echo?
Porcelain tile specifically has poor noise-absorption capabilities, and can even bounce sound off, to create an echo effect. Ceramic has similar effects, as does stone. Because tile is made of hard elements, it refracts sound to create more of an echo than wood or carpeted floors.
How do I protect my floor from scratches?
It's important to keep your tile looking nice and new, and this includes preventing scratches. Here are three methods to prevent your tile floors from getting scratched:
Avoid acidic and abrasive cleaners
Don't ever use rough cleaners on your tile floors. This can cause irreparable scratches and make your floors look worn and older than they really are. Cleaners high in acid etch your tile and even wear away the finish. Only use special tile-specific cleaners to avoid this. Also, clean up any acidic spills immediately.
Scratches dull your tiles and can collect dirt that both looks grimy and is difficult to clean. Never use anything with bristles or abrasive material. Instead, use gentle mops and sponges to clean your floor and use special, non-abrasive cleaners.
Avoid scratch-creating activities
If you have a pet, this can be a bit tricky, but try to limit them to areas without tile flooring. If you have to move furniture over your tile, try to place pads on the legs or base, so it doesn't scratch or dent your flooring.
Wax your tile floors
Regular waxing can help prevent scratches and minimize existing ones. Wax renews the finish and can help hide flaws. Make sure to use a soft mop and gently sweep or even vacuum up the dust beforehand.
What color tile hides dirt?
Like with most things, tile with darker colors is going to hide dirt better. However, if you go with too dark of a tile, it will show dirt just as much as a lighter color. Here are some of the best tile colors to hide dirt:
A brown or brown-hewed tile makes the space feel warm and cozy, and it helps hide dirt especially well, because it's a naturally earthy color. Brown can be found in both ceramic and porcelain tiles, and in select stone tiles. It's a smart choice to bring warmth to your home and to go along with most existing decor.
Grey is the perfect middle-ground to both white and black tiles, neither of which hides dirt very well. Both warm and cool greys go nicely with a monochromatic decor. It's both a classic and a modern look and can be combined with many different styles.
What color grout hides dirt?
You'll want a grout that matches your tiles and helps hide dirt. Unlike tile, dark grout is the best at hiding dirt and any imperfections. Brown grout often looks dirty from the start, and we recommend you stay away from it. There are a couple of different options for grout colors to hide dirt:
Black grout can go very well with white, grey, black, and even dark brown tiles. It makes the floor look sleek and helps hide any dirt.
Grey grout is almost just as effective at hiding dirt as black grout. It's a less harsh color choice that goes very well with monochromatic colors.
Laying tile in your entryway is fairly easy if you follow the steps outlined above. It's important to choose tile and grout colors to go with your decor and hide the dirt, and you should regularly clean your floors and keep items off that will create scratches. If you do this, you'll have amazing floors that last for a long time.