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Winter is an etching, Spring a watercolor, Summer an oil painting and Autumn a mosaic of them all. Stanley Horowitz

Installation Guide

Installing a Backer Board *Optional*
Tools Needed:
1/4-inch trowel
Drill


Materials Needed:
2" Vinyl-coated tape
Adhesive
Backer board
Screws
Chalk Reel

Snap a Grid of Chalk Lines
Snap a grid of chalk lines on the floor to mark the dimensions of the sheets. Plan so that joints in the backer board won’t line up with joints in the sub floor. With the smooth side of a ¼-inch notched trowel, spread enough adhesive for one sheet. Ridge the adhesive with the notched side of the trowel.

Place Backer board on Adhesive
While the adhesive is still wet, place a sheet of backer board into it. Leave a ¼-inch gap between the backer board and the wall and a 1/8-inch gap between the backer board sheets. Position the sheets so that you don’t have four corners meeting.

Drive in Backer board Screws
After you've positioned each sheet, drive backer board screws into it every 8 inches. Around the perimeter, position the screws at least 1/2 inch, but no more than 2 inches from the edge.

Fill the Joints with Adhesive
With a margin trowel or the flat side of your notched trowel, fill the joints with adhesive, smoothing it so it extends about 1 1/2 inches on each side of the joint. The extra adhesive makes it easier to bed the tape.

Cover Joints with 2" Fibreglass Tape
Cover the adhesive-filled joints with 2-inch vinyl-coated fibreglass tape, pushing it firmly into the adhesive. You can cut the tape to length with the thin side of your trowel. When the tape is embedded, scrape off any excess adhesive from both sides.

Cover Tape with Adhesive
Cover each length of tape with a thin layer of adhesive. Spread the adhesive with the flat side of your trowel and feather the edges. You want the transition from board to board to be as smooth as possible.


Setting the Tiles
Tools Needed:
2x4 or beater block
Rubber mallet

Materials Needed:
Spacers
Tiles
Tile adhesive

Apply Adhesive
Put a little adhesive on the flat side of a square-notched trowel and apply it, pushing it into the face of the backer board as you go. Then apply more to make a layer of adhesive roughly ½-inch thick.

Make Ridges in Adhesive
Holding the trowel at about 70 degrees to the floor, push the teeth of the tool to the floor, making ridges of uniform height in one direction in the adhesive. The size of the trowel notches should be the same as the thickness of the tiles you’re setting.

Lay the First Tile
Lay the first tile at the intersection of the guidelines. Twist the tile back and forth slightly to make sure it is embedded in the adhesive. As you go, remove any excess adhesive from the tiles with a damp sponge or a cloth.

Lay Second Tile and Spacer
Place the second tile alongside the first, spacing it with a couple of spacers. Continue laying tiles until you have filled up the box. Lay spacers flat in the corners where tiles meet.

Level the Tiles
Lay a short length of 2x4 or a beater block on top of the tiles and tap lightly with a rubber mallet to level the tiles and bed them firmly in the adhesive. Continue laying tiles, in one box at a time, until you reach the wall. If necessary (and it probably will be) cut tiles to fit against the wall.


Grouting
Tools Needed:
Grout float

Materials Needed:
Silicone caulking
Grout
Sealer

Pour Grout on Tiles
Pour one to three and a half litres of grout on the tiles. Holding a hard-edged rubber grout float at a 30-degree angle, spread the material in sweeping arcs, pressing it into the joints to fill them completely.

Remove Excess Grout
Hold the grout float at a 90-degree angle and sweep it diagonally across the tiles to remove any excess grout.

Wipe Away Excess Grout
Wait a few minutes while the grout begins to harden. Wipe the tiles in a circular motion with a damp sponge, taking care not to drag out any of the grout from the corners of the tiles.

Clean Tiles
Once the grout has hardened, the tiles will be left with a slight haze on them. Clean it up by going over the area lightly with a damp cloth, then buff immediately with a dry cloth.

Apply Sealer
Let the grout dry for the length of time recommended by the manufacturer before applying sealer. Spread the sealer with a small paintbrush or a sealer applicator. Clean off any smears within the first 5 minutes or so. Then let the grout dry for at least 24 hours.

Fill Expansion Gaps
Caulk acts as both a sealer and as an expansion joint: it will flex if the floor expands or contracts as the weather changes. In wet areas, in front of a bathtub or shower, or wherever the expansion gap will not be covered with shoe moulding, fill the gap with caulk and smooth it with a wet finger.