How To Lay Large Tiles Instructions
Learn how to lay large format tiles easily with the SuperSpreader, a notched trowel for DIY tiling to easily spread adhesive tiling glue. Easy floor tiling.
The following instructions should be read in conjunction with the you tube clip provided on this site
- Extension Piece (As Many As Needed)
- Ski Attachments
- Straight Edges
- Length Of Aluminium Angle
- 1 Metre Length Of Timber
- 3mm Cross Spacers
- 2 Self Tapping Screws
- 2 Tec Screws
- Marker Pen
- Chalk Line
- Measuring Tape
- Gauging Trowel
- Adhesive Powder
- Suitable Drill And Mixing Paddle
- Small Angle-grinder With Diamond Blade (Optional)
Large tiles need special attention because, if the floor surface is not perfectly even, you will find the tiles may not sit flush with each other. There are two ways of overcoming this problem. One way is to completely resurface the floor either by rendering or by using a self-levelling compound. The other way is to use the Go-Tile-It System method which I will now explain to you.
First set out your room by marking the centre at one end of the room and the centre at the other end. Now flick a chalk line from one mark to the next. this line will become the centre of a tile or the edge of the tile. By measuring back to the wall from the chalk line and dividing that measurement by the size of the tile you will be able to determine what the chalk line represents. If you are left with a measurement smaller than 1/2 the chalk line will become the centre of a tile ( for example if the tile you are using is a 600mm tile and the measurement is 2640mm then that means 4.4 tiles. The .4 is less than a 1/2 ). Alternately if your equation gives you a remainder greater than a 1/2 then the chalk line becomes a joint. If the chalk line is the centre of a tile then measure back from that line and flick a new one which will be where you will be placing your straight edge.
Now what we want to achieve is an even finished floor so if you sit your straight edge ( which must be clean and straight and all made of the same material. I , as a professional, use aluminium straight edges but, if you go to your local hardware store, they will be able to rip up MDF or chipboard for you into 100mm widths which is more than adequate) on edge you will immediately see where the high spots are on the floor. With e marking pen put a tick on the floor corresponding with the high spots and a cross on the low spots ( preferably at the lowest point). Now turn the straight edge on flat and on your chalk line. Where you have placed a cross use suitable packing to chock the straight edge so that pressure cannot compress it. ( ideal packing could be tile spacer etc. ) Once you have completed that exercise place some weight on the straight edge such as boxes of tiles. Now measure from the straight edge the width of the tile plus a joint and this then is where you flick your next chalk line. It is on that line that you repeat the last exercise so when you place your chocks on the straight edge to hold it steady make sure they are put on the outside so that the SuperSpreader can run freely between the two straight edges. It is also important to make sure that the chocks don't impede the skis that will be sliding along the straight edges.
It's now time to get the SuperSpreader ready. Fist bend the wings at 90 degrees to the blades to produce a 3 sided box. Expand the spreader to the size of the tile you will be using. Depending on the size of the tile it may be necessary to use more than one extension piece, for example, the spreader on its own expands to 525mm. With one extension 755mm can be achieved and with two extensions 985mm can be achieved. As you can see each extension piece allows the spreader to grow by an extra 230mm. As the spreader grows in size I strongly recommend reinforcing the blade because the whole unit will become quite flimsy. This is easy to do by purchasing a length of aluminium angle, cutting it to the length of the blade and attaching it to the rear of the blade with 2 or 3 small self-tapping screws. All you need to do now is fix a ski to each end of the spreader but don't tighten the nuts on the skis at this stage. take the completely assembled SuperSpreader and place it between the two straight edges paying particular attention to one ski at a time. Make sure the ski is on top of the straight edge at one of the high spots (the spot with a tick). Make sure the blade on that end is touching the floor and the ski is resting nicely on the straight edge. It is now time to tighten the nuts and bolts on the ski attachment securely as you don't want the height to change during the spreading process. The other end gets treated in the same manner, just reverse the spreader and use the same spot on the same straight edge to set the ski. Now, when you spread your adhesive, you will see that more adhesive will be deposited in the low areas automatically to create a perfect bed of adhesive regardless of the condition of the floor.
Mix your adhesive to a lump free, creamy, pourable consistency. Pour a considerable amount of adhesive at the mouth of your spreader and with a gauging trowel spread the adhesive along the entire length of the blade making sure that the corners are filled. steadily drag the spreader along the straightedge, keeping the skis in firm contact at all times. Only spread enough for 1 tile at a time as this will afford you plenty of foot room to lay that tile, making sure that you have positioned it alongside your first straight edge. Spread more adhesive, pouring out more when it shows signs of running out. Once you have laid your next tile put a suitable size spacer between the 2 tiles using just one edge of the cross, about 100mm in from the straight edges. The Go-Tile-It method doesn't rely on spacers to keep the work straight, in fact, the only time a spacer is used is to gauge the first row of tiles. Lay the whole row of tiles except the last tile, you will address that later. Remove the first straight edge and move it back the distance of 1 tile plus a joint and repeat the first process of finding the highs and lows and chocking accordingly. The ski that runs on that straight edge remains the same but, the other ski has to be altered as it will now run on the tiles that you have laid. This ski is adjusted by finding a point where the floor has a high spot and by placing the spreader at that point, releasing the nuts, allow the ski to drop and rest on the tile and securely tighten the nuts again. You are now ready to lay your next row. When you have completed that row remove and rechock the straight edge as before but, this time and subsequently, there is no need to readjust the skis. Carry on tiling until you get to the tile against the wall. If it happens that this tile is a small cut then don't lay the row of tiles prior to it. To lay the other half of the room and traveling in the same direction you will have to reposition the skis using the same method as before. Once you have completed the bulk area of the room, leaving only the cuts against the walls, it is now time to resize the SuperSpreader. Remove the skis and strip the spreader of the extension pieces. Adjust the SuperSpreader to fit in the narrowest spot in the room and tighten the nuts and bolts. Once more find a spot that is high and place the spreader there. Now place your length of timber on the existing tiles and along the length of the spreader. Mark where the timber touches the first part of the spreader, remove it from the area and make a second mark at the other end of the spreader. Make a note of the measurement of the SuperSpreader and remove the nuts and bolts. Now reassemble the SuperSpreader by placing it on the length timber with the spreader at the length it just was but this time, with everything lined up and the timber is correctly positioned on the two marks, fix the spreader to the timber with a couple of Tec screws using the holes of the SuperSpreader. The timber now acts as your ski by holding it firmly on the tiles and dragging it along. This process can be undertaken immediately or the next day, whichever is convenient. If you find that the width of area is greater than the size of the spreader you can easily overcome this by making 2 passes, one against the wall and another against the tile. Either way don't spread too much at a time to allow yourself room to lay the tile. I've suggested setting the SuperSpreader to the narrowest area to be tiled because this way the spreader only has to be set the once. By using this method of tiling a floor with large tiles there is no need for concern about the irregularity of the substrate, the result is always perfect.