How to tile your laundry floor - Part 1
You need a surprising number of tools for this job. It's best to do all the preparation first, and gather the tools in one place because otherwise you might find yourself frantically hunting for things while the tile adhesive gradually becomes unusable.
The instructions on the adhesive states for how long it is workable, and this is normally dependent on temperature and humidity. The one I chose remained workable for 2.5 hours. It's best not to mix too much especially at first because then you can gage how fast you can work for the remaining time.
My project was for a laundry floor over particle-board. Over time, the floor has settled and this caused some dips and unevenness. So I used a floor-leveller first. The alternative is to use more adhesive where there are dips, but this quickly gets very time consuming and fiddly. You end up with a poor result because it's hard to make the tiles flat.
I put a coat of waterproof membrane over the top of the floor leveller. It's not that this is a permanently wet area, but there is the potential for leaks, so it's a good idea to prepare the floor in case of flooding. Of course, the floor waste should go in a place that is lowest. This is called profiling the floor. In some cases (like mine) the floor naturally falls away from the edges. This is because in the corners, I put some plastic angle. I sealed them to the floor with waterproof glue and stapled them in place. This made the edges a little higher than the centre.
Tins of stuff.
Now that you have used a certain amount of adhesive, count the tiles that it laid. In this way, you can calculate the remaining adhesive requirements and not have any waste.
Here is an example.
Let's say you used 4Kg of powder and this laid 10 tiles. How much powder do you need for 7 more tiles?
Remember those stupid IQ tests where you get silly questions like:
Dog is to bark, as cat is to _________.
You have to fill out the missing word? Well you can do the same thing with tile adhesive - only using a little bit of algebra.
4kg is to 10 tiles as x kg is to 7 tiles.
Now put this in mathematical language:
4 = 10 like x = 7.
We can express this as a ratio:
4/10 = x/7
Now it's a simple bit of algebra. Multiply both sides by 7 to leave x on the right hand side:
7 X 4/10 = x
so x = 28/10 = 2.8 Kg.
You need 2.8 Kg of powder. Weigh it out an put it in a spare dry container. Now how much water?
The instructions say 8 Kg of powder needs 1.7L of water.
8 is to 1.7 like 2.8 is to x
8/1.7 = 2.8/x
divide both sides by 2.8. This will leave 1/x on the right hand side.
8/(1.7 X 2.8) = 1/x
Now flip both sides upside down:
1.7 X 2.8 / 8 = x
x = .595
( 0.6L of water is close enough ). Measure out the water and mix the adhesive into it. You will find the consistency is perfect, and you won't have much (if any) left over after 7 tiles.
A Sanity check
I drew not lines - but arcs to give a rough indication where the next tile comes to. This way, as the adhesive covers the pencil line, you can still estimate where lies the peak of the arc. Pull the adhesive just past this point. Keep checking the straight-edge line and adjust the tiles as you go. After a while it will be impossible to nudge them.
Normally, the plumber would have placed a waste drain at some point in the floor and it will eb already plumbed it in. In that case, then you should really measure away from that point to make the grate land at the edges of tiles or purchase a hole-cutting saw suitable for tiles and use a round grate. These tools tend to be expensive so you could hire one or buy one then sell it afterwards. By the way, the smaller the tile, the more steeper gradient possible. This is why shower basins use small tiles. For large ones, tilers will often cut them on the diagonal to permit a fall towards the grate.
In my case, I decided that "look" to be ugly as it would work better with square tiles, and opted for a properly waterproofed floor and a gentle slope. This floor is open underneath, so in a case of flooding, the water can simply fall out the hole. I will put a fly-screen net and a pipe underneath to stop bugs and vermin.
- Slope the table away from you by setting up on sloping ground and water will drain away too. Then you won't be standing in mud.
- Elevate extension-lead plugs and sockets to keep them away from water.
- Use eye protection.
- Use hearing protection.
I stopped today's work at about 5pm.
In the next articleI will describe how to cut a concave corner from the tiles to finish the tiling, and then do the grouting.