Laying Ceramic Tile
To start applying tile to a floor, snap a chalk line from one wall to the other across the center of the room. Then snap another line from the center of the other two walls. Where the two lines cross should roughly be the center of the room. These lines will give you a guide as to where to lay the tiles. Beginning in the middle will ensure that the edges, near the walls, will be near the same size, and the room will not appear unbalanced. It also aids in making proper cuts to the tiles at the edge. Following the lines will aid the tiler to keep his lines straight. You may wish to snap additional lines as needed.
If you want to create a diamond pattern snap lines at a 45 degree angle to the lines you have already snapped. Then you may use the new lines to guide you.
For walls, avoid the temptation to start at the bottom and work your way up. This can result in uneven lines at the top. Far better to use a level and start in the middle and have to cut every tile at the bottom. Taking the easy way out in tiling, as in other things, can sometimes result in a cobbled up mess.
When you have a quantity of tile stacked near your chalk line, you can open your container of adhesive, dig in with a trowel and lay it on an area. Refrain from laying too much at once because the drying time is not too long and you do not want to be scraping it up because it dried before you could lay tile on it. Be sure to use a trowel specifically made for tile adhesive. It will help you put the adhesive on smoothly and thoroughly.
Place your tiles firmly into the adhesive. Be sure to use the spacers at the corners of the tile to ensure uniform cracks between the tiles. Lay the tiles in a stair-step pattern across and down completing one quarter of the floor at a time. As you reach an edge, you will need to start cutting tiles. Finding where to cut is very important at this stage. There is a simple technique for determining where to cut a tile that is butting up against a wall or some other obstruction. Simply take one tile and set it precisely over the tile adjacent to the open space. Take another tile and butt it up against the wall over the space that is open. Draw a line on the first-placed tile. Cut the tile on the line. The resulting piece should fit perfectly into the opening. (Please see the illustration at above left.)
Once a section is laid, you can usually begin to remove spacers, scrape bulging adhesive out of the grooves between the tiles, as well as get adhesive off from the face of any of the tiles. After this is done, you can let the adhesive dry (or as the professionals say, "cure") for 24 hours, or however long is specified on the particular adhesive.
If you plan on using a tile sealer on your tile (not necessary with many types of tile) because the tile is pourous or unglazed, now is the time to put it on.
You are now ready to apply the grout.