Step 5: Laying your tiles
Except for self-adhesive vinyl tiles, all floor tiles are laid in pretty much the same way. Begin by laying whole tiles, working from the centre outwards. Spread a bed of adhesive with a notched adhesive spreader according to the maker’s instructions (Fig. 3). Spread only enough adhesive to cover an area of about one square metre – any bigger and the adhesive may dry out before you reach the end.
Ceramic. Press the first tile into position, then twist it slightly to firmly bed it in the adhesive. Place the second tile alongside with the same gentle twisting motion, using a plastic tile spacer between them to obtain evenly spaced gaps. Continue until you’ve reached the edge of the adhesive, then spread another layer over a further square metre.
Vinyl. Place each tile directly into position without sliding. Butt up the edges closely. Firmly press down all over each tile with the palm of your hand to ensure good even adhesion. If using self-adhesive tiles, simply pull off the backing paper and press into place. Try to align tiles correctly the first time. If you do make a mistake, immediately lift the tile and re-stick it correctly. If you attempt to lift it later, it will probably tear.
Cork tiles should be positioned with a slight sliding action without forcing them tightly together. Avoid trimming the edges if they seem a bit out of square. It’s easier to fill any tapering joints with woodworker’s putty coloured to match the tiles.