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Laying ceramic tiles correctly: A comprehensive guide

Laying ceramic tiles yourself is quite possible. We'll show you what to look out for and give you helpful tips.

Ceramic tiles offer a durable and aesthetically pleasing solution for indoor and outdoor floors and walls.

In order to achieve the best result, however, the panels must be laid professionally.

In this article we explain step by step how to properly lay ceramic tiles on terraces or indoors and which aspects to consider.

1. Ceramic tiles for the terrace: installation and tips

Ceramic tiles were laid in the terrace area during the renovation.

1.1 Advantages of ceramic tiles for terraces

  • Durable
  • weather resistance
  • ease of care
  • Many color options
  • Various patterns & formats

Due to these advantages, an attractive terrace design is guaranteed.

1.2 Laying methods for terrace ceramic tiles

There are different types of laying for ceramic tiles in the terrace area:

Direct laying on grit or sand:

Ceramic tiles are laid in the gravel bed method by a do-it-yourselfer for a terrace

This method is suitable for level bases and does not require laying on a screed bed.

The slabs are laid on a layer of gravel or sand, which ensures good drainage and allows for quick and inexpensive laying.

Our verdict: This method is best for beginners without much experience. The necessary knowledge can be acquired quickly. Possible errors can be corrected by a specialist in an emergency.

2. Step-by-step instructions for laying ceramic tiles.

Tile cutting disc used to cut outdoor ceramic tiles

2.1 Prepare the substrate:

Remove weeds and loosen the soil. Then compact the surface with a vibrating plate.

  1. Apply grit or sand:

    Spread a layer of grit or sand (approx. 5-10 cm) evenly over the prepared surface and compact it again.

  2. Check alignment:

    Use a spirit level to check that the surface is level and that the slope towards the drainage points is correct.

  3. Lay panels:

    Lay the ceramic tiles on the grit or sand layer, paying attention to the desired joint spacing.

  4. Align panels:

    If necessary, correct the position of the plates and recheck the alignment and slope.

  5. Insert joint material:

    Joint the panels with a suitable jointing material and smooth the joints with a rubber squeegee or rubber joint.

2.2 Laying on adjustable pedestals:

Ceramic slabs are laid on adjustable pedestals for the terrace

With this type of laying, the slabs are placed on adjustable pedestals that allow for quick height adjustment and good ventilation.

This method is particularly suitable for terraces with an uneven surface or where there are increased requirements for moisture protection.

3. Step-by-step instructions - laying ceramic tiles on adjustable pedestals.

  1. Prepare the ground:

    Make sure the floor is firm, level and clean.

  2. Position pedestals:

    Place the adjustable pedestals on the ground at the desired distance.

  3. Adjusting the height of the pedestals:

    Adjust the height of the pedestals so that the ceramic slabs are at the desired height and the slope is correct.

  4. Lay panels:

    Lay the ceramic tiles on the pedestals, paying attention to the desired joint spacing.

  5. Align panels:

    If necessary, correct the position of the plates and recheck the alignment and slope.

  6. Insert joint material:

    Grout the slabs as for direct laying on grit or sand.

4. Laying ceramic tiles in an adhesive bed:

Ceramic tiles are laid on screed for outdoor use by a do-it-yourselfer

With this classic laying method, the panels are fixed to a screed bed with tile adhesive.

This method offers high stability and is suitable for terraces with high loads or special laying requirements.

4.1 Step by step instructions

  1. Prepare screed bed:

    Make sure the subfloor is firm, level, and clean. Then apply a suitable primer and let it dry.

  2. Apply tile adhesive:

    Mix the tile adhesive according to the manufacturer's instructions and apply it to the substrate with a notched trowel.

  3. Lay panels:

    Place the ceramic tiles in the adhesive bed and pay attention to the desired joint spacing.

  4. Align panels:

    If necessary, correct the position of the panels and recheck the alignment and slope.

  5. Let the glue harden:

    Allow the tile adhesive to cure according to the manufacturer's instructions.

  6. Insert joint material:

    Joint the panels as with the other types of installation.

5. Grout ceramic tiles correctly when laying

Ceramic tiles are grouted after laying

Particular care is also required when grouting ceramic tiles in the terrace area.

Be sure to use a suitable waterproof and frost-resistant grout to ensure the patio's weather resistance.

5.1 Step by step instructions:

  1. Select joint material:

    Choose a waterproof, freeze-resistant grout suitable for outdoor use and for use with ceramic tile.

  2. Mix joint material:

    Mix the joint compound in a clean container according to the manufacturer's instructions.

  3. Clean joints:

    Make sure that the joints between the ceramic tiles are free of dust, dirt and glue residue.

  4. Apply grout:

    Using a rubber squeegee or caulk, apply the joint compound diagonally across the joints so that they are completely filled.

  5. Remove excess grout:

    Remove excess grout from the slabs by again dragging the squeegee or grout diagonally across the surface.

  6. Allow joint material to harden:

    Allow the grout to cure according to the manufacturer's instructions. Avoid entering the area during this time.

  7. Clean plates:

    After the grout has hardened, remove any residue from the panels with a soft cloth or sponge and water. A mild detergent can be added if necessary.

6. Pay attention to drainage when laying ceramic tiles

Proper drainage is of great importance when laying ceramic tiles on the terrace.

Be sure to plan for a slight slope of about 1-2% towards the drainage points to ensure effective water drainage.

This prevents waterlogging and extends the life of the terrace structure.

7. Allow for expansion joints when laying ceramic tiles

Expansion joint is taken into account when laying ceramic tiles

Expansion joints are an important aspect when laying ceramic tiles.

They serve to absorb temperature-related expansions of the panels and the substrate and thus prevent cracks or other damage.

Be sure to include expansion gaps around the edges of the patio, around potential building connections, and at regular intervals for larger areas.

8. Material selection and appearance of the terrace ceramic tiles

When choosing the ceramic tiles for the terrace, you have numerous options in terms of colours, patterns and surface structures.

Choose tiles that match the style of your home and the surrounding landscape, paying attention to the quality and slip resistance of the surface. A non-slip surface is particularly important to avoid accidents caused by moisture or dirt.

By paying attention to these aspects when laying ceramic tiles on the terrace, you create an attractive, functional and durable outdoor area that invites you to linger and relax.

Laying ceramic tiles indoors

Ceramic tiles are laid indoors by a craftsman

Ceramic tiles are very popular in a wide variety of designs for walls and floors indoors.

They are often used in living rooms, kitchens, bathrooms or throughout the home to create attractive and durable surfaces.

When laying indoors, you have to consider a few things. We have divided these steps into different sections.

Preparation: The right material and tools

material selection

Before you start laying, you should choose the right ceramic tiles for your project.

Pay attention to the following criteria:

  • abrasion resistance
  • slip resistance
  • Frost resistance (for outdoor use)
  • color and design

Tools and accessories you will need to lay ceramic tiles

Tools and machines for laying ceramic tiles Overview

Make sure you have the following tools and supplies on hand:

Draw up a laying plan for ceramic tiles

In order to achieve a professional result, it is important to draw up an installation plan.

This should include:

  • The starting point for the transfer
  • The arrangement of the plates
  • The direction of the joints

Prepare the substrate for laying

The substrate must be level, clean and dry.

Unevenness should be eliminated with a leveling compound.

A suitable moisture barrier is required for damp substrates.

Laying the ceramic tiles step by step instructions

Step 1: Apply tile adhesive

Use the notched trowel to apply the tile adhesive to the substrate. Make sure that the notches of the spatula correspond to the size of the plates.

Step 2: Lay the panels

Place the first panel on the prepared substrate on the tile adhesive and align it according to your laying plan using a spirit level and a plumb line.

Set the next panels in the same way and pay attention to the specified joint widths.

Our tip: use tile crosses or a leveling system to ensure even spacing. They are available in many different designs.

Step 3: Cut and Adjust

Use the tile cutter or angle grinder to cut the panels to fit walls, corners or pipes.

Step 4: Let it harden

Let the tile adhesive harden according to the manufacturer's instructions and wait the entire time until it is completely dry.

joints and cleaning

  1. Step: Apply joint compound - Apply the joint compound with a jointing board and work it into the joints.

  2. Step 1: Remove excess grout with a sponge board and clean the panel surface.

  3. Step: Let the joint compound harden according to the manufacturer's instructions. Be careful not to step on or put weight on the area during this time.

Conclusion - with a little experience, ceramic tiles can also be laid indoors.

The professional laying of ceramic tiles is crucial for a permanently attractive and functional result.

With the right preparation, careful installation and regular care, you get an attractive and durable surface that gives your home or your outdoor area a special charm.

Avoid mistakes: common problems when laying ceramic tiles

In order to get the best result when laying ceramic tiles, it is important to avoid possible mistakes. Here are some common problems and solutions:

hollow plates

  • Cause: insufficient adhesive contact or air bubbles in the adhesive

  • Solution: apply tile adhesive evenly over the entire surface; Fix the panel in the adhesive bed with a tapping movement

Irregular joint widths

  • Cause: lack of care when laying or imprecise panel dimensions

  • Solution: use tile crosses and work precisely; if necessary, use panels from one batch

cracks or chips

  • Cause: mechanical stress, stresses in the substrate or improper installation

  • Solution: Lay the panels professionally and prepare the substrate; plan for expansion joints if necessary

Frequently asked questions when laying ceramic tiles

1. What are the methods of laying ceramic tiles?

There are three main methods of laying ceramic tiles:

  1. Direct laying on grit or sand

  2. Laying on pedestals

  3. Laying in the adhesive bed

2. What do I have to consider when grouting ceramic tiles?

When grouting ceramic slabs, it is important to use a suitable waterproof and frost-resistant grout to ensure the terrace's weather resistance.

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