How to level floor for tiling?
Floor tiling is a conventional and easy method of giving your interior a refined look. Before tiling your floor, you must make sure it is well prepared. A well-prepared floor does not necessarily mean it has to be, but it has to be flat. The only time you should consider the level of your floor is when it is subjected to water as in the case of bathroom or terrace.
Lippage is another crucial factor for tiling a floor. It is the difference in height between two adjacent tiles which happens if the surface is not flat. However, there are other factors you should take into consideration before tiling a floor.
A few things you will require before leveling a floor:
Chalk line / Laser level
Flat sided trowel
Thin modified set
Straight or level edge (4 ft.)
Tip 1: Find out the humps and dips by stretching a chalk line
Before leveling the floor, it is very much essential to find out if there is/are a dip(s) on the floor. For that, the easiest way is to stretch a chalk line across the floor and mark the affected areas. If it is a concrete floor, you can grind the hump with the help of a grinder. Similarly, dips can also be filled up with thin sets by easy methods. You can use a cross-line laser if you are paranoid about accuracy.
Tip 2: Edge or straight should be 4 ft. level at least
This is meant mainly for a more significant area. The straight edge is used to mark the regions where the humps and dips are formed.
If the area is too small, it may be a little problematic for inserting the 4 ft — straight edge to fit into the dip.
Tip 3: Check the depth of the dip
Once you have pinpointed the places with slopes, you need to measure the depth of the dip. You can do this by putting a straight edge or a chalk line over the area.
Another quick way of measuring the depth of the dip is to hold a tile trowel beside the chalk line. You can also keep it beside the straight edge to get a correct measurement.
If the dip is deeper than your trowel, you will require another one with a more significant notch. Else you need to follow a few steps for leveling your floor. Usually for 12/13 sq. Cm tile you will require a ¼ x 3/8 sq. Notch trowel.
Tip 4: Fill the dip
You can fill up the dip by mixing some thin set. It’s always advisable to mix up in smaller sections as about ½ of the bag at a time.
Once the set is mixed spread it over the dip with the help of a notched trowel. Now, pull the trowel to spread the filling evenly across the tracks.
You may have to scrape the dip more than once to make the floor look smooth after filling. A few tips you can follow to avoid curving out more of the filling set are:
Try to hold the set, in the same way, every time you are leveling any part of the floor.
Use a tapers knife or sponge to scrape the excess set off the straight edge or level.
Clean your level or straight edge immediately after use. Once the set hardens on the surface of your straight edge, it becomes tough to remove from the surface of the level or straight edge.
Tip 5: Grinding a hump
For grinding the humps on your floor always use a grinder with a vacuum attached to it.
While grinding the humps start from the middle and pass on towards the edges. Occasionally check the level of your floor with a straight edge so that you don't grind any part more that may create unevenness to your floor.
Tip 6: Final floor filling
Check the areas that you have filled with this set. Scrape off the excess set and give a quick grind to the parts you have filled.
If there is any track that is not filled, you can apply some thin set in those areas using the flat side of your trowel.
Lastly, remember you need to make your floor flat before installing a floor tile.