How to Lay Tile Over Heat Coils

What You'll Need
What You'll Need

One reason people may shy away from installing their own in-floor heating coils is because they do not know how to lay tile. Follow the simple steps below to give your room a whole new look and feel.

Step 1: Place Electric Mat

Follow instructions for the mat installation, keeping it at least 3 inches from drains, walls and fixtures. Keep it in place using staples or double-sided tape. If the power lead is thicker than the mat, sink it into the sub floor so the floor is level.

Step 2: Pick Your Starting Point

One of the most important parts of learning how to lay tile, is knowing where to start. You should start in a corner and work toward the center of the room.

Step 3: Level the Surface

Use self-leveling compound to level the floor. Pour the compound and spread it over the surface with a grout float. Then, follow the instructions from the manufacturer on allowing it to dry.

Step 4: Prepare to Install Tiles

In learning how to lay tile, make a guideline to help you apply your tile by measuring an even distance from your starting spot and marking a line on the floor. You can use a straight edge or a chalk line.

Step 4: Install Tile 1 Small Area at a Time

Be systematic in how to lay tile. Spread thin-set onto about a 3 square feet area at a time. Thin-set dries quickly, so only spread it over an area that you can apply tile to in 15 minutes. Start small if you are unsure. Use your guideline to apply tile. Place spacers at the corner of the tiles as you apply them. Lift a tile occasionally to make sure the whole back is covered with thin-set. Press harder on the tile when if needed. Use a piece of scrap wood and gently tap the tile with your hammer to even tiles. Now you know how to lay tile. Continue the process until all full tiles are applied.

Step 5: Clean Excess Thin-Set

Clean up any thin-set that has squeeze out between tiles while still wet; otherwise, it will interfere with your grout. After all full tiles have been set, allow to dry for a day.

Step 6: Apply Corner and Edge Tiles

Measure the spaces for each tile and make the necessary cuts. Use a wet saw or nippers to adjust your tiles. Your jagged edges from the cuts should be faced toward the wall. Apply thin-set to the back of the tile and press it into place.

Step 7: Apply Grout

After the thin-set has dried, remove tile spacers and spread grout across the tiles. Make sure you get it well into the spaces between tiles. Use a moist sponge to remove the excess, rinsing the sponge as you go. Use a grout tool to smooth the edges and joints. Let the grout dry, and then wipe the tile surface with a dry towel to remove residue.