If you’re curious to know how we managed to tile our entryway without the help of a professional then this posts for you! As you know, we previously had hardwood flooring in this space which, in my opinion, is never a good choice for a main entrance into a home.
You can see here how the hardwood floor was starting to swell and separate. I’m not sure how long ago the floors were installed but we replaced the main door 4 years ago because of a huge gap at the bottom of the door which let in water every time it rained.
It came as no surprise that the sub floor in that area had some water damage, so my one day tiling project turned into 2 days of repair before I could move forward.
My husband tore up the hardwood with a crow bar and used a plunge cutter to cut a transition line to separate the living room flooring from the entryway.
We then cut out all of the rot and replaced it with another piece of OSB.
If the sub floor had of been plywood I could have tiled over it but since it was OSB I installed a product called WonderBoard which is a fiberglass mesh-reinforced cement backerboard. It was very easy to work with, I just scored it with a utility knife and adhered it to the sub floor with FlexBond mortar and cement board screws.
Once I had a sturdy base to work with, I laid out my tiles with spacers starting at the door. If it were a larger space, you’d want to start in the middle of the room instead and work out. This is called dry fitting so no mortar is applied yet.
Next, we cut the smaller pieces that we needed along the walls with a manual tile cutter. This took some getting used to. I broke the first couple of tiles because I hadn’t applied enough pressure when I was scoring them. Thankfully we only needed a few tiles from the second box so I had room for error. (photo credit – Home Depot)
Once all of my tiles were in place, I removed the first row and started applying the mortar to the cement board and using a trowel to scrape away the excess. I also back-buttered every tile which is very important otherwise your tiles could pop up in the future and you’d have to start all over again!
Clean up the grout lines as you go making sure there is no excess mortar coming out and then let it dry for 48 hours before walking on it.
I used a dark grey grout so I wouldn’t have to worry about stains in the future since and I think it complements the darker tile.
After 24 hours the grout should be dry and your safe to walk on your new tiles! You may have to clean them a few times to remove the haze left behind from the mortar and grout. I just used warm water and vinegar which worked really well. Lastly, we put our baseboards back and installed a transition strip between the tile and hardwood for a nice clean line.
For my first tiling job I’m very happy with how it turned out. I now know way too much about sub floors and the different types of trowel sizes but I’m sure that’ll come in handy again in the future. I highly recommend trying it, especially if it’s a small space like this one. Have a great weekend guys!