How to Install a Snap-lock Tile Floor - Part 2 of 2

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Porcelain snap-lock tile flooring is a relatively new innovation that combines the easy installation of laminate floors with the durability and feel of ceramic tile.

 

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Overview

Porcelain snap-lock tile flooring is a relatively new innovation that combines the easy installation of laminate floors with the durability and feel of ceramic tile. Each square porcelain tile is placed on a plastic tray with interlocking tabs all around on top of a rubberized non-skid base. The construction allows the tiles to be assembled into a floating floor that requires no adhesive and ensures the feel underfoot is remarkably similar to a conventional tile floor.
The floating floor installation makes this type of tile floor much quicker to lay, less expensive, and it can be replaced with far less hassle than a floor installed in a bed of adhesive. The floor can also be installed over any clean and stable existing surface as long as variations in the floor surface don’t exceed 1⁄4-inch over a 10-foot span. You can also choose from 12-inch or four-inch square tiles. Once sealed with the flexible grout supplied by the manufacturer, the floor is as resistant to moisture as any tile floor.
The one drawback to the snap-lock porcelain tile currently on the market is the palette of colors, which is currently limited to a family of earth-tone beiges and browns. However, these colors do blend with a wide range of décor schemes. The mottled satin finish is also easy to clean and doesn’t show dirt between cleanings. And, as the technology catches on, more and more colors will likely become available.
The look and feel of traditional ceramic tile is achieved with these snap-together tiles made up of a porcelain ceramic surface over a substrate that has interlocking tabs (inset). Flexible grout is the key to this system’s workability.From: Complete Guide to Flooring, 978-1-58923-521-2

What You'll Need

Tools:

Snap-lock tiles
Carpenter’s square
Rubber tapping block
Rubber coated pull bar
Eye and ear protection
Trowel
Wet saw
Angle grinder
Utility knife
Mallet
Flexible grout
Grout float
Sponge
Circular saw
Tape measure
Gloves

Materials:

Snap-lock tiles
Carpenter’s square
Rubber tapping block
Rubber coated pull bar
Eye and ear protection
Trowel
Wet saw
Angle grinder
Utility knife
Mallet
Flexible grout
Grout float
Sponge
Circular saw
Tape measure
Gloves

 

Step 1

Cutting Curves

Clean off excess grout. Fill a 5 gal. bucket with clean water and use a sponge to clean the surfaces of the tiles. Wipe off grout residue and use sponge to smooth grout lines. Important: Rinse the sponge thoroughly with clean water after each pass.


Step 2

Replacing a Damaged Tile

To replace a porcelain snap-lock tile that has been cracked or damaged, remove the grout all around the tile. Use a grout cutter or simply chip out the grout with an awl or fine chisel. In either case, be careful not to chip the surrounding tiles. Then cut the downward-facing tabs on three sides of the tile with a utility knife. Pry up the broken tile and pull away from the uncut side. Remove downward tabs on three sides of the new tile and lay a bed of general construction adhesive under the new tile. Slide the new tile into place and lock the uncut side to the adjacent tile. Let adhesive dry and grout with flexible grout.


 
 

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