Now that summer is here, we are spending a great deal more time outside. This usually leads to outdoor projects. Summer time is the best time to spruce up your outdoor space and the patio is a great place to start.
Do you wish your concrete patio were nice tiles instead? It is not difficult to change the appearance of your patio floor. An average size patio can be resurface in just a couple of days.
The first step is choosing your tile and planning the layout. Decide your color and the pattern you will use when laying the tile. When purchasing your tile take a diagram of your pattern as well as the measurements of your pad along with you. The salesperson will be able to assist you in purchasing enough tiles to get the job done.
Before you start placing your tiles make sure the concrete is clean and in good condition. Using a good concrete cleaner and scrub brush remove any dirt and grease or oil that may be on the surface. This will help in forming good adhesion. Make certain that the concrete is completely dry before you begin.
When the concrete is dry, examine the surface for any uneven spots. Uneven spots will cause your tiles to shift and crack so you will need to make sure the surface is flat. You can see imperfections by standing a 2×4 on its side and lay it across the surface. Begin on one end and slowly move the 2×4 down the length of the patio, marking any uneven spots as you go. Purchase a good concrete leveler or patch material at any building supply outlet such as Lowe’s or Home Depot and, following the manufacturers instructions, repair the marked surfaces.
When your repaired areas have dried completely you should seal the carpet with a good sealer. The sealer can be purchased at a building supply center such as Lowe’s or Home Depot. Sealing your concrete will provide a better surface for your mortar and will allow it to stick firmly. A sealer will also help stop moisture from forming between the concrete and the tiles.
When you purchase your mortar, be sure to purchase a mortar for outdoor surfaces. Following manufacturer instructions, mix only enough mortar to lay four to six tiles. Mortar begins to set quickly and until you get the hang of it, you will be racing time trying to get the tiles down before the mortar sets. Once it has set, there is no working with it and it will need to be removed. It is much easier to go slow and mix small amounts at a time.
Covering a patio floor is easier than tiling a room floor because in most cases you can adjust your ending point so that you do not have to cut your tiles. If you do have to cut tiles, try to do so in a place that will not be noticeable. If you are using square tiles rather than a random shape tile, you should mark the center as well as the center of all four sides. Pop a chalk line that crosses in the center and across the concrete pad. You should begin laying your tiles from the center and work your way to the edges of the pad. This will be your guide to keep the tiles straight.
Begin with your center mark when laying the tile, using spacers between each tile as you go. This will sure that you are running them in a straight line and maintain an equal space between each tile. Do not leave a tile until you are sure that it is right. Returning to adjust a tile can result in the entire row being “off” because you worked from that tile going forward. To adjust one will mean you must adjust all. Cleaning the tiles as you go will save a lot of work in the end. Do not use a great deal of water; a damp rag is sufficient. Let the mortar dry according to the instructions.
When the mortar is dry, you can apply the grout between the tiles. Mix the gout using the instructions on the packaging. Using a grout float spread the grout liberally over the tile, making sure to spread grout over each crack. Continue until all cracks are filled with grout evenly. Once this is completed, use a damp, soft, cloth to wipe the excess grout from the surface of the tiles. Do not remove any of the gout between the tiles. When the grout has set up, do this again to assure that all cracks have been filled evenly. Wipe the tiles again using the damp cloth. It is not necessary to remove all grout from the tile surface at this point. You can do so safely once the grout has dried.
When your grout has dried, again wash the tile surface. You may see a slight film on the tile. You can polish this off with a dry cloth when the floor has dried.
After the grout has cured completely and the floors are clean, apply a grout sealer. This will prevent mildew from forming as well as stains.
This is not a hard job, but does take some work. A long weekend of hard work will result in summers filled with the satisfaction of a new DIY patio.