ceramic tile at soda fountain

Dazzle your buddies at the soda fountain by explaining how these tiles were installed.

iStockphoto.com/Lillis Photography

Install­ing ceramic tile is easy with modern fast-setting mastics, sealants, and grout. Whatever style or size you choose to install, the principles are t­he same.

Bef­ore you begin, you'll need a hammer, chalk line, level, saber saw with carbide blade (helpful but not necessary), rubber gloves, tile mastic, tile grout sealer, tiles, edging cap and two outside corner edge caps for ceramic tile, and a paint stirring stick or old toothbrush to use for forcing grout deeply into the tile joints. You can also rent or buy a grooved trowel, tile nippers, tile cutter, and rubber squeegee.

Inspect the walls. They must be smooth and free of loose plaster, dust, or peeling paint. Read the mastic instructions; on new plaster or unfinished drywall, a primer may be necessary.