You might remember we finished off the last post with laying the Ditra. You can technically go straight into tiling after you're done with the Ditra and that is exactly what we did.
First we dry-fit our tiles to make sure we wouldn't have any itsy bitsy tiles along the perimeter. Thankfully it wasn't too difficult for us to achieve that- the back wall of the kitchen was going to need about a half tile, and same with the entrance to the kitchen. Once we decided on placement, we marked off a straight line to lay our first row of full tiles. (You can see it in the first picture below.)
Once you you've done all that, mix up thin-set mortar, scoop some onto the Ditra (we used a hand shovel again) and smear it around using a square notched trowel. We also opted to back-butter the tile, since we read that was a good idea with larger sizes (ours were 16x16).
Then just continue cutting each tile until you've got all that row filled in.
You can also see in this picture our biggest "mistake". The tile on the far left is a tiny sliver and we really tried to prevent that. There was really no way to know this would happen, but since only two tiles looked like that and this was our first tile job, I was at peace with it.
A couple take home notes about this process:
-It's best to clean the thin-set off the tiles as you go. It's not impossible to get off once it dries (damp towel and a little elbow grease works), but it's much easier to catch it while it's wet.
-Like I said before- if you're using tile spacers, remember to account for that in your cuts. It's also a good idea to use them when you dry fit, since that could throw you off by a few inches in a decent sized kitchen.
-Make sure to level each individual tile. While our floor probably wouldn't pass the quarter test (slide a quarter across the floor without it catching on the edge of any tiles), it's level and straight.
twice thrice and cut once. And if necessary, draw out your tile shape and measurements on paper to remind you of the orientation as you cut. I learned my hubby was not the most visual person, so a drawing really helped him.
-Try to be consistent with the amount of thin-set you use. This will help the levelness of your floor.
The next step was waiting. Because we used Ditra, we let the tiles set from Sunday evening until Friday afternoon. It was hard to resist, but not a single foot or paw stepped on the tiles until then.