Traditional tile installation requires many tools and lots of patience which have to be pre-set on the floor, cut down to size, then adhered to the floor using a strong industrial glue. They will not stick to every surface and frequently, a layer of floor base must be installed before the tiling work can begin. If the tiles are placed too close together, they can buckle, leaving unsightly bumps and lumps on the floor. If they are placed too far apart, there will be obvious gaps. If a mistake is made when laying down the tile, it is very difficult to fix as the tile is glued to the floor. The tile will have to be pried up, excess adhesive scraped, and the process started over. Laying traditional tile floors is a project that can take several days, to several weeks, to finish.
Installing interlocking floor tiles is a much easier and user friendly process. They are designed to clip together, eliminating the need for measuring spaces and also leaving room for the tiles to settle. Each tile is surrounded with divots that lock to the other interlocking floor tiles. They clip together easily, much like a jigsaw puzzle, and allow a perfect seamless finish. If a mistake is made while installing the interlocking tiles, it is easy to fix. Simply pull them apart and start over. As no adhesive is generally used, they do not need to be pried up, risking damage to the floor.
Most commonly installed are interlocking sheathing panels. This type of sheathing is generally 5/8" thick, and manufactured as either plywood or aspenite (commonly referred to as "chipboard") in 4` x 8` sheets. The sheets come with the long edges designed to interlock with a tongue on one edge, and a grove on the opposing edge. They are installed by simply pushing or pounding the sheets together, and nailing or screwing them to the joist work, in the same manner as raw sheathing. It is often the cheapest to install.
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