Prepare and Install a Tile Floor

Getting the subfloor properly prepared will make the tile go down smooth and easy.


Ceramic tile is an inexpensive choice for new flooring and is a relatively easy do-it-yourself project.

Ceramic tile is an inexpensive choice for new flooring and is a relatively easy do-it-yourself project.

Materials and Tools:

grout float
knee pads
notched trowel
wet tile saw
concrete board
tile mortar
tile grout
tile spacers


1. Plan the layout of the tile floor. When planning the floor, remember to leave a 1/4-inch space around the perimeter for the tile floor to expand and contract.

2. Remove the old linoleum floor with a pry bar, hammer and utility knife. If the subflooring is in decent shape the tile can be laid on top with a little sanding. If not, then use backerboard. It creates a uniform surface and will protect the tiles from damage. Before screwing down the backerboard, lay down a thin layer of mastic or thinset mortar. Then use 1-1/4-inch decking screws to fasten down the backerboard. It's important to use decking screws because they do not rust or rot like untreated screws.

3. It is important to lay the tile in a checkerboard pattern running parallel to the walls, not at an angle. Begin laying the tile at the kitchen entrance, so you'll have a clean line at the most visible spot.

4. Using a 1/4-inch notched trowel, spread a layer of thinset under the working area of the tiles. To keep a uniform consistency, place 1/4-inch plastic tile spacers between each tile. Use the wet tile saw to cut the pieces to fit.

5. After the last tile is put down, allow at least 12 hours of dry time before walking on the floor.


For an even application, spread the grout diagonally across the tiles.

For an even application, spread the grout diagonally across the tiles.

6. Mix the grout to the consistency of a thick paste (like peanut butter) and apply it by forcing the grout between tiles with a rubber float held at a 45-degree angle. Wipe away excess grout from the surface of the tiles. Take care to pack all joints.

7. After 20 minutes, wipe away all excess grout with a damp sponge. Be sure to wait at least four hours for the grout to dry before walking on the floor.

Next Up

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Installing Laminate Flooring

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