How to Install Ceramic Floor Tile

Ceramic tiles are made from clay that is known for their decorative look. They have excellent durability and water resistance property, and with their aesthetic looks, they are a perfect choice for any space from the bathroom to the hall.

While professionals come great as tile-setters, installing ceramic floor tile can also be possible using DIY. Doing it yourself can make the tile installing project pretty cost-effective that a person can save a whole lot on labor costs.

Successful floor tile installation takes an understanding of specific steps, so the job can be straightforward. Let’s have these steps here-

Tools you are going to need:

  • Tile cutting tools such as a wet tile saw or a snap tile cutter
  • Tile nipper
  • Rubber tile float for grouting
  • Notched tile trowel for applying thin-set mortar
  • Flat margin trowel
  • Rubber mallet
  • Tile spacers
  • Large sponges
  • Buckets
  • Tape measure
  • Chalk line for snapping a line on the floor
  • Bubble level
  • Two-by-four lumber
  • Safety glasses
  • Framing square
  • Rubber gloves


  • Tile
  • Thinset mortar
  • Grout
  • Grout haze remover
  • Grout sealer
  • Cement backer board and fiberglass seam tape (optional)

Decide The Tile Pattern

The tile pattern has a lot to do with the number of tiles you are going to need. Narrow designs will need you to buy more tiles than broad tiles design to fill up space where you want tile flooring. There are many more designs for ceramic tiles these days and you can choose as per your budget and appearance of the stone.

To have a close idea about how many pieces you are going to need, there are tile calculators online.

Prepare The Substrate

Ceramic tiles function the best and serve or its durability when laid on a firm surface. As the traditional method, the use of wet mortar has been in practice, however, if you are someone who doesn’t want to practice with that, you can opt for the backer board.

If you want to go with the traditional method which is equally useful,  create a thin layer of mortar and place the cement board panels. Make use of the fiberglass seam tape to fill any seams and let the things settle down.

Plan The Positioning

In this step, you need to strategically place the tiles onto the walls. This is not going to be an actual placement, but just to have an idea. Determine the center of the walls for which you can use chalk to mark things. The reason behind this is to eliminate the cutting of the tiles for an uneven appearance.

Make a cross-like sign in the center of the walls and that way each will be symmetrical with respect to another wall.

Spread The Mortar

Now it is time to spread the mortar before you can place the tiles. Pick up the margin trowel and spread the mortar on the cement board. Spread the mortar in a way that it extends a bit as per the size of the tile while holding the trowel at a 45-degree angle.

Generally, a trowel has a mark in the between to let you pick the right amount of mortar to spread. Use the mark and you will get the right amount of mortar from both sides.

Lay The Tile

Lay The Tile

Now, that you have got the mortar on the wall, it is time to finally set the tile on it. Get the tile and gently press it on the mortar while pressing the tile into the wall deeper. Your aim should be to fill up any gaps in any ridges that are in the mortar. For assurance, you can lift the tile and check if the fit is proper or you may need to push it a bit more.

Leave a 1/4-inch expansion gap between the tiles, and do not fill this gap with the mortar. You can also use tile spacers for that purpose. Make sure you level the tiles equally; lightly tap the tiles with the rubber mallet to settle them further in line.

Cut The Tile

Cutting Tile

When you are done placing the tiles, you would encounter some extra space left where the full-size tile doesn’t go. To fill up this space, you would need to snap the tiles accordingly. You can get a wet tile saw on rent or you can use a tile snapper.

If there corners where you think curved tile would work, a tile nipper would be a great tool in that case. However, while using any of these tile cutting tools, always wear eye and hand protection such as gloves and goggles. This will keep you from getting injured due to those flying tile particles and debris.

Grout The Tile

Those tile spacers that you previously used, it is time to remove them. Grout all the spacing between the tiles. Keep the tip at a 45-degree angle for the fine placement of grout, so nothing of it comes out. Follow this solution for all the walls and wait for at least an hour.

Afterward, take a sponge soaked in clean water and remove the excess grout. Use a circular motion for easy removal of the excess.

Remove The Grout Haze

After the grout has completely dried out, you will notice a milky-white grout haze. This grout haze can be cleaned easily by wiping with a clean sponge and water. Next, you need to use haze cleaner and mix 3 ounces of haze cleaner per gallon of water. Just wipe down the surface using this solution with the sponge and the haze gets disappeared.

Seal The Tile Grout

As the finishing step, you should seal the grout else it will keep soaking up water and that would affect the overall installation. There are sealers available in the market that you can use to properly seal the tile grout or you can use a sealer that comes in the spray form and wipe the excess.

Ending Up

If you are confident about using the tile cutting tools, DIYing the tile cutting process is not very troublesome. So, keep all your tools and materials handy before you start the placement.

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