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How to lay ceramic tile

Updated on August 31, 2013

DIY video on how to lay ceramic tile

Materials needed to lay ceramic tile

Materials and tools you will need


  1. Durock cement board or Hardie Backer
  2. Thin set mortar mix
  3. Grout
  4. Ceramic tile
  5. Wet saw
  6. Notched square trowel
  7. Tile nippers
  8. Utility knife
  9. Tape measure
  10. Grout float
  11. Chalk line
  12. Tile spacers
  13. Durock or Hardie backer screws


Many people pay professionals to lay ceramic tile floors, many of which can be done be themselves if you have the time to learn how to lay ceramic tile. Typically to lay ceramic tile flooring can be installed in two days depending on the size of the project. The first day will be installing backer board,mortar, tile, and fill in the grout the next day. The hardest thing about tile is picking the type, color, and color of the grout that you are choosing to go with. You can check out web sites or local home improvement stores to check prices.


Step 1. First things first you will need to measure the area of the room or rooms that you want to lay tile. To do this measure measure the length and width of the room on feet, multiply the two together and that will get you your area in square feet. For example if you have a measurement of 12ft. x 8ft. you will multiply the two together(12x8) and you will get 96 square feet, this number will determine the amount of tile you will be buying.

Step 2. Pick out the tile that you would like to put down. On the box of tile it should tell you how many square feet 1 box will cover. You should always get at least one or two boxes over the amount for the future in case down the line some pieces become cracked or chipped.

Step 3. Lay your backer board sub flooring. Most people have two choices before laying down you sub backer board, will you remove the old flooring or not. Most people leave the old flooring down when installing their new flooring on top of the old. You will want to lay out your sub flooring so that you can see what cut you will need before you actually screw it down. To cut just score it a couple of times on each side of the board. Next you will want to screw down the cement boards using durock or hardie backer screws, please only use these screws as regular screws will rust away over time. Now it is time to seal the seams, just like you would if you were installing drywall. Put down tape along the seams were each board meets.

Step 4. Find the center of the room. The easiest way to do this is to this is using chalk lines that intersect at the center point of the room. This is going to be were you are going start your tile layout.

Step 5. Lay out you tile. Using your tile and tile spacers, start from your center point and put down your tile at the intersection. Do not put ant grout down as you are just lining everything up to ensure the proper balance of the tile and to be prepared for any cuts you will have to make. Insert your spacers at each corner move your area out in a square formation until you are close to the wall.

Step 6. Laying the tile. For this part you will want to mix your mortar, the consistency pretty thick. You will have to work quickly so that your mixture does not dry up to quickly on you. Using your trowel spread enough mortar to cover a four tile section. Be sure to press the tile firmly to ensure a good grip. Remember to use your spacers to keep the proper distance in between your tile. Work from the center of the room outward to ensure a good clean look. Use your wet saw for any cuts that you will need along your walls. For around the toilet get as close as possible with your cuts, and fill in the remaining space with mortar to seal against any future leaks that may develop around the toilet. Once you have laid all of you tile pieces to the floor with the mortar allow the floor to set overnight so that the mortar has the proper time to set in.

Step 7. Fill in the grout. Now comes the easy part. You will want to mix up the grout until it feels like mixing mashed potatoes. Use your grout float to fill up your grout lines to seal the grout in place. Work in sections and when you are done with one section use a wet sponge to remove any grout off of the tile. Again you will want to move quickly as you want to get any grout off of the tile before it dries. Once again let the floor set overnight, clean up and enjoy you floor.





Installing tile flooring

Installing ceramic floors
Installing ceramic floors | Source
Using chalk lines
Using chalk lines | Source
Cleaning the grout off of the tile
Cleaning the grout off of the tile | Source
Cutting the backer board
Cutting the backer board | Source

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