How to Lay Ceramic Tile Step By Step

1. To begin the layout of the tile, snap a chalk line from the center of the main entrance (doorway) into the room all the way to the facing, opposite wall. Use a square to ensure the line is perpendicular to the entrance or doorway.

2. To get ready for laying the tile, take off all baseboard along the floor.

3. Begin laying tile (without adhesive, this is known as a dry run to see how the tile will fit) along the line you've created with the chalk using spacers between each tile. You can purchase plastic spacers at just about any hardware or home improvement store, or you can use any other object as long as the space created is the same for between each tile.

4. After laying tile along the line until you can no longer lay a full-sized tile, lay a long, one-inch-thick board at a right angle to the tile row you have just laid. Use nails or screws to secure the board to the sub-floor in front of your tile row. Lay tiles against this board and from side to side of your first tile row. Shift the tiles to make the spaces left over on each side of the room equal.

5. Snap another chalk line from the edge of the space of one of the sides of the room and the tile. The intersection of this second line and the spacer board will be where you begin laying the tile using adhesive. The first chalk line will no longer be necessary.

Lay Full Tiles First, Then Border Tiles

6. With a notched trowel, spread tile adhesive in a two-foot-square area beginning at the intersection above. Work the tiles into the adhesive as you lay them and don't forget to use spacers.

7. Ensure the tiles are even by using a level. Gently tap too-high tiles using a rubber mallet or a hammer and wood block. Lay full tiles in two-foot-square areas back and forth across the width of the room. Allow to set overnight.

8. Now for the border tiles: Lay a loose tile over a tile that's been adhered to the floor, placing the loose tile exactly over the tile that has been set in the adhesive.

9. Put a one-half-inch board against the wall and take another loose tile and put it against the spacer board with the two side edges aligned with the loose tile beneath it. Draw a line across the middle tile you have laid this tile on. This line is where you will cut.

10. Make cuts using a tile or glass cutter. If using a glass cutter, lay a straight edge across the tile and score. Holding the tile at the edge of a table or bench, snap off the scored tile section. Use a tile saw or tile nippers for more complicated cuts.

Now For the Grouting

11. Mix the grout according to directions on the bag.

12. Apply grout at 45-degree angle using a rubber float making sure to work into the spaces between the tiles.

13. Use a large sponge to wipe the excess grout off the face of the tiles as you go.

14. After allowing the grout time to set (a good rule of thumb is overnight), go over the floor again with a damp sponge or sponge mop to clean over any remaining residue. Do this every day for the next three days and then allow the grout to cure for a week before applying a good-quality silicone sealant. Replace the baseboard, and that is it, you have just laid a ceramic floor.

Our Most Popular Online Tips