DIY How-To Guides

Learning how to tile floors, countertops, and walls is easy when you use our 4 simple steps. Watch our do-it-yourself (DIY) videos and follow our step by step guides to discover how to install tile the easy way. Pick your tile installation project:


  • Prep Preparing your Surface
  • Set Setting the Tile
  • Grout Grouting the Tile Joints
  • Care Caring for your Installtation

Overview: Install Tile on Level Concrete Subfloors

Prep

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Prepare your floor properly for a long-lasting tile installation. The tile must be placed on a rigid, level, structurally sound surface that is clean, dry and free of contaminants that could prevent a good bond.

Measure, Layout & Cut Tile

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Laying out the installation ensures your tile is set in a straight line and is square and level with adjacent surfaces. Often the best approach is to center the main field of full tiles in your project area, and adjust the field to leave partial, cut tiles-that are about the same size-around the edges. A scale drawing on paper can help you visualize what the installation will look like and estimate the number of tiles and cut tiles needed.

Prep

Step 1

If concrete is porous, clean, even and in structurally sound condition, you can set tile directly over it. To patch cracks, fill gaps, smooth surfaces, or to follow sloped surfaces allowing for water runoff, use

 

Step 2

For waterproofing and to protect against cracks, apply

 

Measure, Layout & Cut Tile

Step 1

Mark centerlines of the floor. Use a 3-4-5 triangle to check for square.

Step 2

Do a dry run to determine tile placement and cuts. Place a row of tiles along each line, using spacers.

Step 3

If the space at the wall is less than 1/2 tile, shift centerline to eliminate small cuts. This will allow wider tiles at both walls.

Step 4

Work in chalked grids (typically 2 tiles by 2 tiles) allowing space for grout joints.

Step 5

After setting your full tiles, go back to set tiles requiring cuts. Mark cuts with a grease pencil or china marker.

Step 6

Make straight cuts using a tile cutter or wet saw. Notched or curved cuts and v-cap or quarter-round tile cuts require a wet saw.

Step 7

For unique shaping, use tile nippers to cut away small pieces of tile.

GO TO STEP 2: Set

Overview: Install Tile on Level Concrete Subfloors

Set

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Creating a strong bond is an essential part of tile installation. In areas that may be exposed to water or heavy usage, we recommend using a polymer-modified thin-set mortar.

Set

Step 1

Clean all debris from surface. Mix thin-set mortar according to manufacturer's instructions. Spread thin-set mortar on surface with a notch trowel held at a 45º angle combing in one direction

Step 2

Set tile firmly into place while slightly moving the tile back and forth to help tile settle. If tiling a wall, ensure the first row is level before adding more rows. 

Step 3

Use spacers to ensure proper distance between tiles. 

Step 4

Clean off any mortar left between the tiles or on the surface of the tile with a sponge or scrub pad.

GO TO STEP 3: Grout

Overview: Install Tile on Level Concrete Subfloors

Grout

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are easy to use; just add water and mix. Choose from 48 impressive colors to match your style.

Grout

Step 1

Using cool, clean water mix the grout to a lump-free, non-pourable consistency.

Step 2

Using a grout float held at a 45° angle, spread grout firmly into tile joints. Make sure grout joints are completely filled.

Step 3

Allow grout to set for 10-20 minutes then lightly clean tile and shape grout joints with a damp sponge. Use a damp, not wet sponge for best results. 

Step 4

Buff off remaining grout haze with a clean, dry cheesecloth after grout has dried for about 2 hours. Let grout dry 48-72 hours before sealing. 

GO TO STEP 4: Care

Overview: Install Tile on Level Concrete Subfloors

Care

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Following proper maintenance techniques with TileLab®, AquaMix, or StoneSpecific™ sealers and cleaners will keep your stone, grout and tile looking like new. Sealing stone or grout after installation ensures future maintenance will be quick and easy.

Care

Step 1

Wait 48-72 hours after installation to seal. Even if your tile is glazed, the grout can get stained and needs to be sealed. 

Step 2

To protect marble, stone, porcelain, tile, grout, concrete and masonry, apply with a sponge, or sealer applicator.

Step 3

Test sealed surfaces for effectiveness every year. Sprinkle water on the surface at various locations; if it penetrates, then renew by applying one coat of sealer.

                Routine Cleaning

For everyday cleaning, contains SurfaceGard® to seal as it cleans.

PRO Tips

Setting Tile

  • The notch trowel size depends on the tile type and size. Large tile require a deeper thin-set bed to make up for the minor adjustments in flatness of floor and tile.
  • Check for complete coverage of thin-set mortar by pulling up one tile -- it should cover at least 80% of the back of the tile.

Grouting

  • Clean out as much mortar from the grout joints as you can.
  • Prevent grout staining and remove grout residue easily by pre-sealing porous stone or tile before grouting.
  • Use clean water and grout sponge, changing water frequently. Minimal clean-up water should be used to ensure proper grout curing and maintain color uniformity.

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