Installation for Ceramic & Porcelain

Tools and Materials Needed

  • Tiles (15-20% more than you need)
  • Safety goggles and gloves
  • Tape measure
  • Pencil
  • Tile cutter
  • Chalk line
  • Spacer (optional)
  • Adhesive
  • Sanded Grout
  • Trowel
  • Float
  • Rubber mallet
  • Tile leveler
  • Two 5-gallon buckets
  • Two grouting sponges

Map The Room To Find The center

Step 1. Find the center of two opposite walls in each direction. Be exact with your measurements, or your tiles will be off center. Snap a chalk line from center point to center point. Then do the same in the other direction perpendicular to the first line. Make sure the center point where the two lines cross is a perfect square by placing a carpenter square next to it.

Step 2. Without using any adhesives yet, place tiles along edges of lines starting from the center all the way to the edge of the room. If your ceramic tiles don’t have spacers, just approximate the needed spacing. This is done to determine if any adjustments need to be made.

Step 3. Your goal is to use as many full tiles as possible so there will be minimal cutting. Where the tiles meet the walls, you want room for at least half a tile. If it doesn’t work out that way, you should adjust your reference lines as needed.

Installing The Ceramic Tile

Step 1. Start from the center of the floor when laying your tiles. Lay your tile at the intersection you created with the lines. The lines will be a guide as you begin laying tiles toward the four walls.

Step 2. Spread your adhesive with the notched edge of your trowel. The notches will allow you to spread the adhesive at the perfect height. The low point in the ridges you create should be spread thin enough where you can see most of the floor.

Step 3. Some tiles come with spacers to keep the space between tiles equal. This helps keep the grout lines straight. If your tiles don’t have them, you may want to pick up some plastic spacers. Remove them quickly before they set in the drying adhesive.

Step 4. Scrape away any adhesive that comes up between the tiles. If some gets stuck on the face of the tile, you can wipe it off with a rag or sponge dipped in solvent. Make sure to follow manufacturer guidelines when applying any cleaners or solvents.

Step 5. Once you have done a few rows finish setting them into the adhesive with a mallet and tile leveler to make sure they stick permanently and are level.

Step 6. Once you get close to the walls and whole tiles no longer fit, you need to cut tiles to fit.

How to Cut and Fit Tiles

By Hand

Step 1. Face the tile with the score facing up. Then place it over a nail.

Step 2. Hold the tile on both sides with fingers flat. Apply steady, firm pressure until tile snaps.

Tile Cutter (recommended)
Tile cutters are the usual method, but special precaution must be taken to avoid injury. The place that rented or sold you the tile cutter should be willing to provide some training prior to use. Here is a quick guide to using tile cutters.

Step 1. Measure the area you are cutting the tile to fit very carefully. The old rule of thumb is measure twice and cut once, but you should measure as much as you need to be sure. This can save you money on wasted tiles.

Step 2. Draw a line on the tile where you are going to make the cut.

Step 3. Now it’s time to use the tile cutter. Follow all manufacturer guidelines carefully. If it is a machine tile cutter, you will likely need to use a good amount of water during cutting.

Step 4. Observe the cut edge to see if it’s straight. If there are chips or the line is crooked, throw out the tile and start over.

Step 5.Carefully lay the tile in its place. Hopefully it looks good, but if the size isn’t quite right it’s best to toss the tile and measure the space again.

How to Grout The Ceramic Tile

Step 1. You want to make sure you buy a sanded grout, because this is best for flooring.

Step 2. Mix your grout in a bucket adding the recommended amount of water. You know your grout has the perfect amount of water if it’s the consistency of peanut butter.

Tip: Don’t mix all the grout at once. Only make enough for about 15 minutes of work, to prevent it from getting too stiff before you’re finished.

Step 3. Grab two five-gallon buckets: one for your grout and the other filled with clean water. Also grab two grouting sponges.

Step 4. Scoop up some grout with your float. Hold your float at a about a 45 degree angle and spread it over the tile and push it in between the tiles to fill the grout line. Scrape off the excess. Don’t worry if you get grout on the tile, because you will wash this off later.

Step 5.Using your water bucket wet your sponge only enough for it to be barely damp. You don’t want your sponge to be too wet.

Tip: Your sponge should be dry enough where it is difficult to wring any water out of it. Run your sponge gently over the grout line in one direction to help shape the line. Do this on every line, keeping the direction consistent.

Step 6. Use your damp sponges to clean off excess grout on the face of the tiles. Don’t worry if you can’t get it all off. Once your tiles have set for a few more hours, you can do a better job of cleaning the grout off the face of the tiles.