How to Install Ceramic Tile

Ceramic tile can be an elegant and durable flooring solution for many rooms including the kitchen, bathroom, and other areas where high traffic and moisture are a concern.

We have provided these instructions as a general guide for installing ceramic floor tile. If you are uncertain about any aspect of this project, consult with a local professional before proceeding. Always read and follow the manufacturer’s instructions, and take all reasonable safety precautions during any do-it-yourself project.

Tools and Materials

Ceramic Tile Tile Cutter & Breaker
Ceramic Adhesive Tile Nippers
Grout (white or pre-coloured) Notched Trowel
Grout Extra Strength Additive Grouting Float
Tile Spacers Floor Crack Filling Compound
Thin Set Mortar Silicone Sealer
Silicone Caulking L Square
Rubber Mallet Tile Scriber
Tape Measure Chalk Line
Extra Sponges Gloves
Plastic Pail or Bowl Rod Saw
Level Safety Glasses


  1. Measure the room to calculate the area to be tiled in square feet. Make a sketch of the room with measurements and any obstacles that must be worked around.

  2. It is a good idea to purchase extra tiles (usually 10% more than you need to cover your floor) for cutting, waste, and mistakes. It’s also recommended to keep some tiles on hand for future replacement. Tile styles and colours change frequently and you may not be able to get matching replacement tiles in the future.

  3. Remove all baseboards. If not damaged during removal, you can re-install them or you may choose to replace them with new moulding to go with your new floor.

  4. Make sure the subfloor is a minimum of 1-1/4 to 1-1/2 inches thick. This will help prevent floor movement which can crack new tiles. Additional subfloor can be created using a concrete-based underlayment, or the required plywood to achieve the proper thickness. Fill seams and low spots with floor leveler and wash and vacuum the surface. This is a very important step! If the subfloor isn’t stable, level and cleared of all debris, the installation will be more difficult, and the finished floor may be more prone to cracks and damage in the future.

  5. Using a string or chalk line, mark the line of the first row of tiles. This will ensure a straight line to start and will set the tone for the rest of the installation. Never assume that the wall is a straight edge! Walls tend to shift and change over the years, so even a wall that looks straight may not be.

  6. Do a dry run of your tile layout without the adhesive. That way you’ll have a good idea of how you want to proceed and you’ll be certain you have enough tiles for the job before you start gluing.


  1. Start laying tile in the corner opposite to the door. You don’t want to tile yourself into a corner! You will be working progressively in small areas at a time.

  2. Spread adhesive using a notched trowel over a 2' x 2' area. Before spreading more adhesive, lay tiles and press them into place. Use spacers to make sure the tiles are consistently spaced, and use a level to make sure they are at the same height after being pressed in. Continue laying tiles in 2’ x 2’ areas at a time.

  3. If you need to tile around an obstacle, mark its dimensions on the tile with a pencil. You can use a tile cutter to cut away large sections, and a tile nipper to remove small pieces. Tiles can also be cut with a coping saw.

  4. Allow 24 hours for the adhesive to set before walking on the floor to grout it.

  5. Use a grout floating tool to insert grout between tiles. Remove excess by running the float over the grout at a 45 degree angle to the grout lines. Wipe off excess grout before it dries using a moist sponge.

  6. Let the grout dry for 24 hours and then clean the new floor again to remove any remaining haze.

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