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How To Install Ceramic Tile

If this project is a wall & floor installation always start with the floor.

  1. On bad concrete, smooth with concrete filler or similar compound.
  2. On old concrete, clean and remove old dirt, a degreaser is recommended.
  3. On vinyl floor, remove vinyl flooring and adhesives.
  4. On wood floor, install concrete board tape joints with fiber glass tape and thinnest joints.
  5. On old ceramic tile, clean with degreaser and test a small area over night for bonding.
  6. Draw your center lines and mark them with a chalk line and a straight edge.
  7. Layout a few tiles to visualize the layout; spread your thinnest with appropriate trowel at an angle of 45 degrees; for mixing instructions refer to adhesive manufacturer.
  8. Install the ceramic tile, against the straight edge and center line.
  9. Lay a beating block on the tile and with a mallet, pound gently to smooth the surface and to achieve a better bond.
  10. Move the straight edge to the next section of installation and repeat step 8-11.
  11. Remove wall paper; remove all traces of adhesives.
  12. Remove loose paint and scratch good surfaces for better bonding.
  13. Patch wall and smooth walls with appropriate compounds.
  14. Clean & wash old with TSP or similar degreaser cleaner.
  15. Smooth ruff surfaces by sanding or scraping.
  16. If installing over old ceramic, scratch the glazed surface.
  17. Using a bubble level, draw your vertical line. You can also use a tile setters lead.
  18. Next, make your horizontal line again using the bubble level.
  19. Following the manufactuerers instructions, spread your adhesive at a 45 degree angle.
  20. Starting from the center of your wall, begin placing the ceramic tiles and work out towards the sides of the wall.
  21. Use nippers or good quality tile cutters to trim the side walls.
  22. If required, trim the bottom.
  23. Use a grout float to spread your grout and pack the grout into the joints.
  24. Use the rubber sponge pad on the bottom of the grout float to remove any access grout.
  25. Allow the grout to dry for 10 to 20 minutes.
  26. Go over the joints with a wet sponge; rinse the sponge often and wring it out well.
  27. Use a clean cloth or rag to polish the tiles.
  28. Avoid using the newly grouted area for 24 to 36 hours. Do not allow the area to get wet and do not clean it.
  29. A week after grouting, use a grout sealer to lock the grout into place.
Share DIY tips and advice concerning ceramic tile with others on our Floors forum!