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Install Ceramic Tiles in Three Easy Steps

by Sonja Albrecht
Repair-Home Columnist

Ceramic tiles create beauty and drama in your home, and are an improvement that can be accomplished at almost any budget. With the help of these tips, you can learn how to install ceramic tiles yourself.

How to Install Ceramic Tiles

Before you begin, make sure you have a smooth and rigid sub-floor to support the installation. Ceramic tiles crack easily if installed on an uneven or thin surface.

Next, assemble your tools and materials. You will simply need tile adhesive, a tile cutter, and, of course, tiles. Also have a rubber mallet, chalk line, a long board, and level on hand.

Install Your Tile in Three Steps

  1. The 'Dry Run'. Plan the layout of your tiles by placing them without adhesive. Using a chalk line, snap a line perpendicular to the door. Lay tiles along this line, using a spacer (such as the side of another tile) between each tile.

  2. A home improvement tip: Start laying out tile from the door-you want a full row of tiles visible upon entry into the room.

    When you reach the other end of the room, install a long 1" thick piece of wood along the wall, perpendicular to your first row. This temporary installation will help you line tiles across the room.

    Lay a row along the board, and shift it to allow equal spacing on both ends. Mark a second line indicating this measurement. The intersection of the board and that second line will become your starting point once you install the ceramic tiles.

  3. Installing the Tile. Apply a 2-foot square area of tile adhesive in this starting corner. Lay down each tile, working it into the adhesive. Again, use your spacer for even work. Before you move on, check that the tiles surfaces are flush using a level. Tap down any high tiles with a rubber mallet. Continue across the surface in 2-foot areas.

  4. Final Pieces. After the adhesive has dried (overnight), you're ready to cut and install border tiles. Lay a tile over the last full tile. Place your spacer against the wall, and lay a second tile next to it, over the first one. Mark the first tile and cut. Install border tiles as above.

You've just installed your ceramic tile floor! Simply grout the spaces (consult another home improvement guide for instructions), and you're done.


About the Author
Sonja Albrecht works as a writer and editor for an online media company. She has also taught college writing and completed a Ph.D. in English.