How to Install Ceramic Floor Tile

By Gene and Katie Hamilton

Tools Required
  • Measuring tape
  • Utility knife or carbide cutter
  • Metal straightedge
  • Trowel
  • Chalk line
  • Framing square
  • Electric drill
  • Mixing paddle for drill
  • Tile cutter
  • Tile nippers
  • Float
Materials Required
  • Cement board
  • Thinset adhesive
  • Cement board screws
  • Ceramic floor tiles
  • Spacers
  • Grout
  • Fiberglass tape
  • Thinset mortar
  • Eye protection
  • Work gloves
  • Knee pads
  • Marker
  • 5-gal. bucket
  • Sponge and rags

Before You Begin

What follows is the steps involved in installing a tile floor. Not sure if you want to tackle the job? Click Home Advisor, a free online referral service that connects homeowners with prescreened local flooring contractors.

  • Step 1 : Cut and fit cement board panels for subfloor

    Cut and fit panels

    These panels are difficult to handle so wear leather work gloves and eye protection. Lay out the cement board and cut it to fit the room allowing for a 1/4-inch gap around the perimeter and about 1/8-inch gap between the panels. Use a metal straightedge and a carbide cutter or utility knife and cut the material by scoring it on both sides and then snapping the cut piece with a short snapping motion. Kneel on the panel near the score line and use your weight to lift the edge up to snap it. Wear knee pads to protect your chins.

  • Step 2 : Secure the cement board with thinset ashesive and screws

    Secure the cement board Mix thinset adhesive according to the manufacturer's directions and allow it to set. Spread the adhesive with a trowel on the floor one section of cement board at a time. Use a trowel to spread enough adhesive on the floor for one section of cement board, then place the board in position on the thinset.

    Apply adhesive Then screw the cement board to the underlayment with cement board screws spaced every 4-inches. Install the other panels in the same way.

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