How to Lay Porcelain Tiles

Sara Miller
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Whether you are a contractor, home owner, house flipper, or buisness owner, self-installation has many benefits. One, saving money that would otherwise be spent on labor costs; two, having untimate control over your installation from pace to; and three, enjoying the fruits of your own labor.

If you are getting ready to install your own porcelain tile floor, completely prepared before you lay a single tile. That way you’ll have all the materials and tools needed to properly install your porcelain floor.

Read these quick installation tips before starting your porcelain floor: 

What You’ll Need:

Make sure you have all the right tools prior to laying your first tile.

  • Notched trowel
  • Nails
  • Vacuum
  • Wet saw
  • Spacers
  • Seam tape
  • Buckets
  • Towels
  • Adhesives, mortar, grout
  • Cement board
  • Thin set

Steps to Lay Porcelain Tile:

1. Demolition: Remove existing flooring, subfloor, trim, nails, and staples. Create a clean surface by vacuuming all dust and debris and make sure the surface is level.

2. Add cement boards: Figure out the amount of cement board needed. Cut cement boards with a saw. Set cement board onto freshly laid thin set. Then for extra securing, nail the cement board to the floor every six inches near the edge of the board. Then cover the seams with seam tape.

3. Measure and cut: Measure the area where you are installing the porcelain floor, then cut your tiles. If cutting is necessary, use a wet saw. Properly laying out the floor and cutting the tiles before you install your first tile will make the difference in having enough materials and having to run to the manufacturer for more tiles. Try and make as few cuts as possible to conserve materials (and your money).

4. Apply thin set: Mix thinset in the bucket, using the drill and paddle. Follow the manufacturer's instructions for water inclusion as it varies according to the manufacturer. Let the thinset sit for five to 10 minutes; or according to the manufacturer's instructions.

5. Lay tiles: Lay the tiles starting from the center. Use slow and steady pressure as you lay each of the tiles down. Place spacers between each tile. Allow tile to set for 24 hours.

6. Mix and apply grout: Mix grout in a bucket until it reaches a paste consistency. Remove the spacers. Apply grout into the joint lines with a grout float. Spread the grout at a 45-degree angle to make sure you get into all the crevices. Work in a 6-foot-square area to prevent the grout from drying too much. Keep a clean bucket of water and sponges handy for easy clean up. Wipe excess grout with a clean, damp sponge. Let grout dry completely.

A notched trowel will help you use the correct amount of mortar when installing your tiles. Still, it’s important not to overuse adhesive or grout. Using too much or too little grout can affect the overall look of your porcelain floor, but it can also affect how well your floor performs, and how long it lasts. If using a dark colored grout with a light colored tile be sure to test a small area before installing the entire floor to make sure no grout staining occurs.

7. Clean: Once you have finished laying and bonding all of your porcelain tiles, you will need to clean the area; grout haze, or dust can be left behind after a floor installation. Rinse the new porcelain floor with a dilution of mild soap in warm water. Avoid any traffic on the new floor for at least 12 hours after installation.

Check with your porcelain tile manufacturer for specific requirements depending on the type of tile you will be using for your project.

More Sources:

DIY Network, “How to Lay a Porcelain Tile Kitchen Floor

SF Gate, “How to Lay Porcelain Tile Over a Concrete Floor