Ceramic Floor Tiling 1 - Introduction Ceramic Floor Tiling 1 - Introduction

These pages will show you the step by step procedure for installing a ceramic tile floor.

Although many of the general rules of installing tile apply to most any tile job, there are specific techniques that apply only to floors, and others that apply to countertops and walls - See our complete project planners for these.


Flash Player You should get Adobe Flash Player so you can view our video.

  1. Safety glasses or goggles should be worn whenever power tools are in use and when chiseling, sanding, scraping or hammering overhead. This is very important for anyone wearing contact lenses.
  2. Wear ear protectors when using noisy power tools. Some tools operate at noise levels that damage hearing.
  3. Be careful of loose hair and clothing so that it does not get caught in tools; roll your sleeves up and remove jewelry.
  4. The proper respirator or face mask should be worn when sanding, sawing or using substances with toxic fumes.
  5. Keep blades sharp. A dull blade requires excessive force and can slip which causes accidents.
  6. Always use the right tool for the job. Repair or discard tools with cracks in the wooden handles or chips in the metal parts.
  7. Don't drill, shape or saw anything that isn't firmly secured.
  8. Oily rags are spontaneously combustible, so take care when you store and discard them.
  9. Don't abuse your tools.
  10. Keep a First Aid Kit on hand.
  11. Do not work with tools when you are tired. That's when most accidents occur.
  12. Read the owner's manual for all tools and understand their proper usage.
  13. Keep tools out of the reach of small children.
  14. Unplug all power tools when changing settings or parts.

Most Common Mistakes:

  1. Not using the proper backing as a base for the tile or not sealing the joints of the backing or underlayment well.
  2. Not laying out the tile correctly, thereby ending up with very thin tiles on the ends of the rows.
  3. Poor alignment of tiles so the job looks sloppy and out of line.
  4. Not using water-proof mastic when applying tile in moisture conditions.
  5. Poor adhesion of tiles to the mastic so the tiles can move or pull out of place.
  6. Not applying silicone caulk around the edges where there is a lot of exposure to water like around the tub or shower where the floor meets the edges.
  7. Tiling around the toilet not under it.
  8. Not allowing mastic to dry long enough before applying the grout.
  9. Not wiping the grout off before it sets up, making it a much tougher job of scraping the grout off the face of the tile.
  10. Not sealing the grout with a silicone sealer a few days after the grout has had time to cure.
  11. Not laying tile over a smooth, stout floor.


When you order your tile, make sure you have accurate measurements of the space. A plan drawn out on graph paper can be very helpful. Order 5 - 8 percent more tile than you need to allow for cuts and damage. Often the color of glazing will vary from shipment to shipment so if you have to go back later to get more tile you may find that the tile does not match exactly.

You'll also need to select the grout you'll need. Grout comes in different colors. If you decide to use a colored grout, be sure that it won't stain the particular tile you've selected. A practical consideration for kitchens might be that a dark grout does not show dirt as easily as a white grout.

Got a New Project You're Proud of?

Post it on Your Projects!