How to Install a Porcelain Tile Floor Part 1

A person installs porcelain tile floor.
  • 4-6 hours
  • Intermediate
  • 800-1,000
What You'll Need
Porcelain tile
Tape measure
Chalk line
Wet saw
Grout float
Tile spacers
Cement board

Installing a porcelain tile floor is a project that many do-it-yourselfers are qualified to take on. However, in order to complete this project, you are going to have to learn how the process works. Here is the beginning of the process of installing a porcelain tile floor. (This is Part 1 of a 3 part series. To move ahead to Part 2, click here.)

Step 1 - Measure the Space

Start out the process by measuring the area that you plan on installing porcelain tile in. You will need to use your tape measure to get the dimensions of the room. Once you have the length and the width of the room, you need to multiply the two numbers together in order to get the square footage of the room. Once you have the square footage, you should add approximately 10% to that number to allow for cuts and waste. This figure represents how much tile you need to purchase for the job. When you purchase the tile, you will also need to round up to the nearest box size.

Step 2 - Empty the Room

In order to start the installation process, you will need to empty out the room. Move all of the furniture and personal belongings out of the space.

Step 3 - Remove the Baseboards

If you have quarter round or baseboards around the perimeter of the room, you should take them off of the wall. This will allow you to reset the baseboards on top of the tile once you are completed and it will provide you with a finished look.

Step 4 - Remove the Flooring

If you have carpet, vinyl, hardwood, laminate, or any other type of flooring in the room, you will need to make sure that you remove it before getting started. After you take out the old flooring, make sure that you sweep out the room so that it will be nice and clean for installation. You want to make sure that there is no debris or dirt in the way when you start laying tile.

Step 5 - Install Cement Board

If you have a wood subfloor, you will need to install cement board before you can lay tile. If you have a concrete subfloor, you can skip this step. To install the cement board, you need first apply thinset to the floor and then lay the cement board into it. You will also need to put screws in each of the holes in the cement board with a drill.

Step 6 - Lay Out the Tile

Before you actually install the tile, you should lay it out on to the floor without any adhesive. This will allow you to see how the floor will look once you are done. Generally, you will want to start in the center of the room and work towards the wall. You can mark the center of the room with a chalk line and start from there. Every room is different and you may have to slightly adjust the starting point away from the center. You should shift the layout over a bit if it will help you minimize cuts along the wall. You also want to avoid making tiny cuts on a piece of tile in order to finish a row. If possible, you want to be able to use larger pieces along the wall.