Installing Ceramic Tile on Metal Surfaces

Ceramic tile on the floor.
  • 144-200 hours
  • Intermediate
  • 100-130
What You'll Need
Ceramic tile
Fortified thinset
Tile spacers
Grout float
Tile and grout sealer

As long as you have a rigid hard substrate, installing ceramic tile on metal surfaces is no different than installing it on concrete. Using a fortified thinset adhesive will do the trick plus eliminate any need for a concrete backerboard. It is a fairly easy do-it-yourself job that can be accomplished successfully following some simple to use instructions. Adding ceramic tile to a metal floor can produce a greater control for creating a decorative design that will enhance the beauty of your home while increasing its value.

Step 1 - Select Your Tile

The amount of ceramic tile available in today’s building construction industry is staggering, sometimes overwhelming. There’s not enough time to examine all that is available. Write down the name and manufacturer of each tile you like making sure they are available locally. Once you’ve narrowed your search down to a number that can easily be handled, make a visit to the home improvement center or building supply store where these are available. Check the tile out in person. If possible, buy a single sample tile of each you like and bring them home to eye them in the environment where you will install the ceramic tile floor.

Step 2 - Measure Carefully

Take accurate measurements of the square footage in the area where you will install the ceramic tile floor. Use these measurements with the help of your home improvement center or building supply store professional to determine the supplies required to get the job done successfully. Always allow about a 10 to 15 percent overrun for mistakes and unforeseen needs for extra material.

Step 3 - Clean the Area

Make sure the entire metal surface is clean from any dirt, oil, grease, and other residue. The tile adhesive will not bond properly unless the surface area is perfectly clean.

Step 4 - Apply Adhesive

Working in 15 square foot segments, apply adhesive to the metal surface area using a trowel. Spread enough in your segmented work area that will allow you to finish that spot in less than 10 minutes. Place the tile into the adhesive using firm exertion in a circular type motion to ensure a proper bond. Place spacers to create a straight grout line. Allow for a 24-hour dry time.

Step 5 - Grout the Surface

After proper drying time, remove the spacers. Mix the grout in a 5-gallon container to the consistency of peanut butter. Using a grout float spread the grout forcing it into the grout lines from varying angles. The grout also needs a curing time of 24 hours.

Step 6 - Seal the Floor

Allow the grout 24 hours to set before walking on it. Then wait a total of 72 hours before applying a high quality penetrating sealer to complete the project.