Laying Ceramic Tile Over Tongue and Groove Flooring

  • 4-8 hours
  • Intermediate
  • 250-500
What You'll Need
Cement backerboard
Backerboard screws
Floor grade tile
Leveling compound
Drill with mixing paddle
Several 5-gallon buckets

Laying ceramic tile over floor with tongue and groove boarding is not a difficult job when equipped with the right tools and adequate knowledge. Follow some helpful directions and you’ll be most successful in this project.

Step 1 – Determine Amount of Material
Take careful measurements of the room where you wish to install the ceramic tile. Use these measurements to calculate the amount of materials needed. Consult with your local home improvement or building supply store to find the correct amount of material needed for the project.

Step 2 – Prep the Room
Clear the entire room including any wall decorations to provide added safety. Take off all baseboards. Undercut all door jambs (the frame where the door closes) so you can install a backerboard and tile beneath the door jamb providing a cleaner, professional look. Make sure to sweep the floor clean of any debris.

Step 3 - Pour Cement

Mix a 50lb bag of thinset with water in a 5-gallon bucket using a drill with a mixing paddle to a peanut butter-like consistency.

Step 4 – Spread Thinset Layer
Working in a 15 square foot area, apply a layer of thinset over the tongue and groove floor using a trowel. A 50lb bag will cover 75 to 80 square feet using a trowel. Lay a sheet of backerboard over the thinset screwing it to the floor. Keep the backerboard level while allowing drying for 24 hours.

Step 5 – Check Screw Level

Make sure all screws are level with the backerboard surface before you install the tile. If screw heads protrude above the backerboard surface cracks will occur.

Step 6 – More Thinset

Mix another 50lb bag of thinset in another 5-gallon bucket. Start laying tile at a point that is across from a doorway that will be where you end up. Let it sit for 24 hours.

Step 7 – Grout
Once dry, begin the grout installation by mixing the grout in a 5-gallon bucket, again, looking for the consistency of peanut butter. Spread the grout using a grout float over the tile forcing it into the grout lines. Use a spreading application from many directions and angles to make sure all the spaces are filled. Hold the grout float at a 45-degree angle to the floor while applying.

Step 8 – Apply Sealer
Allow at least 24 hours before walking on the newly laid ceramic floor. Wait up to 72 hours for the floor to “settle” before applying your penetrating sealer so you allow ample curing time for the grout.

Things to Remember

You can find helpful tile installation instruction classes offered at your local home improvement center.

Use a 1/4 X 1/4 X 3/8 inch trowel when installing 12-inch tile.

Use a 1/2 X 1/2 X 1/2 inch trowel When installing 16 inch tile or larger.

Larger tiles require double the amount of thinset.

Never breathe cement dust and mix outdoors when possible.