How to Install & Grout Tile
Things you’ll need to install & grout your tile:
- Thin set
- Grout in a color to match or go with the tile
- Diamond Blade Tile Saw (Don’t worry, you can rent one at Home Depot! – Click here)
- Thin set trowel
- Margin Trowel
- Grout float
- Cement Board
- Chalk Line
- Tile Spacers (size depending on how big you want the tile joints.)
By the way – like the tile in the pictures?? It’s from my newly installed tile hearth. I’m so drawn to the turquoise color. It goes great with my front door that I painted. For more on that, head over to my How to Create a Statement Front Door for your Personality post!
Since I write to share ideas & products that I love, naturally my content may contain affiliate links. For more information, check out my Affiliate Disclosure here.
Prep The Floor Space
- Before installing any tile, you’ll most likely need to tear up any floor that is currently there.
- If your surface is concrete, you can lay the tile directly onto the concrete. For any other type of floor (including subfloor) you’ll need to lay cement board down. You can do this by measuring out much you’ll need to cover the floor and screwing it in.
- It’s best to find the center of the room to lay your tile after the cement board is installed and work from there. Measure the center of the floor both width and depth. Snap a chalk line (or otherwise mark the floor) to indicatewhere center is.
- Mix up a bucket of thin set. (Just follow the directions on the bag… usually it’s mix with a certain amount of water.) You’ll want to use a 5-gallon bucket for this and be sure to clean it out as soon as you are finished with the tile install!
- Measure from the center of the room (you have this spot marked!) to the perimeter. You’ll know what size tile you are using and what size grout joints you’ll have (hint: it’s the size of the tile spacers.) Using basic math, you’ll be able to figure out the size that you’ll need to cut your end tile to.)
- Cut your end tile for this size using the Diamond Blade Wet Saw (we usually rent ours from Home Depot. Much cheaper!)
- Use a thin set trowel to coat a small section of the floor near the perimeter at the furthest part in the room(enough to install a tile or two.) Use firm pressure to push the first tile onto that end spot. (You’ll want to basically work your way out of the room since you won’t be able to walk on it.)
- Place a tile spacer in between each tile.
- Continue this process working your way out the exit of the room. Be sure to plan if you are staggering your tiles or if you want them in a straight checkerboard pattern.
- You’ll need to wait until the thin set is dry to install grout. Remove the tile spacers
- Mix up the grout – Add water and mix it with a margin trowel until it is about the consistency of mashed potatoes. You’ll only want to mix a small amount at a time (maybe the 1/4 of the size of a 5-gallon bucket) because grout only has a small working time (roughly 20 minutes.)
- Put a small amount of grout on your grout float. Turn the float on a 45 degree angle and run the float over the tile grout joints in an “s” pattern until the joints are full. I relate this to spreading icing on a cake(you know after you put all the icing on and you are just smoothing it over… am I the only one that does that??) Use a damp sponge to wipe off any excess grout. Stay away from the joints themselves- you don’t want to undo the hard work you just did!
- Continue this process until all grouting is complete. Allow grout to dry for 24 hours. Get a bucket of clean water and your sponge (cleaned!). Wipe the entire space down. Be sure to change the
water as it becomes dirty and rinse your sponge in the bucket after each wipe. This will remove the residue left
- from the grout installation.
- If you’re installing tile on the wall and it’s ending on a ‘non-corner’ you may need a transition piece. Check out my How to Create a Unique Wall Transition for Less than $40 post.
Enjoy the New Tile!
What’s your favorite way to install tile?