How to Lay Tile: A Beginner’s Guide

Homeowners are constantly looking for simple ways to add to their home’s value and beauty. One of the easiest and quickest ways to do so is to install tile flooring in bathrooms or kitchens. Many homeowners see installing tile floor as a job that is too complicated for them. In most cases this is simply not true. Laying tile is fairly simple and you can maximize your return on investment if you do the job yourself. On a scale of 1 to 10, where 10 is something extremely difficult like building an addition and 1 is something simple like hanging a picture, laying tile is about a 3 or 4. It is a fairly simple project and this guide will give you a much better understanding of how to lay tile.

The first step of how to lay tile is to measure the area where the tile will be installed. Once you know how much tile you will need, you’re ready to buy it. You can check online and at local home improvement stores to find the best prices. You will also need to buy some kind of backer board (usually cement), a trowel, grout, spacers, and mortar.

The next thing to do, especially when you are just learning how to lay tile, is to measure and cut a piece of backer board to fit in the area and test the fit prior to mixing any mortar. This is crucial as you don’t want any mortar to dry if the backer board doesn’t fit.

Next, you’ll want to place a thin layer of mortar over the area to be tiled and let it dry. Then, place a layer of mortar and use the notched side of the trowel to create ridges and place the backer board over the ridged mortar and stand on it to press it into place. Now use some roofing nails or cement-board screws to secure the backer board.

How to Lay Tile

The next step of how to lay tile is to create straight reference lines using a square or other straight edge. Then place a thin layer of mortar on a section of the backer board, make sure to not cover up reference lines. Use the notched side of the trowel to create ridges so you can press down the tile into the mortar later. Place tiles onto the mortar using spacers. The spacers will create space between the tiles where you will later place grout.

Once you have all tiles placed, wait for the mortar to dry, around 1 hour depending on how much mortar you used. You can use a screwdriver or razor blade to scrape away mortar that creeps up above the tiles as it dries.

After the mortar has dried and excess has been scraped off, you’re ready to apply grout to the tiles. Once the grout has been applied and excess grout removed, you’re done. Now you know how to lay tile.