How to Install Floor Tiles

Are you tired of always having to call on someone every time you need some flooring Sacramento done around your house? Well, if you’ve got a few hours to spare this weekend, you can follow our easy guide on how to install tiles, DIY style, based on tips and tricks learned from expert contractors with years of experience. Plus, you’ll get to enjoy bragging for completing a DIY tile installation project all by yourself.

Important Terms

Okay, first things first, you need to acquaint yourself with the terminology that’s used in describing certain aspects of tile work, such as:

Cut: This refers to trimming the tiles so that they’re able to fit neatly when placed against the wall or any surface that you’ll be placing them on.

Grout: This is a sealant that’s made by mixing cement, sand, and water.

Jolly Trim: You use this material to finish off the edges and corners so that your work looks neat when you’re done.  

Screed: This tool is used to flatten the concrete and mortar prior to drying it.

Square to: This means laying a tile in a parallel direction to what’s being referred to.

Thinset: This is the mortar used when setting the tiles.


Plan the Tile Placement

Identify the wall or surface on which you’ll be fitting the tiles and start planning the layout. You may want to align a certain pattern in a straight line or create a centerpiece for a particular fixture. Whatever your plan, leave room for some creativity and if you’re working with a diagonally shaped or otherwise unconventional wall, opt to place the tiles on the most prominent spot in the room so that it stands out.


Next, you have to plan for transitions, which refer to the tiles placed at the end of a wall or at the edge of a corner. You can either polish them to create a finished boundary, trim them with some jolly trim, or use the bullnose pieces which are often included in most tilesets.

Preparing the Floor

Prepare your floor joists for the added weight of the tiles that you’ll be installing by embedding thinset on top of a ½-inch cement board, which should then be placed atop a ¾ inch of plywood. A crack isolation membrane will also help to soften the impact of regular traffic on the floors while maintaining the hardwood flooring Sacramento quality for longer.

Extra Tips

-Level the floor well before using a baseboard-style trim piece.
-Only grout once the thinset has finished curing.
-While the grout is curing, only use water to clean the tile.
-Use a sealant to seal light-colored grout for easier maintenance and cleaning.
-Make sure to use a flexible sealant like caulk or 100% silicone in place of grout when installing a tile in a frequently used surface like a bathtub or kitchen counter.
-Set the tile on cement board instead of drywall to prevent it from getting it wet.