How to Install Tile

Make sure your next tiling job goes off without a hitch with our informative project guides. We'll explain how to cut backerboard, install different types of tiles, finish the job with grout, and much more.

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Not too long ago, setting tile was beyond the skills and abilities of most homeowners. Ceramic tiles were soaked in water overnight and set in thick mortar. But with the introduction of thinset adhesives and backerboard, installation of ceramic tile moved well within the reach of any do-it-yourselfer. The same holds true for other kinds of tile. Techniques for setting parquet, resilient tile, carpet, cork, and laminates are simple and easy to learn.

This section walks you through a number of tile installation projects, such as installing backerboard, cutting tile, and marking layout lines. Our expert advice, tips, and tricks will ensure your next tiling project is a success.

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Practice Makes Perfect

If you are starting a ceramic project for the first time, practice each step before applying it to your floor, wall, or countertop. Create a practice station with a couple of pieces of backerboard. Mix and spread a small amount of mortar, set the tile, cut a few tiles for the edges in your mock-up, then grout and clean it. If your results don't satisfy you, pull up the installation or start a new one and try again.

Project Planning Tips

If you're tiling a floor, you'll discover that it's easier to lay the field tiles and come back the next day to lay the cut tiles on the edges. That way you won't have to walk on freshly laid tile and risk dislodging it, and you can measure the edges precisely and cut tiles to fit. You will also save money on rental tools by limiting all the cutting to one day.

If your tool box does not include tile installation tools, purchase the best you can afford. Most tools have many applications, and you'll use them for years to come. Gather all tools and materials ahead of time, think through the installation steps before you start, and take your time.

How to Install New Backerboard

For long-lasting tile applications, backerboard is key. The thin material is made from concrete and fiberglass mesh, and it creates a durable surface on which to lay tile. Since backerboard must be installed with its edges centered on joists and studs, you'll need to cut it to get the perfect fit. This section shows you how. 

How to Mark Layout Lines

To lay square, evenly spaced tiles, you'll need to mark accurate layout lines. With the help of a chalk line, you can measure and snap both vertical and horizontal lines. Then, when you go to place the tiles, you'll have a clear guide to follow. This tutorial shows you the best way to mark layout lines, while also offering expert tips and tricks.  

How to Cut and Install Ceramic Tile

Cutting and installing ceramic tile requires skill and patience, but it's still within the realm of most homeowners. The key is to practice. Make a few cuts with extra tiles to get a feel for the saw, and check that the surface is properly prepped before laying out tile. We'll explain these steps (plus many more!) in our guides for cutting and installing ceramic tile. 

How to Install Mosaic Tile

Mosaic tile used to take forever to apply as each tiny piece had to be individually applied. But with the introduction of mosaic tile sheets the process has sped up considerably. This tutorial walks you through applying adhesive, setting the tiles, and finishing them with grout. 

How to Install Stone Tile

Stone tile is one of the most difficult to install. Its brittle surface makes it subject to fractures, and its natural quality means each tile is slightly different. Nevertheless, stone tile is a beautiful addition to any floor or wet room. We'll show you how to carefully install stone tile in our how-to. 

How to Grout, Caulk, and Seal Tile

Once you've set tile, it's time to move on to grouting, caulking, and sealing. These important tasks will help protect the tile from water damage while  prolonging the life of your project. When grouting, caulking, and sealing tile, it's important not to rush the job. You need to allow adequate time to get both the look you desire and for the products to properly do their job. Learn how to grout, caulk, and seal tile here. 

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