How to Tile a Concrete Floor

Concrete floors are the ideal surface to lay tile on.

Tiling a concrete floor is easy!Tiling a concrete floor is easy!
The surface is hard, flat and easy to clean. Tiling a concrete floor will leave a lasting impression in whatever room you choose to makeover.
Clean the concrete floor.

A concrete floor must be thoroughly cleaned before laying tile on top of it - any old paint, fillers, glues or sealants need to be removed prior to tile installation. Also be sure to remove any dust, mop the concrete floor with water and allow it to dry completely. If the concrete floor is smooth, treat it with an acid based solution to roughen it up before you lay tile on top of it.

Flatten the surface of the concrete floor.

Be sure to fill any holes and smooth out any bumps on the concrete floor before laying tile on top of it (use a floor patch and leveler compound from your local home improvement store). Use a leveler to ensure the surface is flat.

Dry-fit the floor tiles on the concrete floor.

Find the center of the concrete floor and 'dry fit' the tiles to see if the pattern ends similarly on the edges. Use a pencil to mark vertical and horizontal lines where appropriate. You want the tile size to be consistent as they approach each end point when laying tile on a concrete floor.

Apply the adhesive to the concrete floor.

Apply the tile adhesive with the notched trowel, starting in the middle of the concrete floor. Lay the tiles in the adhesive and place the spacers in-between each tile as you go. Be sure to give each tile a little twist to ensure a good bond with the adhesive. Cut the tiles as needed to fit on the ends. You can also use sandpaper to smooth out the tile edges if they are sharp after you cut them.

Let the tiles dry in the adhesive overnight.

Mix the grout.

Remove the tile spacers and mix the grout according to the manufacturer's directions.

Apply the grout to the concrete floor.

Using the rubber float, apply the grout to the tiles at a 45 degree angle. Wipe off excess grout with a wet sponge.

Wipe the haze off the floor tiles.

After about an hour, check for grout haze on the tiles and wipe them clean as needed.

Seal the edges with caulk.

Seal the edges with mildew resistant caulk if you are tiling on a floor that may get wet like the bathroom or kitchen.

See the Resources listed below for more tiling and home improvement ideas.

Things You Will Need

  • tiles and spacers
  • level
  • pencil
  • tile adhesive
  • floor patch and leveler compound
  • notched trowel
  • tile cutter
  • grout
  • rubber float
  • sponge
  • acid based solution for roughing up the concrete
  • knee pads

Tips

  • If the space between your tiles is wider than 1/8 inch, use sanded grout for a stronger hold. Otherwise you can use non-sanded grout.
  • Make sure you use a waterproof grout if you are tiling in an area that will get wet. Apply grout sealant as desired.

Warnings

  • Use rubber gloves when applying the adhesive and grout.
  • After cutting tiles, be sure to handle them carefully - their edges may be sharp.
  • Always wear goggles when cutting tile.