How to Install Tile Around a Doorway

Installing tile around a doorway does not take an extensive amount of skill or knowledge.

Preparing for Tile

Install Tile Around a Doorway
It can be done by one person, but is much easier if you have a helper. From start to finish the tile can be laid in less than 3 days. Even if you have never laid tile before, this guide will show you step-by-step, from start to finish, how to install tile and make it look as if a professional laid if for you. .

When laying tile around a doorway you need to remove the door casing on both sides of the door. It is not necessary to remove the trim from above the door. The door casing is the trim that goes around the frame. To keep from tearing your wall paper or paint use a box knife to cut the caulking. Most trim, but not all, is caulked to the wall.

After you have cut through the caulking, use a flat bar to pry with and a hammer to lightly tap on the pry bar to remove the trim. Once the trim is removed use your pliers to pull the nails from the back side of the trim board. If the nails are large you can lay the trim board across a step, and from the back side, use a hammer to drive the nails out. Lay the trim boards aside for reinstallation.

You will also need to remove the baseboards on each side of the door. These are located at the floor. Use your box knife to cut any caulking and repeat the removal process with your hammer and flat bar. Take out the nails and set the baseboards aside for reinstalling.

If you are laying tile around a doorway that has carpeting, the carpet will have to be removed. It is entirely up to you how large an area you want to tile. The average single family home will have 2 to 4 rows of tile, and be approximately 40 inches wide. Measure 7 1/2 inches from the outside edge of the threshold on both sides of the doorway and place a piece of tape on the carpet exactly where your measurement ends. Do this on both sides of the door.

You will need to decide on the size of tile that you plan to purchase. The photo is showing 16 inch tiles. You can also choose 4 inch or 8 inch floor tiles. If you choose a smaller tile then you will need more rows. Continue to measure out from the door into the room until you have reached the desired length from the doorway. You can also use a marker to mark the measurements instead of tape.

Place your straight edge on the line you have marked and use the box knife to cut along the straight edge through the carpet and carpet pad. Cut the carpet pad back an extra 3/4 inch from under the carpet. Make sure to put on saftey glasses and leather gloves before cutting the tac strip. Measure the length and the width of your space and cut the carpet tac with your hack saw. Metal carpet tac has holes in it for drilling. Lay the carpet tac under the edge of the carpet back to the pad. Mark the holes with a pencil. Place the concrete drill bit in the hammer drill and drill the holes where you marked them. You will drill down a little past the length of the screw anchors. Place an anchor in each hole that you drilled and lay the tac strip over the anchors. Using your drill, install the screws that came with the anchors to hold the strips in place.

Laying the Tile

Now that you have prepared the area it is time to lay the tile. Measure the width of the doorway. The average doorway is 32 inches. Mark a line in the center of the doorway at 16 inches on the threshold with a piece of tape. This is the exact center of the doorway and will make your tile flow evenly from the door into the house.

In one of your 5 gallon buckets add about 3 inches of water. Place the mixer on your drill and start adding a little bit at a time of the thinset to the water in the bucket. Using the drill, mix the thinset. Add enough thinset to the water until it becomes a little thicker than pudding. Using your tile trowel and starting at the doorway, scoop thinset onto the floor and spread it evenly with the toothed edge. Spread only enough to lay one row at a time. Lay a tile on each side of the line you marked on the threshold and place a tile spacer at each corner between the two tile. The tiles should be exactly even with each other.

Continue to spread the thinset and lay the tile using your spacers to keep them even until you have filled the area. Ley the tile as close to the carpet and tac strip as possible. After you are finished laying the tile, take your putty knife and tuck the edge of the carpet down between the tile and tac strip. Wash out your bucket and rinse off your tile tools.

Allow your tile to dry overnight, and do not walk on it. Remove your spacers before grouting. In your 1 gallon bucket add about one inch of water. Add to the water a small amount of grout at a time until you have the consistency of pudding. Using your float scoop grout onto the tile and spread the grout evenly with the edge of the float dragging it towards you. Do only a couple of rows at a time to allow for washing as you go. Fill up your 5 gallon bucket with water. Using your tile sponge, dip it in the water and wring it out. You need to keep the sponge flat on the floor when washing the tile to avoid dragging the grout out of the spaces between the tile. Rinse the sponge frequently.

Now that you have completed grouting and washing the floor, allow to dry overnight before walking on it. Your final step is to reinstall the trim boards. It is possible that the trim boards around the door may need to be cut off. Hold the boards in place to see if they fit. If not, measure the length and trim accordingly. Using a compressor and finish nailer, nail your trim boards and baseboards back into place. Recaulk and you are done.

Things You Will Need

  • Box knife
  • Hammer
  • Flatbar
  • Pliers
  • Tape measure
  • Painters tape or masking tape
  • Straight edge
  • Leather gloves
  • Metal carpet tack strip
  • Hammer drill
  • 3/16 concrete drill bit
  • 3/16 inch plastic anchors and screws
  • Hack saw with blade for cutting metal
  • Tile trowel
  • 5 gallon bucket and 1 gallon bucket
  • Pencil
  • Safety glasses
  • Thinset
  • Drill
  • Mixer
  • Tile
  • Tile spacers
  • Putty knife
  • Grout
  • Float
  • Tile sponge
  • Hand saw or skill saw
  • Compressor
  • Finish nailer
  • Caulking
  • Caulking gun


  • It seems as if there are a lot of steps but the preparation really does not take that long. It is best to lay out your tile first. Using the spacers, lay a row of tile and make sure that it ends up even on both sides when you reach the carpet. You should not have to cut any tiles. You can also use speed set for laying the tile. Speedset sets up in two hours allowing you to grout it the same day.

About the Author

Based in Oklahoma City, Debbie Tolle has been working in the home-improvement industry since 2001 and writing since 1998. Tolle holds a Master of Science in psychology from Eastern Illinois University and is also a Cisco-certified network associate (CCNA) and a Microsoft-certified systems engineer (MCSE).