How to Install Porcelain Tile Over a Concrete Floor

Laying porcelain tile on a concrete floor on your own is a job that requires planning and preparation.

Installing tile on your own is much less expensive than hiring a professional, and if you do it right, you can easily achieve the same professional results. In the end, your room will be transformed and you will have a durable and attractive tile floor. Porcelain tile comes in a wide range of colors and sizes. Floors can be done all one color, or you can use different colors to create your own patterns. You can also choose from a variety of grout colors.

Make sure that the concrete floor you wish to cover is level, sturdy and clean. There should be no defects in the concrete. If there are defects, patch or level these areas with a floor-leveling compound.

Measure the dimensions of your floor. Use the dimensions to help you estimate how many tiles you will need.

Snap chalk lines down the middle of the floor, in both directions, in order to find the center point of the room. This will also divide your floor into four quadrants.

Plan the tile layout by dry-laying the tiles on the floor. Start in the center of the floor, and work your way to the walls. Use spacers in between the tiles to account for concrete grouting. The ideal space between each tile is 1/16-inch.

Cut tiles to fit around corners, the perimeter of the room, and other structural elements, such as doorways. Use a wet saw with a diamond blade.

Lay your tiles starting in the center of the floor and working in one quadrant at a time. Work in small sections and take breaks as you go. Lay tiles using a thin-set mortar or ceramic tile adhesive and a notched trowel. Mix the mortar according the directions on the package. Lay tiles by applying roughened patches of mortar on the floor using the notched trowel. Set in each tile and press down on each tile to anchor it firmly into the mortar. Don't forget to use spacers again. Give the mortar or adhesive 24 hours to cure.

Use a grout bag, padded grout float or a squeegee to push grout into the spaces between each tile. As you go, wash grout from the surface of the tiles using a damp sponge. Keep the sponge as clean as possible. When done, do a final wash with a damp sponge to remove any grout film that was left behind. Allow the grout up to three days to cure before walking on the floor.

Allow the grout two weeks to completely cure, then add a silicone or water-based grout sealer to the grout lines using a small sponge brush.

Things You Will Need

  • Porcelain tiles
  • Tile spacers
  • Mortar or adhesive
  • Grout
  • Grout sealer
  • Small sponge brush
  • Notched trowel
  • Padded grout float
  • Wet saw
  • Diamond blade
  • Sponge
  • Chalk line


  • When cutting tile to fit near walls and around obstacles, remember the old saying: "Measure twice, cut once." This will avoid wasting time and tiles.


  • Always use eye protection (safety glasses or goggles) when cutting tiles.

About the Author

Mason Howard is an artist and writer in Minneapolis. Howard's work has been published in the "Creative Quarterly Journal of Art & Design" and "New American Paintings." He has also written for art exhibition catalogs and publications. Howard's recent writing includes covering popular culture, home improvement, cooking, health and fitness. He received his Master of Fine Arts from the University of Minnesota.