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How to Stick Floor Tiles to Masonite

Tim Anderson

Whether you have just moved into a previously-owned home and want to improve it or if you simply find yourself looking for a change of scenery in your current home, new tile installations can liven up any home or office building. Given the various underlayments on the market today, it is necessary to understand how to install tile over different materials. Some materials, such as masonite or fiberboards, require specific products be used to adjust to this type of substrate versus concrete-based underlayments.

  1. Sweep the area completely clean of debris prior to the installation. This will ensure that there are no particles on the surface that can mar the integrity of the installation. While it is optional, you can also vacuum and/or mop the surface of the area prior to installation.

  2. Spread an even layer of thinset onto the masonite in the area where you are installing the tile using your notched trowel. (Thinset is an adhesive mortar made of cement, fine sand and a water-retaining agent.) Avoid spreading too large of an area to start with until you are familiar with how quickly you can install the tiles, otherwise you run the risk of your thinset setting up (hardening) before you get to it. An area large enough for two or three tiles should be sufficient.

  3. Place a piece of tile into the desired location. Apply firm but gentle pressure to the tile and move it slightly in all directions to ensure the bond between the masonite and the tile itself. Once the bond is set you can move the tile to its final resting place.

  4. Repeat the process in Step 3 for every tile, using tile spacers between the tiles to keep an even spacing for the grout joints.