10 Tips and Tricks for DIY Tile Installation

Tile and tools

If you don’t want to shell out the extra cash to have your new tile professionally installed, consider taking it on as a DIY project! Today, we’ll be sharing ten tips and tricks that will help you through the tile installation process.

1. Plan the Project in Advance

Installing tile isn’t a one-day project. Not only will you need to pull up any existing flooring and install the tile, but you’ll also have to allow sufficient time for the mortar to set and grout to dry. Once installation is complete, you’ll typically need to wait 24 hours before walking on your new flooring.

Aside from the time aspect of planning, you’ll also want to figure out how much tile you’ll need and the layout you’d like to use before jumping into installation.

2. Order More Tile Than You Need

Shopping cart 

It’s always smart to order at least 10% more tile than you need to fill the space. Sometimes, tile can crack during shipping, so you’ll want to have some extra in case that happens. You’ll often need to cut tile to size in order for it to fit perfectly, and this will result in some material loss as well.

3. Even Out the Subfloor

Remove any remaining tile with a chisel and use a floor scraper to scrape away the old mortar. Be sure to wear a safety mask and eye protection and have plenty of ventilation while you do this as it’s likely to get very dusty! Then, use a leveling compound to make the subfloor completely even.

4. Don’t Overmix Your Thinset Mortar

Follow the manufacturer’s instructions exactly when mixing your thinset, or choose a pre-mixed variety. Don’t overmix it! This can change the mortar’s air content and make it less effective.

5. Install One or Two Tiles at a Time

Thinset dries quickly, so start by applying enough for one or two tiles using a notched trowel. Lay down your first tile and work it back and forth to make sure it adheres to the mortar. Always use a level to check that all of your tiles are level with each other and adjust them with a rubber mallet if needed.

6. Don’t Skip the Tile Spacers

Tile spacers 

Tile spacers can be a pain to work with sometimes, but they’re worth it. They ensure that all of your tiles are perfectly spaced and the grout channel between them is the right size. Just make sure to avoid mortaring them into the joints!

7. Keep a Sponge and Bucket of Water Nearby

If any mortar squeezes up and out of the tiles, it’s crucial to clean it up immediately. Once it dries, it’ll be much more difficult to do so. Keeping a bucket of water and sponge handy makes this simple.

8. Be Careful When Cutting Tile

Once you get to the edges of the room, you’ll likely need to cut some tile to fit. Exercise plenty of caution when doing this. Wear safety glasses and take your time when using a tile cutter or tile saw. Handle cut tiles carefully as they’ll be sharp, and don’t apply the thinset until the tile is cut and ready to go. Otherwise, it’ll dry before you’re ready to place the tile.

9. Don’t Forget to Prepare Before Applying Grout

When all of the tile is in place, remove the spacers, being sure not to leave any tiny pieces behind. Clean all dried mortar off of the tile.

10. Use the Right Grouting Technique


Just like the thinset mortar, you’ll want to either get pre-mixed grout or mix it by following the manufacturer’s instructions. Use a grout float to apply the grout and press it into the gaps between the tiles. Fill these spaces thoroughly, and then use your grout float held diagonally to remove as much excess as you can (without removing it from the seams).

Once you’ve finished grouting, use a bucket of water and a grout sponge to smooth the seams between tiles and remove the grout from the surface of the tile. Move the sponge at an angle so that you don’t remove too much grout, and don’t apply a lot of pressure. Continue to dunk and wring out your sponge as you wipe the tile and repeat the process until no grout remains on the surface.

Find Your Ideal Tile at Tilezz.com!

Here at Tilezz.com, we have a massive selection of tile options to fit everyone’s preferences and styles. From porcelain and ceramic to natural stone and glass in all shapes and sizes, we’re sure you’ll find exactly what you’re looking for. Plus, we guarantee fast delivery, insured shipments, and easy returns with every order. Click here to peruse our selection, or check out our blog for more tile tips and design inspiration.

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