How to install porcelain floor tiles


Porcelain floor tiles are a very popular choice when it comes to homes, they offer a modern stone look adding that stylish appeal to any room. To get the most out of your porcelain tiles they must be correctly installed to avoid any issues which may occur further on down the line.

You can of course always contact a professional tiler to help with your porcelain tiling or you can tile yourself. This blog is for those willing to give it a try –

What you will require:

Tile cutter
Grout Float
Tile adhesive/grout
Measuring tape
Notched trowel
Spirit level
Rubber mallet
Safety gear (gloves & goggles)

*every home project is different – this is only a rough guide on what you need, you may require more depending on the project.

First we need to prep, ensuring the subfloor is clean and there is plenty of space.

Plan, plan, plan!! – Set out the exact position of your tiles.

When floor tiling it is recommended that you use a cement based flexible tile adhesives.

You will need to use a notched trowel to spread the adhesive on to your floor, you must ensure there is a full amount of adhesive behind the tile.

Making sure the surface is ready to tile –
Make sure the surface is level and dry
There is no dust or dirt
No movement

It is important not to tile directly on to your floorboards, instead you should overboard with plywood or tile backing boards. Making sure that the floorboards are screwed down properly into the joists.

For plywood you will need:
18mm WBP plywood
Screw into the floorboards at 200mm centres

For tile backing boards:
6mm cement backer boards
Foam backer boards for floors with electric underfloor heating.

*overboard your current floorboards

We never advise tiling directly on to existing tiles, but if you choose to do so you must ensure that they are fully bonded to the original substrate.

Decoupling membranes / anti fracture mats

These help prevent the risk of your tiles cracking by absorbing the lateral movement in the floor below.

Self levellers are simple to pour and mix, they leave you with a smoother level surface. Self leveller is recommended with underfloor heating as it can help to cover electric cables.

Priming is always an important process before we begin tiling this increases the strength of the adhesive bond.

Now for the tiling!

It is recommended to begin by working on small sections around 1 m2. Starting from the centre of the room and working out towards each wall.

You should apply adhesive to the floor using the trowel.
Ensure a full bed behind each tile.
Place your tile onto the adhesive.
Place the next tile in the same way inserting spacers into the gap – these will be grouted over.
When you reach the wall you will then have to cut the tile.

For cutting porcelain tiles you will need a high quality tile cutter!

Grouting is the next step, this prevents moisture and dirt getting behind the tiles. When mixing grout simply add water and mix.
To apply the grout:
Add grout to the grout float
Run the grout across the surface of your tiles
Push the grout into the gaps
Remove any excess grout

When the joints have all been filled it’s now time to clean, this can be done with a washboy set. (don’t use too much pressure).