Laying Ceramic Floor Tiles

Ceramic floor tiles are an ideal floor covering for both kitchens or bathrooms and can also be used in conservatories and high traffic areas like hallways. There are also a few benefits of having ceramic tiles, they are easy to clean and they are very durable.

So in this post you may have guessed I am going to go over how to lay ceramic floor tiles.

DIY Tools you will need for laying floor tiles

  • Notched Trowel or Spreader
  • Tile Cutter or Diamond wheel cutter
  • Grout Spreader
  • Spirit Level

DIY Materials you will need for laying floor tiles

  • Floor Tile Adhesive
  • The Floor Tiles
  • Plastic Tile Spacers
  • A Damp Sponge
  • Floor Tile Grout
  • Flexible Sealant
    • Buying floor tiles

      Tiles are sold in packs and the size of the tiles and the number of tiles in a pack will determine the surface area that the tiles will cover.
      DIY Focus tip – work out the area of floor and round up to get the correct number of tiles to cover the area

      Preparing floor for tiling

      Ceramic tiles can be laid directly on a concrete floor as long as it is level. To lay tiles on a wooden floor the wooden floor must be strengthened with 13mm thick plywood. For the best results choose a tile adhesive that is suited to the surface that you are laying the tiles on.

      Positioning the tiles

      The first tile determines the position of all the other tiles so it is key that this tile is positioned correctly. Don't start by laying tiles up against a wall the best option is to start laying tiles in the centre of the room and work your way towards the edges. This will help to ensure that your design remains symmetrical.

      Positioning the first tile

      Find the centre of the room and lay out a dry row of tiles towards the edge make sure that you don't have thin piece of tile at the edge as this will look strange up beside the skirting board. Repeat in the opposite direction until you are happy with the edges. You are now ready to start tiling.

      Laying the floor tiles

      Starting in the centre of the room pour out enough adhesive to cover roughly a square meter of floor. Spread the adhesive using a notched trowel or spreader. Place the key tile in position give it a wiggle to ensure that it sticks in place. Fit a plastic tile spacer at the edge of the tile and move onto the next tile. It is always a good plan to have a spirit level handy as the last thing you want is an uneven surface.

      Repeat this process until you reach the edge of the room where you need to cut and lay the edge tiles. Using the damp sponge wipe down the tiles to remove any excess adhesive.

      Check you don't have a collection of adhesive at the edges and leave the tiles for 24 hours before tiling the edges.

      Laying the edge tiles

      measure up the edge tiles and mark with chalk where you need to cut the tile, using your tile cutter cut the tile just short of the line to allow space for grout and sealant. Lay the edge tiles on top of some fresh adhesive and leave for 24 hours.

      Grouting the floor tiles

      Once you are sure that the tile adhesive has set mix up the tile grout into a paste following the instructions, spread the grout over the tiles using a grout spreader. Once the grout begins to set use a striking tool to compact the grout, wipe the floor down with a damp cloth and seal the edges with the sealant to ensure the tiles are waterproof.

      I hope you have found this guide to laying ceramic floor tiles useful, as ever if you have any tips or questions please do not hesitate to comment below.


tiling on top of floor tiles

hi looking for a bit of advice can i tile straight on top of my existing kitchen floor tiles many thanks charlie

Tiling Advice

Hi Charlie

I would not recommend tiling on top of floor tiles, ideally you should lift the tiles and start tiling on a solid base.

DIY Daddy - DIY Focus Admin

Hi, A friend of mine has


A friend of mine has laid ceramic tiles in my kitchen. A few have loosened and when I lifted the loose tile I discovered that they were laid directly onto a wooden floor. Is there any way I can short this problem without lifting all the tiles?



Tiles Laid on Wooden Floor

Hi Fiona

Are they laid on ply wood? if so this may not be an issue. If they are laid on top of a normal wooden floor that is uneven you may have to lift the floor tiles.

Let me know and I'll try to help.

DIY Daddy - DIY Focus Admin

Laying Ceramic Tiles

I have just taken up old lino tiles in the kitchen which were fixed with a black bitumen type adhesive. A thin but sound layer of this is left on the concrete floor. It seems an almost impossible job to remove this layer. Is it ok to lay ceramic tyles on this and if so what is the best type of adhsive to use.

Many thanks

Laying Ceramic Floor Tiles

Hi Glenn

Laying on top of a thin layer of adhesive should be fine, follow the manufacturers guidelines or get basic floor tile adhesive for ceramic floor tiles. You can get ready mixed or mix your own, I would recommend the ready mixed easy and not nearly as messy.

DIY Daddy - DIY Focus Admin

Hi, I want to have ceramic


I want to have ceramic tiles in my kitchen, only the floor is half concrete half floorboards (these flex a lot). I understand that I should lay a hardwood surface down first, only this would then be much higher than my living room floor and would mean stepping up into the kitchen. Is there anything else I can use instead?

Ceramic Tiles a step up

You can get very thin plywood to use as a base, the key is to make sure that you have a flat and firm base to tile upon.

DIY Daddy - DIY Focus Admin

floor tiles or skirting

which are laid first the skirting board or the floor tiles? I have recently had a conservatory built and I'm getting different views as to which comes first. Does it matter is it important?

Tiles or Skirting

Hi Dave

The only time I would recommend having skirting laid after floor tiles would be when using laminate. Otherwise I would have the skirting in place before tiling.

DIY Daddy - DIY Focus Admin

I had a carpet glued to a

I had a carpet glued to a concrete floor. We have removed the carpet but a small amount of the adhesive remains - can I tile on top of this directly or does the adhesive have to be removed first?

If it does any tips on how to remove the adhesive?



Tiling on adhesive

Hi Nick if it is only a small amount I would not worry about it. Try to remove most of the glue using a scraper and if there is glue left you can use lighter fluid if it is a solvent. If it is hardened sometimes a heat gun can help.

DIY Daddy - DIY Focus Admin

How long before they set?


Im just about to start laying ceramic floor tiles onto a concrete floor.
Im using a fast set (3hr) adhesive that takes 24hr to fully dry.
Ive got 19m2 to do and it will take me 'many' nights to complete,
so the kitchen will be in constant use.

What would you suggest should be the minimum time I keep the wife
and kids off the freshly laid tiles.


Keep off the kitchen tiles

I would recommend that you try to keep everyone off the tiles for as long as possible, take your family out for dinner or get a take out.
Or even better farm the kids out to a relative any have an evening out with the wife.

If you really can't avoid it leave at least five hours before using the kitchen. Good luck with the tiling.

DIY Daddy - DIY Focus Admin

floor tiles in the garage

I have recently had a new garage/gym built 27 m squared. I have been offered some porcelean 600mm by 600mm tiles at a very good price. Now i have a concrete floor slightly uneven. This becomes a bit more obvious when laying big tiles. Any tips? as car will occasionally be parked in the garage. I am worried about cracking them. I know that i will have to fill more adhesive in places but just wondering if any further tips for 600 by 600 tiles. Any help is very much appreciated.



Tiling in the Garage

Hi Asif

If the floor is only slightly uneven you will more than likely get away with filling the gaps. If the floor is very uneven I would consider resurfacing the garage floor.

DIY Daddy - DIY Focus Admin

laying ceramic tiles

Can I lay ceramic tiles directly on top of self adhesive tiles?

laying tiles

Hi Adele

I would not recommend laying ceramic floor tiles on top of self adhesive tiles ideally you want a flat and solid base to work on. You should strip away the adhesive tiles from the floor before you begin laying your new floor tiles.

DIY Daddy - DIY Focus Admin

floor tiles

I have just taken up old lino tiles but it has left a black patch on floor on concrete.

Can I lay new tiles on top.

help thanks. Phyl

Floor Tiling

Hi Phyl

I hope you are well, if the black patch has not damaged the concrete and the floor is solid I see no problem in laying tiles on top of it. The black patch could have come from a leak under the lino at some point. As long as you have a solid base to work on your tiling project should be fine.

DIY Daddy - DIY Focus Admin

Tiling on Plywood

Hi Dave

For ceramic floor tiles you could potentially lay them directly on the plywood, ensure that you have a firm and level base to start tiling on. I tiled a bathroom floor in my old flat that also had PLY as standard throughout the flat and it was fine.

DIY Daddy - DIY Focus Admin

Ceramic Bathroom Floor


Useful information regarding plywood subflooring, thanks.

I'm about to relocate a bathroom suite, replumb water, drains and radiators - then lay a ceramic tile floor on a wooden base.

Any advice regarding how long to wait to test that the plumbing is leak free? I fear a leak once the last tile is laid!



Bathroom Tiling

Hi Mike

I'm glad that you found our guide useful, a leak after laying the tiles would be a nightmare I would normally suggest a week or normal use. Just be careful of spills etc when you get out of the shower / bath.

Good Luck with the project.

DIY Daddy - DIY Focus Admin

Floor tiling

I have a plywood flooring as standard through the house. Would I need to lay anything down prior to tiling.

Tiling on Wooden Floor

Hi Peter

You basically have to lay a sub floor on top of the existing wooden floor. You can use ply or hardboard, I would suggest using a thick ply if you are laying hard floor tiles. Starting with a flat surface is essential for tiling a floor and as long as you have a flat and solid base you should be fine.

DIY Daddy - DIY Focus Admin

I have a wooden floor and have bought ceramic tiles


I have a wooden floor and have bought ceramic tiles. someone tells me the tiles wont hold coz the wooden floor vibrates as it is flexible so this will cause tiles to crack.

any suggestions?

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