Like HowStuffWorks on Facebook!

How to Lay Ceramic Tile


Replacing your floor tiles gives your home an instant facelift. Laying ceramic tiles is easier and cheaper than you think. Just follow the steps listed below to give your home a new, fresh look.

  1. Remove your old flooring.
  2. Check that the floor is even, smoothing it out if necessary.
  3. Measure the room. Measure the length of the room and record the measurement. Now measure the room's width and record the measurement. Multiply the two measurements to calculate the room's square footage [source: Build Direct].
  4. Choose tiles. Take the measurements to your hardware store and choose your new tiles. It's important to remember that larger tiles crack more easily. If you're planning on putting heavy furniture on top of the tiles, it's best to choose smaller ones [source: Carter].
  5. Allow your tiles to adjust to the temperature of the room you're working in. Once your tiles have arrived, let them simply sit and either expand or contract, depending on the climate. This will save you time and money in the future.
  6. Find the room's center point. Using a measuring tape, find the center of the room. Mark the center point with chalk. Divide the room into quadrants, marking each quadrant with chalk. This will make the space more manageable.
  7. Lay the tiles down. Lay the first tile down in the corner of one quadrant, touching the center point. Working toward one wall, lay down more tiles, forming a row. Leave a small space between each tile. Lay down the next row of tiles, working from the wall toward the center point. Repeat this process until the entire quadrant is done.
  8. Measure and cut tiles to fit. You will have to measure and cut tiles to fit along the walls and in the corners. Cut the tiles using a tile cutter.
  9. Fill in the other quadrants using the method outlined above [source: Build Direct].

Once all the tiles have been laid, you'll be ready to begin grouting.


More to Explore