Introduction: How to Lay Tile

Hiring someone to lay tile in your home can cost upwards of $3,000 just for labor.  After a quick trip to a local hardware store, you can do it yourself in just one weekend.  Last week I had the opportunity to help my brother-in-law tile the bathroom in his new home.  I was amazed by how easy it was to lay tile.  By following these quick steps, you can also lay tile on your own and save on labor costs.  

Tools you will need:   pre-mixed concrete bags (amount depends on size of room), concrete mixer, hardy board, hardy board screws, tile, trowel, electric drill, 5 gallon bucket, grout float, and soft sponge.

Step 1: Secure Hardy Board to the Floor

Lay the hardy board on the floor, then secure it to the floor using the hardy board screws and the electric drill.  

Note:  Each screw should be about 10 inches apart.  

Step 2: Mix Concrete

Pour bag of pre-mixed concrete into the 5 gallon bucket.  Next, add water and mix using your electric mixer.  Continue mixing until concrete mixture thickens to a consistency similar to a chocolate malt. 

Note:  Follow directions on concrete bag to know how much water to add.

Step 3: Spread Concrete Over Hardy Board

Spread concrete mixture over hardy board using the trowel.  Make sure to spread a 1/4 inch thick layer evenly across the area, so the tiles lay evenly on the floor.  

Note:  Quickly move on to next step before the concrete hardens.  

Step 4: Lay Tile

Lay tile on top of concrete.  Make sure each tile is separated by a 1/4 inch space to leave room for the grout.  After each tile is set in place, put tile spacers down in between to make sure tiles maintain the 1/4 inch separation.  

Once you have laid all of the tiles, wait 24 hours for tile to set.  

Note:  Start from the back end of the room and work your way out, so you do not have to walk over any freshly laid tile.  

Step 5: Grout Tile

After 24 hours, remove spacers between the tile and make a new mix of concrete (see step 2).  Using the grout float spread concrete over the spacing between the tiles one row of tile at a time.  Once you have filled in all of the tiles on that row, clean off the tile surfaces with the soft sponge.  

Note:  When cleaning off tiles make sure to not interfere with grout in between tiles.  Also, remember to start from the end of the room and work your way out to avoid stepping on the tiles.  

Step 6: Wait 24 Hours

The final step is to wait at least 24 hours before walking on tiles.  You can lock the door to the room, or put up a sign alerting people to not enter.  After the 24 hour period, the concrete is set, and you can feel free to walk on and enjoy your new tile floor.