How to Tile a Basement Floor

You can turn a cold, unattractive concrete basement floor into one that is usable, easy to clean, attractive, and may even be soundproof by tiling it. Tiling is fast, simple, and requires so little experience that even a beginner can do it successfully in just 2 or 3 days. All you need is to follow the 6 steps below.

Prepare your Floor

If you have a concrete floor, seal it and let the sealer dry.
Sweep the finished floor so that all dust and debris are removed
Check to be sure there are no protrusions such as nail or screw heads on the floor's surface.
Find the center of the room and mark it.
Use a chalk line to create a grid with squares 1/8 inch larger than the tiles you have chosen to install.

Mix and Apply Mortar

In a deep bucket, mix thin-set mortar mix and water, stirring until the mix has the consistency of mashed potatoes.
Spread the mortar, using a trowel with 1/4 inch notches.
Using the same trowel, spread a small amount of mortar on the back of the first tile you will lay in place.
Lay the tile in the center of the floor, back 1/8 inches from the gridline you made with your chalk.
Using 1/8 inch spacers, apply mortar to the backs of 3 more tiles and set them so that the 4 tiles form a square in the center of the room with 1/8 inch spaces between each of the tiles.

Finish Laying the Tile

As you did with the first square of tiles, continue laying these squares, beginning in the center of the floor and working outward toward the perimeter.
When you reach each edge you will need to use your wet saw to cut tiles to fit between the wall and the outermost tile.
If any thin-set has oozed up from the tile edges, use a wet sponge to remove it.

Remove Spacers

Allow the tiles and mortar to set overnight, then use your pliers to extract the spacers from between the tiles, being careful to avoid loosening any of the tiles. Use a putty knife to remove any thin-set that remains between the tiles.

Mix and Apply Grout

Make individual small batches of grout by mixing the dry grout with water and blending the mixture until all lumps are gone.
When mixed properly, the grout should have a consistency similar to that the mortar had.
Force the grout into the joints between the tiles, using your rubber-edged trowel.
After applying each batch of grout, let it sit for 10 minutes while setting up.
Use your damp sponge to wipe away any excess grout.
Rinse the grout out of the sponge after each swipe.

Wipe and Seal the Tile Floor

Allow the grout to harden overnight.
Wipe the tile surfaces with a damp rag, let the tile dry, then use a mop to apply your sealer.