Instructions for Tiling Concrete Steps

concrete steps in a garden
  • 8-24 hours
  • Intermediate
  • 70-600
What You'll Need
Work gloves
Safety goggles
Tile cutter
Grout spacers
Grout spreader or float

Concrete steps tend to look drab and grey and not very attractive. If you want to turn your old concrete steps into something more modern looking and exciting, you can put tile over them. Here are some instructions on how to the job:

Step 1 – Preparation

Set out all your materials and put on your safety goggles and work gloves.

Step 2 – Clean off the Concrete Steps

It’s very important for the steps to be clean and free from any debris before you begin to install your tile. Use the broom to sweep all the dirt or debris from all the stairs and then wash them off with water from the hose. The concrete has to be dry before continuing to the next step.

Step 3 – Make Sure Steps Are Level

Before you begin, the steps must be level or the tiles won’t sit properly. Use your level to see if any areas need to be filled in with mortar to even them out. To get the mortar ready for this, just mix it with less water than you would normally use. This way it will smooth out thicker and harden into a useable surface. If you have to lay down this mortar layer, then let the concrete steps dry before continuing.

Step 4 – Mix up the Regular Mortar

Mix the mortar per the manufacturer’s directions this time. Use the trowel and spread out a thin layer of the mortar on the concrete steps. Only use as much as you need for each tile, as it dries fast and you don’t want it to dry before you are ready to place down a tile.

Step 5 – Placing Down the Tiles

One thing to remember is when you buy the tiles; make sure they are the proper kind of tiles for using outdoors. Tiles meant for indoor use will not work when tiling concrete stairs outdoors. Place a tile over the mortar and push it down until it sits flat against the stairs. Put grout spacers in-between each tile to leave areas for the grout to be added later. If needed, use the tile cutter to cut any tiles to the proper size. After you have put down all the tiles, let the mortar dry and then remove the grout spacers.

Step 6 – Adding in the Grout

Mix up your grout according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Mix what you need all at once so the grout all dries the same color, as it’s possible another batch will turn out a slightly different color. Spread the grout over the tiles and inside the spaces left by the grout spacers. Smooth it out and wipe off any extra grout. After it dries, you can use a wet cloth or sponge to clean off any remaining grout.

Step 7 – Finishing Touches

When the grout dries a second time, there may be a sort of film covering the tiles. If so, use a cloth to clean it off and shine up the tiles. You are now finished laying down the tiles on your concrete steps.