How to Tile a Floor

Tiling a floor comes with loads of benefits. Tiles are easier to keep clean than wood or carpet and are more substantial than linoleum. They can really brighten up a space, too, with plenty of patterns, colours, and finishes available.

It’s common to tile bathrooms and kitchens, but conservatories, entryways and even living spaces can also be tiled. While tiles may take a bit of work to install, they’re simple to DIY and just need mopping or vacuuming when they need a freshen-up.

If you have existing tiles on your floor, you will need a tile remover. One of these can also remove sheet vinyl, linoleum, cork, or bonded carpet. So, if you’re having difficulty bringing up your old flooring, it can really come in handy. Read our blog on how to remove a tiled floor.


What you need to tile a floor

You will need the materials for tiling, and safety and PPE wear.

Safety Equipment:

  • Safety goggles
  • Protective gloves


  • Tile Cutter
  • Tile adhesive
  • Tape measure
  • Masking tape
  • Chalk line
  • Trowel
  • Notch spreader
  • Spirit level
  • Damp sponge or cloth
  • Tile spacers
  • Rubber mallet
  • Grout
  • Sealant

If you will also need to cut tiles to shape around a bathroom sink or toilet, you may want a handheld tile cutter too. The large tile saw above will give you straight cuts or cuts at a 45-degree angle in an instant, and the handheld one allows you to be more delicate.


Before you begin

Always read the instructions for the tools and equipment you need before you begin any DIY task. When you hire any tools from Speedy, they will come with instructions. Read through this pack before you start the job.

When tiling, you should also read the instructions for the adhesive before preparing your room. Depending on the type you need, they may vary from brand to brand. The type of adhesive required will depend on your type of tile, tile material and the floor surface you’re fixing them to.


How to lay floor tiles

Step 1: Find the centre of the room

Find the exact centre of your room. This will be where the first tile is placed. Use your tape measure and chalk line here.

You may also want to apply masking tape around the skirting boards of your room to protect them from any adhesive and sealant, as well as around any appliances or plumbing.


Step 2: Apply tile adhesive

Use a gauging trowel to apply the adhesive to the floor, and the notched trowel to spread it out.

  • SPEEDY TOP TIP: Never apply more than 1m2 of adhesive to any wall or floor at one time. This way, the adhesive won’t dry before you’ve applied further tiles

The smooth side of the trowel is good for spreading, and the notched edge is good for forming ridges or grout lines in the adhesive. This way, it will have an even depth right through, creating a level surface.


Step 3: Place the first tile

When the adhesive is ready, apply the first tile. Use a slight twisting action to get the tile bedded right into the adhesive.

Repeat with the next tile. Remember to work towards the edge of the room. Use tile spacers in between every tile to ensure the spacing is even throughout the room.

Push the tile spacers down into the adhesive, enough so they will be hidden by grout but not too much as you still need to use them as a guide.


Step 4: Continue & check

Continue laying the tiles, but after every few tiles have been placed, check they are level with your spirit level. If not, use your rubber mallet to gently push and tap the tile down.

If there is any adhesive pushed up when this happens, wipe it away with your damp cloth. Always remove excess adhesive and sealant when it's wet, as it is hard to do this when dry.


Step 5: Lay the edge tiles

Use your tile cutter to get any final tiles to the right size. You may also need to shape some to go around a sink, toilet, or other feature.


  • SPEEDY TOP TIP: Don’t know which size to cut them to? Lay the tile that needs to be cut on top of the nearest tile to the wall, then lay another tile on top. Position some tile spacers flat against the wall and push the top tile to the wall. Use a tile marker to mark the tile below.


Step 6: Wait for it to set

Your particular adhesive should tell you how long you need to wait in order for the tiles to be set. But a good guide is 24-48 hours. Don’t stand on the tiles in this time, and don’t get them wet.


Step 7: Grout

Once the adhesive has set, you can grout. Check two things: your grout is suitable for your tiles, and you have enough.

Remove dust and debris from the tiles using a dustpan and brush or handheld vacuum (but be gentle). Check all tile spacers are below the height of the tiles.

Use a gouging trowel to grout in between the tiles, wiping away excess as you go along. Leave the grout to dry before allowing water contact. You will also need to seal around the edges, in a colour which matches the grout preferably.




Thank you for reading our Speedy Hire blog, we hope you found this guide on how to tile a floor useful.

If you’re also going to be tiling your walls, the method will differ a little, so read our How to Tile a Wall blog. You can also read some tips on how to makeover your kitchen on a budget.

Plus, we have plenty more tips and how-to guides, please visit our Skills and Projects page.

You’ll find all the power tools and hire equipment you need right here, why not start planning your next DIY project today and open a Speedy account online or visit us in-store for all your tool hire needs?

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