How to Install Ceramic Tile on a Ceiling

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One way to add value to your home while updating its decor is by installing ceramic tiles on the ceiling of your bathroom, particularly in the shower area. Done properly, this will prevent moisture from damaging the original ceiling and provide a luxurious look. The average do-it-yourselfer can handle this project over the course of a few afternoons.

Things You'll Need

  • Underlayment Drill Screws Ceramic tile Plastic spacers Thin-set mortar Notched trowel Painter's tape Tile cutter Grout Rubber float Waterproof caulking Scrap 2x4s
  • Install a waterproof underlayment as your surface to adhere the tiles to. The underlayment, as opposed to standard drywall, keeps moisture from seeping behind and into the framework. Countersink the screws just below the surface to each corner and sides of the underlayment by following the manufacturer's instructions.

  • Draw a straight line across the middle of the width of the ceiling as a starting point. Laying tiles from the center and moving outward ensures each end will have the same size tiles that need to be cut.

  • Spread a small amount of thin-set mortar onto an area of the underlayment with a notched trowel. Apply only enough for a handful of tiles as the mortar can dry quickly and become brittle.

  • Apply a small amount of thin-set to the back of the ceramic tiles, then gently twist the tiles onto the underlayment. Separate the tiles with plastic spacers that are at least an eighth-inch wide.

  • Continue applying thin-set, tiles and plastic spacers until your are finished with your first row. Be aware that tiles on each end may need to be cut with a tile cutter to fit into place. You can rent a tile cutter from your local hardware store. Add a few strips of painter's tape across each row of tiles to help hold them in place.

  • Use a few pieces of scrap 2x4s to install a temporary "T" support. Lay one scrap piece flat along the row of ceramic tiles. Prop a longer piece perpendicular to the floor to hold the small piece along the tiles in place. Use a few shims at the bottom to ensure a tight fit.

  • Repeat Steps 4-6 until your desired working area is coverered. Leave your "T" supports in place for at least 24 hours to allow the ceramic tiles to set.

  • Remove the supports, tape and plastic spacers and apply grout with a rubber float in between the nooks and crannies of each tile. Wipe away excess grout with a dampened sponge and clean water.

  • Seal the outermost edge of the tiles with a waterproof caulking. Also apply caulking with a caulking gun along the walls and in the corners. This prevents any moisture from seeping under the tiles.

Tips & Warnings

  • Remove any furniture in your way and use drop cloths to protect your working area. Thin-set mortar and grout can scratch unprotected surfaces.

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