How to Install Ceramic Tile on a Garage Floor


Garage floors are generally one of the most neglected and overlooked parts of any home. A typical garage floor is plain gray concrete, oftentimes stained and grungy. But if you invest a weekend and some elbow grease, you can transform your garage floor into a thing of beauty with ceramic tile.

Things You'll Need

  • Shop vacuum
  • Concrete cleaner
  • Tile underlayment
  • Thin set mortar
  • Ceramic tile
  • Grout
  • Margin trowel
  • Notch trowel
  • Grout float
  • Plastic bucket
  • Tile cutting saw

Tiling your Garage Floor

  • Clean the garage floor. Use a shop vacuum to pick up any loose material. If you have any serious oil stains, use a concrete cleaner to remove as much as possible. The garage floor doesn't need to be spotless, but you want to make sure it is free of any debris or contamination that is going to keep the thin set mortar from bonding with it.

  • Mix your mortar. In a plastic bucket mix your mortar with water. You want to achieve a thick mixture; a dollop held sideways on your margin trowel should maintain its form and not sag or run.

  • Apply the tile underlayment. Spread your mortar on the garage floor with a notch trowel and set the tile underlayment on top of it. Follow the manufacturer's instructions regarding the size of notch trowel to use for the mortar application.

    A tile underlayment will create a free floating, consistent surface for the ceramic tile to lay upon. In a garage application, tile underlayment will alleviate any problems that might arise from cracks in the concrete or expansion joints.

  • Use your notch trowel to begin spreading the mortar over the underlayment. You don't have to wait for the tile underlayment application to dry. Use the appropriate depth notch trowel for the size of tile you are working with.

    A notch trowel has a smooth side and end, and a notched side and end. Use the smooth side to spread a generous amount of mortar; then use the notched side to distribute the proper amount. A notch trowel is designed so that, when it is held at a 45-degree angle to the working surface, it leaves just the right amount of mortar. When you are finished spreading the mortar with the notched trowel, you will be left with a grooved mortar bed.

    When you are tiling, spread enough mortar to lay down a few tiles at a time.

  • Set your tile in the mortar. Use some pressure and wiggle the tile around to squeeze out any air pockets and to ensure a good bond.

  • Grout the installation. Once you have the tile set, let the installation dry for 24 hours. Then mix your grout. Mixed grout should have a consistency similar to that of cake batter.

  • Use a grout float to spread the grout over the tile surface. Push the grout down into the joints between each tile. After you've grouted, you can use the side of the grout float like a squeegee to remove excess grout left on the tile surface.

  • Use a moist sponge to clean the entire surface. The sponge will remove any excess grout residue, and it will also smooth out the grout in between the tiles. You will need to rinse the surface down with a sponge at least twice, and perhaps more depending on the type of tile you are using and the amount of residual grout.

Tips & Warnings

  • Once the grout has dried for 24 hours, you have the option of sealing it. A grout sealer will help prevent staining and will make your grout easier to clean.

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  • Photo Credit Hemera Technologies/ Images
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