Installation of floor tiles using Cement Mortar

The author of this blog is Venu, a trained and certified home inspector working at HomeInspeKtor. You can get in touch with him here.

For proper installation of floor tiles, following steps are generally recommended:

Surface Preparation and Bull Marks

Clean the floor from dust and debris. This would ensure proper bonding of tiles with the cement mortar. Place the bull marks or the button marks at minimum intervals, up to the required floor level (excluding the tile thickness) so as to ensure cement mortar is laid up to the bull level.

Preparation of Mix (Cement Mortar)

Using sand, cement and water, prepare cement mortar of appropriate ratio; 1:3 cement-sand mix is usually recommended for tiling (vitrified, ceramic or Italian marble) . Proportions for mixing to be taken by a measuring box, and prepare the mix in limited quantities, so as to ensure that the whole mortar is consumed within one hour post mixing.

Laying of Cement Mortar

When the mortar is ready, begin working from one side of the floor. Wet the surface and spread the mixture on the floor and use a trowel to obtain an even layer of mortar against bull marks laid. Suggest to work in small areas, to keep the mortar from drying before the tile is laid in its position.

Note: Thickness of cement mortar should not exceed the limit.

Placing of tiles

Before the tile installation, please read the manufacturer’s instructions/manuals for proper installation guidelines. Soak the tiles in water, if suggested by the manufacturer. Pour cement slurry before placing the tile on the cement mortar and use a trowel to create friction grooves, for proper bonding between the mortar and the tile. Place the tiles as per design and in level using a soft mallet or vibrator, comparing it against the adjacent tiles or required floor levels. Also, ensure that there are no voids/air pockets after levelling the tile. If this is done properly, will prevent hollowness in tiles which is a common observation during the tile laying. Simultaneously, the alignment of the tiles should be done by the use of specified spacers.


Allow the laid tiles to cure, up to the specified time (generally, a week or so) based on the type of materials used. Curing is usually done by sprinkling water on the tile joints to ensure sufficient strength and bonding of cement mortar.

Tile Wash

To maintain tile’s original finish at the end of this exercise, tile wash is recommended. Usually tile wash is carried out using appropriate cleaners, as specified by the tile manufacturer; acid wash is generally done to clean out the dirt and stains on the tiles.

Application of grout 

Grout is available in a variety of colours and types. Pick a colour that matches the colour of the tile and mix it to form a thick paste; mixing to be done as specified by the tile manufacturer. Use a trowel or float to spread the grout across the tiles at an angle, to fix it between the tile joints. When the grout is in place, wipe away the excess grout with a sponge or cloth, and allow it to dry for a while.. After this, deep cleaning of the entire floor is done to get the smooth floor finish.

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