How to Install Tile on a Porch Floor

porch outside fireplace, barn wood ceiling, white porch columns, and gray floor tile

Our patio porch was an ongoing project for several years. In this post, I will share how we installed tile on our porch floor.

This is a picture of our porch floor before we installed the tile but after we laid the brick edging (brick roll lock). It was a cold day so we lit the fireplace for some warmth. Even Daisy helped!

Laying Out Tile

First, We laid out the tile and did a lot of measuring to determine where we wanted our middle row.

Our tiles are 12×24. We opted for a brick (staggered) pattern so I used a square to mark the middle of the first few tiles until our pattern was established as a result of using spacers.

Thin Set to Stick Tiles

We mixed the thin-set mortar in a Home Depot bucket using an electric drill and a paddle. Go, Neal, Go!

Knee pads are essential! Daisy liked chewing on our knee pads so we had to guard them from her.

Dog sitting by gel zone knee pads

We used our center line as our guide. There are several steps when installing the tile.

1.) Apply thin-set on the concrete floor using a trowel – – making even grooves in the thin-set. Be sure the thickness of your thin set is consistent; this will help level the tile.

2.) Place one tile at a time checking to be sure each tile is level after placement. Check to be sure the tile is level in all directions.

3.) Use spacers between each tile. The size of the spaces determines the width of your grout line.

Wiping Thin Set Off Each Tile

With a large sponge, we gently wiped down each tile after installing to remove the excess thin-set on the surface of the tile. In the picture below, you can see Neal checking levelness. He checked levelness vertically and horizontally.

We made slow but steady progress. You only have one opportunity to get this right, so DO NOT RUSH!

gray tile being installed on a porch floor with spacers inserted

Here is a closeup of how the thin-set looked after Neal applied using the trowel and created the grooves. Again, it is essential to get this consistent so the tile will lay flat and there are no air pockets under each tile.

gray tile being installed on a porch floor using thin set with spacers inserted

Slow, but steady progress . . .

gray tile being installed on a porch floor with spacers inserted

Using Spacers

Here is a close-up of the spacers. We used several spacers on all sides of each tile to ensure consistency of the future grout lines.

gray tile being installed on a porch floor with spacers inserted

Ensure Tiles are Level

gray tile being installed on a porch floor with spacers inserted and a red level

Checking level both ways.

man installing gray tile being installed on a porch floor with spacers inserted with red level

I followed behind Neal and wiped down all the tiles in each section. It is essential not to put your weight on each tile as you are wiping them down.

gray tile being installed on a porch floor with spacers inserted

Humm . . . somebody chewed up my gloves!

Remove Spacers After Thin Set Dries

This is a picture over 24 hours later after removing the spacers (before grout).

Cutting Tiles for Perimeter

Now came the tedious task of cutting the remaining pieces around the perimeter. We rented a tile saw from Home Depot.

We measured and used a square (ensuring straight lines) to determine where to cut each tile.

using square to draw a straight line on a piece of tile

The parts that have X will be cut and discarded.

tile with xed out places to cut

Neal carefully cut each tile with the wet saw.

Here you can see some of the cut tiles.

gray tile being installed on a porch floor around column with spacers inserted

Click HERE to learn how we installed our brick roll lock on our porch.

And here are more cut tiles.

The picture below shows all the installed tiles before the grout.

Grouting Tile

So now it is time to add grout. We used polyblend sanded grout (see picture below).

We spread the grout over the tile using a rubber grout float.

I followed behind Neal wiping the access mortar off the tiles. It is important not to wipe too hard initially so as not to wipe out the mortar. Wipe light initially and then when the mortar begins to dry, you can wipe the tiles again.

We continued by adding grout and wiping down a section at a time.

We filled in all the crevices, including where it bordered the brick roll lock.

Final Touchup/Cleaning Tile

The next day, we mopped a final time to remove any remaining mortar from the tile surface.

Here is a closeup next to the brick.

To see our total porch renovation from start to finish, click HERE.

Porch transformation

For other blog posts related to our porch renovation, check out the links below:

Don’t forget to Pin this for future reference.

Pinterest Pin How to Install Tile on Porch Floor

Thanks for reading our blog!

Let us what you think or if you have questions about installing tile on a porch floor by commenting below.

14 Comments

  1. Brenda on 08/01/2019 at 4:27 PM

    Where did you buy this tile? What is the pattern name?

    • Suzanne on 08/01/2019 at 8:00 PM

      Hey Brenda,
      We purchased the tile from South Eastern Salvage. It is a dark gray. I don’t remember the specific name of the tile. It was discounted, but we were delighted to get this at quite a discount!
      Thanks for reading our blog!
      Suzanne

      • Karen on 06/05/2020 at 7:26 AM

        Is it a porcelain tile? Looks great! Considering tiling our front porch, but ceramic would not hold up.

        • Suzanne on 06/05/2020 at 1:33 PM

          Hey Karen,

          Yes, this is porcelain tile. Porcelain is much better than ceramic for outside areas. I hope this helps.

          Let me know how your porch tiling project goes.

          Suzanne

  2. Vivian on 08/01/2019 at 7:40 PM

    Really pretty! Great blog.

  3. Beverly on 08/04/2019 at 9:53 PM

    Where do you start with the fist tile?

    • Suzanne on 08/04/2019 at 9:57 PM

      Hey Beverly,
      We started with the first tile in the center after carefully measuring. We painstakingly laid out the tile to calculate where to place the center tile. I hope this helps!
      Suzanne

  4. Pat Hodge on 08/09/2019 at 3:46 PM

    I continue to be amazed at the two of you. I love everything about the porch, but my favorites are the fireplace, the floor, and the ceiling. I guess that includes almost everything. Beautifully done.

    • Suzanne on 08/10/2019 at 7:06 AM

      Pat,
      Thanks so much for your affirming words! We learned a lot through the process and are now trying to decide our next fall project! Stay tuned!
      Suzanne

  5. How to Install Simulated Stone on 08/13/2019 at 8:10 PM

    […] HERE to learn how we installed our tile floor on our […]

  6. Kay on 09/01/2019 at 11:03 PM

    Love everything about your porch! Does the tile have to be special for outdoors?

    • Suzanne on 09/02/2019 at 1:25 PM

      Hey Kay,

      Thank you for reading our blog and posting a question. Yes, the tile is frost proof to be able to handle cold temperatures. We also used ceramic tile, which is better for outside. I hope this helps!

      Thanks again for reading our blog!

      Suzanne

  7. Brandi on 09/14/2019 at 3:03 PM

    I’ve tried to find more info on how to do this! We recently built a new home and the builder did a horrible job on the cement of our back porch. I was trying to figure out how I could “cover” it. We live in Colorado though with extreme temperatures….how can I make this work? I saw you used a frost proof tile (which I’ve never heard of before) I’m thinking that might be too slick for our kids. I’d love to do a brick floor…do you think that will work? Thanks for your thoughts! 🙂

    • Suzanne on 09/15/2019 at 1:42 PM

      Hey Brandi,

      Thank you so much for reading our blog and for posting this detailed comment and question.

      I think you could do a brick floor. Brick and/or brick pavers can tolerate all weather conditions. They also have texture to prevent slipping as you mention. We actually used brick pavers on our backyard patio two houses ago and they worked great! However, we did not install them over concrete. We created a base of gravel and then filled in with sand between the pavers after they were installed.

      I did a little research on YouTube (we do tons of research before beginning a project) and YES, there are several examples of people installing brick over concrete. Like us, they used sand, which helps to level them (especially if your patio is uneven). Also, pay attention to the height. For example, is there a door leading to this area and thus the brick and/or brick pavers would raise the height of the porch. It is details like this that also need to be thought through.

      If you decide to move forward, please keep me posted on how it goes.

      Thanks again for reading our blog!

      Suzanne

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