Prepping for Tile

Our last two “big” projects before we can move in are to tile and install wood floors. We need something pretty to walk on:) Sunday was our first shot at tiling and it went relatively well. Our goal was to get the half bath and laundry room done but didn’t quite reach our goal. It was tougher manual labor than what we anticipated and took us awhile to figure out the easiest way to install the cement board. The actual tile installation itself was a breeze compared to the cement board install that happens first. You have to spread mortar, cut and screw in the cement board and then tile over that. It didn’t sound bad to us, but man was it work. The cement board is a beast. It is actual cement {which I stupidly didn’t know} so it’s heavy and hard to cut through. I’ll share some tips on how we finally got through it below. Here are the steps we used:

Step 1: Mix the mortar. We used an attachment to a drill to mix the water and mortar.

mixing mortarStep 2-spread it on the floor. It has to set for about 10 minutes and then you spread it with a trowel. I got some blisters from this so I would recommend gloves:)

spreading concrete board mortarStep 3: Then you cut the cement board to size. We first cut with a utility knife which was tough. There is mesh in the board so we decided a saw would be easier and it was:) I would definitely recommend some sort of small saw to make this job easier.

mike cutting concrete boardStep 4-screw it in. Lay it over the mortar and screw it in with about a hundred screws. Make sure you use a good drill! Mike started off with one drill and was really frustrated with how difficult it was so he switched to another one and it was much better.

screwing in concrete boardsStep 6-lay tile. Start by snapping a chalk line through the center of the room. We wanted the transition from the kitchen to the laundry to be our main focal point so we started our tile there.

tile chalk lineNext, mix more mortar, spread it on the tile and lay them in place. We bought an inexpensive tile saw which worked great. Simply mark the size of your cut and roll the wheel blade over the tile.

cutting laundry tileI usually rolled it twice to get a good line and then you simply press it down and it snaps a perfectly smooth and straight line. We used our Dremel SawMax to cut any notches out and that worked really well too. I would say both are less expensive than a wet saw and very easy to use.

snapping tileHere is where we ended over the weekend. We got the half bath complete and started on the laundry room.

laundry tile


half bath tile

I think we spent close to 4 hours installing the cement board and about 1 1/2 hours on tile. Mike got the cement board in the other bathrooms installed this week so we are ready to simply lay tile this weekend. We will go back and grout once all the tile is in. We would love to get most of the tile done this weekend so we can start on wood next week! Have you ever installed cement board before? Anyone else hate that job? If you need to loose 5 pounds quickly, come over and help at our house;) We may both need new, smaller clothes after all this hard work!



  1. […] them. The most time-consuming part is cutting the tiles when you get to a wall. {You can read more here about how the process went}. I would recommend knee pads and gloves for tiling projects. When you […]

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