How to Lay Porcelain Tile on Concrete Floor

April 2024
Anton White

Learning how to lay porcelain tile on floor is a transformative project that can elevate any outdoor space, combining the durability of concrete with the aesthetic appeal of porcelain.

At Ovaeda, our years of expertise have shown us that while this task is entirely achievable for the enthusiastic DIYer, it requires careful preparation, the right materials, and a methodical approach to ensure longevity and a flawless finish.

This article will guide you through the essential steps, from preparing your concrete base and planning your layout to the final touches of grouting and sealing, ensuring your outdoor area not only looks fantastic but stands the test of time.

What this article covers:

Can You Install Porcelain Tiles Over Concrete?

Absolutely! From our experience, concrete provides a solid, stable base that works well with porcelain tiles. However, it's not as simple as slapping some tiles down and calling it a day. There's a bit of prep work involved to ensure your tiles stay put and look fabulous for years to come.

Why Do You Need To Prepare The Concrete Before Installing Tiles?

Imagine laying outdoor porcelain tiles on an uneven, dirty surface. Not ideal, right? Preparing the concrete ensures a smooth installation process and prevents future issues like cracking or lifting tiles. Trust us, a little prep goes a long way!

What To Consider Before Laying Porcelain Tiles On Concrete

Before you dive in, consider the condition of your concrete. Is it even? Are there any cracks or moisture issues? These factors can affect the longevity and appearance of your tiles. Also, think about the tile pattern and layout. A little planning can make a big difference in the final look.

How to Prepare a Concrete Floor for Porcelain Tiles

Step 1: Assess And Clean

Before anything else, a detailed examination of your concrete floor is essential. Look out for any signs of damage such as cracks, chips, or areas of unevenness.

These imperfections can affect the integrity of your tile installation, leading to potential issues down the line. Small cracks can be filled with a concrete repair compound, but larger issues may require more extensive repairs.

Once you've assessed the condition of your concrete, it's time for a thorough cleaning. This isn't just a quick sweep; you'll want to ensure all dirt, grease, and any coatings like old paint or sealant are completely removed.

A combination of sweeping, vacuuming, and washing with a degreasing agent is often effective. For stubborn stains or residues, a power washer or a specialised concrete cleaner may be necessary.

Step 2: Level The Surface

After cleaning, it's crucial to address any unevenness. You can check how level your ground is with a spirit level. Porcelain tiles need a flat surface to lie correctly; otherwise, you risk having tiles that are uneven or, worse, crack over time.

This is where a self-levelling compound comes into play. These compounds are designed to fill in low spots and create a perfectly smooth surface.

how to lay porcelain tile on concrete

Start by mixing the compound according to the manufacturer's instructions, then pour it onto the concrete. Using a spreader or a trowel, guide the compound across the surface, paying extra attention to dips and hollows.

The compound will naturally settle into a level state, but guiding it ensures full coverage. Allow the compound to dry completely, as per the product's guidelines, before moving on to the next step.

Step 3: Apply Primer

With your surface clean and level, the final preparatory step is to apply a primer. This might seem like an extra task, but it's a critical component of the preparation process.

Primer acts as a bonding agent between the concrete and the tile adhesive. It not only enhances adhesion but also helps to seal the concrete, preventing moisture from affecting the adhesive and tiles.

Select a primer that's compatible with both your concrete and the adhesive you'll be using. Apply the primer with a roller or brush, ensuring even coverage across the entire floor. Be sure to get into every nook and cranny for a uniform coat.

Once applied, give the primer enough time to dry thoroughly. The drying time can vary based on the product and environmental conditions, so refer to the primer's instructions for guidance.

How to Lay Porcelain Floor Tiles on Concrete

Step 1: Plan Your Layout

The first step in your tiling adventure is to plan your layout. Consider the most visually prominent areas and start there, ensuring those spots feature whole tiles for a seamless look. Also, think about the tile pattern you want to achieve and how it will fit within the dimensions of your space.

laying porcelain floor tiles on concrete

This foresight can prevent unnecessary tile cuts and ensure a professional-looking finish. It will also help you be prepared for any unforeseen challenges, like weather hiccups when laying porcelain slabs in winter. Remember, a well-thought-out plan is the foundation of a successful tiling job.

Remember, a well-thought-out plan is the foundation of a successful tiling job. This is true whether you're working with concrete or laying outdoor porcelain tiles on sand.

Step 2: Mix And Apply Adhesive

For outdoor applications, it's essential to choose an adhesive specifically formulated to withstand temperature fluctuations and moisture.

Once you've got your hands on the perfect adhesive, mix it according to the manufacturer's instructions until you achieve a smooth, lump-free consistency. Using a notched trowel, apply the adhesive to the concrete in small sections.

The notches on the trowel ensure you spread an even layer of adhesive, which is key to preventing tiles from shifting or cracking in the future.

Step 3: Cut Tiles As Needed

In almost every tiling project, you'll encounter areas that require custom-cut tiles. Whether it's around the edges, corners, or obstacles like pipes, a wet saw will be invaluable. This tool allows for precise cuts, ensuring your tiles fit perfectly without any unsightly gaps or chipping.

how to lay porcelain floor tiles on concrete

Take accurate measurements and mark your tiles before cutting, and always wear safety gear to protect yourself from tile shards and dust. Remember, patience and precision are key in this step to achieving a flawless finish.

Step 4: Grout And Seal

After allowing the adhesive to cure, it's time to grout the spaces between your tiles. Choose a grout that complements your tiles and is suitable for outdoor conditions. Using a grout float, work the grout into the gaps, ensuring they're filled.

Wipe away any excess grout with a damp sponge, being careful not to disturb the freshly filled joints. Once the grout has dried, sealing your tiles and grout lines is a wise move, especially outdoors.

A quality sealant will protect your tiles from stains, weather elements, and wear, keeping your outdoor space looking pristine for years to come.

How to Care for Porcelain Tiles After Installation

Caring for your newly installed outdoor porcelain tiles not only keeps them looking their best but also extends their lifespan, ensuring your outdoor space remains a point of pride for years to come.

installing porcelain tile on concrete slab

Here's a straightforward guide to maintaining your porcelain tiles:

  • Daily Sweeping: Begin with regular sweeping to remove dirt, leaves, and debris. This simple step prevents scratching and maintains the tiles' aesthetic appeal.
  • Weekly Mopping: Use a soft mop and a mild detergent mixed with warm water for a deeper clean. Ensure the detergent is pH-neutral to avoid damaging the tile surface.
  • Spot Cleaning: For spills or stains, act quickly with a damp cloth or sponge. For tougher stains, a solution of baking soda and water can be gently applied.
  • Avoid Harsh Chemicals: Steer clear of acidic or abrasive cleaners, which can etch or scratch the tile surface and degrade the grout.
  • Seal The Grout: Consider applying a grout sealer annually to protect against moisture and stains, keeping your outdoor area looking fresh and well-maintained.
  • Protect Against Furniture Scratches: Use protective pads under furniture legs to prevent scratches and scuffs on your tiles.
  • Regular Inspection: Periodically check for any loose or damaged tiles and address these issues promptly to maintain the integrity of your outdoor space.

By following these simple steps, you can ensure your porcelain tiles remain a durable and attractive feature of your outdoor living area.


Laying porcelain tiles on a concrete floor is a rewarding project that can significantly enhance the aesthetic and value of your outdoor space. Each of these steps, from filling in cracks to ensuring a flat, primed surface, is crucial for the longevity and appearance of your porcelain tiles.

porcelain paving

For those ready to embark on this transformative journey, Ovaeda offers a wide range of high-quality porcelain tiles perfect for any outdoor setting. Explore our collection today and take the first step towards your dream outdoor oasis.

How to Lay Porcelain Tile on Concrete Floor (FAQs)

Can I use underfloor heating with my concrete slab and porcelain tiles?

You can if you’re using your porcelain tiles indoors. However, if you’re using them outdoors for a patio or pathway, then it’s not possible.

Do I need to use an anti-fracture mat?

While not always necessary, an anti-fracture mat can provide an extra layer of protection against cracks transferring from the concrete to your tiles.

Can I immediately tile a new concrete floor?

Patience is key here. Allow new concrete to cure for at least 28 days before tiling to prevent moisture issues.

Do I need to prime my concrete?

Absolutely. Priming the concrete ensures better adhesion and a smoother installation process.

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