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Can You Install Porcelain Tile Over Concrete? (How To)

If you are considering doing some upgrades to your home, installing porcelain tile may be on your agenda. Is this something you can do if you have a concrete subfloor?

Porcelain can be installed over a concrete floor if you prepare the concrete properly. This includes cleaning and leveling the subfloor. Once the porcelain is down, it will last for many years if the preparation was done the right way.

Handyman working on the porcelain tiles

Porcelain is an excellent choice for tile in the home. Although ceramic tends to be easier to install and work with, porcelain has its benefits as well.

This includes the beauty of porcelain, which is unmatched by many other types of tile. You certainly do have a lot of different options and if you have the DIY skills, there’s no reason to avoid installing it.

Can You Install Porcelain Tile Over Concrete?

Before we start to talk about the process of installing porcelain tile over concrete, let’s take a moment to consider safety.

Safety glasses, all-purpose gloves, and an N95 respirator are important if you are doing this type of work around the home. Porcelain can shatter and the small pieces can cause damage, so make sure you suit up with PPE in advance.

You should also wear hearing protection if you are using a power saw or if you are working with heavy acoustics.

Should You Install Porcelain Tile Over Concrete?

Handyman working on the porcelain tiles

Concrete makes an excellent choice for a subfloor under porcelain tile. Is it also a good idea and should you install porcelain tile over concrete?

The best reason to install porcelain tiles over concrete is because those tiles are beautiful. Rather than having a plain concrete subfloor, you can install tile that will change the look of the room and create any type of living space you desire.

Of course, you can also do plenty with a concrete subfloor as far as staining or painting, but installing tile makes it much more livable. Here are some other benefits to installing porcelain tile over concrete that you should consider.

Health – One of the most understated benefits of installing porcelain tile over concrete is the air quality and health of the home. The tile will help to keep the dust and other issues down in the house if it is cleaned regularly.

Maintenance – As far as the maintenance of porcelain tile is concerned, it is extremely low. All that is generally necessary is to run the dust mop over it on a daily basis and to wet mop it on occasion.

Traffic – If you are installing tile in a high-traffic area of the home, porcelain is an excellent choice. Concrete can also stand up to a lot of traffic but when you install porcelain over concrete, you get a high traffic option that is beautiful.

Options – There are so many different options available with porcelain tile, it can sometimes be difficult to choose the one that is best for you. Different colors and designs make it possible for you to change the look of the room in any way you like.

If that is enough to convince you that installing porcelain over tile is a good idea, let’s move forward and talk about some of the things you should do to prepare and get the job done.

Tool Needed To Install Porcelain Tile Over Concrete

confused man standing

Having all the tools you need for the job ahead of time is beneficial. It helps you to be prepared to get the job done with a minimal amount of distraction.

Here are some tools to get ready in advance:

Safety Glasses


Rubber Gloves

All-Purpose Gloves

Hearing Protection

Broom and Dust Pan

Shop Vac

Chalk Line

Large Tape Measure

Small Tape Measure


Paint Roller

Framing Square

Mixer Paddle for Drill


Tile Cutter

Wet Saw

Margin Trowel

Notched Trowel



Tile Sponges

Grout Float

Some of these tools are optional or they may be substituted with other options. For example, there are different tools that can cut ceramic tile but you will find that a tile cutter or wet saw provides some of the only options you will need.

What Preparation Is Needed To Install Porcelain Tile Over Concrete?

confused man standing

More than likely, you are ready to dig in and get started with the installation. Before you do so, however, you want to prepare everything in advance.

1. Clean – The first step in preparing to install porcelain over concrete is to clean everything. Use a broom and dust mop to clean as much of the dust and debris from the concrete floor as you can. You can then mop the floor using either plain water or water with some neutral cleaner and degreaser.

One important factor in cleaning concrete is to ensure that everything is scrubbed properly. You don’t have to worry about being too harsh on concrete and in fact, being a little harsh is a good idea before you install anything over top of it.

You want to do more than simply surface clean the area, you want to ensure that you are getting down into the nooks and crannies and removing some of the smaller issues, including the possibility of mold or mildew.

If possible, you can also clean using a pressure washer, as that will do a great job in removing as much off of the surface as possible. You can also add some degreaser to the pressure washer if desired.

2. Drying – After cleaning the floor you want to ensure that it is as dry as possible. Concrete can soak in some of the moisture, and it may take some time for it to release it.

In addition, if you are dealing with a new concrete slab, then it is important to wait at least 90 days before installing anything over it. Concrete takes a long time to dry when it is first poured and installing too quickly over top of it can cause issues.

3. Patch and Level – If there are any imperfections in the concrete floor, they need to be fixed in advance. Cracks and holes should be filled and patched with some type of patching compound.

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This is a step that really can’t be underestimated. If you don’t fix the concrete in advance, any imperfections can transfer to the tile and cause cracking and other problems.

If you have any high spots, which are usually evident as you are cleaning the floor, you should grind them down with a grinder. Low spots can be filled with a self-leveling compound.

One other option is to use the self-leveling compound and completely float the floor. This will give you a clean, flat, and smooth surface to install the porcelain tile.

After patching everything and self-leveling, make sure that you clean the floor once again.

How To Install Porcelain Tile Over Concrete

confused man standing

Porcelain tiles are very easy to put down. They are easier to cut than porcelain but just as beautiful.

Copyright article owner is for this article. This post was first published on August 26, 2022.

One important factor for installing porcelain over concrete is to put down a membrane material. This can either be a rubber polymer that is painted on the surface or a membrane material that is put on top of the concrete. This helps to protect the tile by keeping small imperfections of the concrete from damaging it.

Once you have the membrane down, take the following steps to install the porcelain tile:

1. Dry Fit – Pull the porcelain tiles from the box and put them down in a row with spacers between them. This will give you an opportunity to see what needs to be cut at the walls and it will also help you to find any imperfections of the tile that need to be addressed at this point.

2. Thinset – Use the mixing paddle and drill to mix the thin-set in a 5-gallon bucket. Use the amount of water that is recommended by the manufacturer. When mixing thin set, make sure you wear a respirator because the dust should not be inhaled.

You will need to wait a few minutes after mixing the thin set before using it. If it sits in the bucket for too long, you will need to remix it for using it again.

3. Apply Thinset – Use the notched trowel to apply the thin-set on the floor. Make a large enough area that you can work with it but it will not dry before you are finished.

4. Put in Tile – Place the title in the mortar and apply pressure. You can also slightly move the tile from side to side so that it gets a good grip.

5. Cut the Tile – After placing the field of full tiles, cut the tiles along the edges and install them. Keep in mind that tile can expand slightly so leave a little gap along the edge of the wall.

6. Grout – Mix the ground and use the grout float to smear it across the tile and into the joints. Remove as much of the grout from the top of the tile as you can with the float.

7. Sponge – Grab a bucket filled with clean water and a grout sponge. Wipe the sponge in a circular motion to clean the top of the tile. Be careful you don’t pull the grout out of the joints. It may take several passes before it is clean.

Concrete makes an excellent subfloor when installing porcelain tile. As long as it is clean, dry, and level, you can install porcelain and know that it is going to be down for a very long time.

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ReadyToDIY is the owner of this article. This post was published on August 26, 2022.

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