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

Stone tile makes a wonderful addition to any home. You can use it either inside or outside, but can you install it over concrete?

A properly prepared concrete subfloor makes an excellent choice for the installation of stone tile. As long as the concrete is properly cleaned and leveled, you can use thinset to apply the stone tile either directly on the concrete or use an uncoupling membrane if desired.

Stone brick tile

The real choice in this matter is not whether you use the concrete or not, it’s whether you are going to use the membrane between the concrete and the tile.

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

An uncoupling membrane helps to make a separation between the concrete and the tile. Since small cracks and other issues can transfer to the tile, the membrane keeps the two separate and keeps those issues from occurring.

A word of caution when installing stone tile. You are going to be using various concrete-based products, so a lot of silica is going to be involved.

Silica should not be breathed into the lungs, because it will never come back out again and can lead to silicosis. Wear an N95 mask when mixing grout or thinset or any time you are working with dry material.

Should You Install Stone Tile Over Concrete?

Confused man standing

It can be difficult to decide if you should install stone over concrete. There are options available for fixing the concrete and beautifying it, but is stone a better choice?

The main reason why people install stone over concrete is because of the natural beauty it provides. Since you are putting something from nature in your living area, it really helps to dress things up and to make it beautiful from a natural standpoint.

Of course, the beauty of stone is only one of the many different benefits that installing stone tile provides. Here are a few other benefits that you can consider.

Long-Lasting – As long as you don’t abuse stone tile, it will last for many years. You can continue to clean it, seal it, and beautify it. It will be a part of your home for generations.

Easy to Clean – When it comes time to clean the tile, you really can’t beat how easy stone tile is to clean. Run a mop over it on a daily basis and then wet mop it when necessary.

Durable – It doesn’t matter if you are dealing with a part of the home that is high traffic or not, stone tile is going to stand up to the abuse.

Versatility – You are not limited when it comes to what stone tile has to offer. They are one of the more versatile options as far as flooring is concerned.

Tools Needed To Install Stone Tile Over Concrete

Confused man standing

You’ll want to ensure that you have all of the tools necessary to get the job done in advance. The last thing you want is an unnecessary delay that could cause problems. Here are some of the tools you will want to have on hand:

5-Gallon Buckets

Rags

Tile Sponges

Broom and Dustpan

Shop Vac

Margin Trowel

Notched Trowel

Five in One Tool

Putty Knife

Mixing Paddle

Drill

Utility Knives

Chalk Line

Tape Measures (large and Small)

Paintbrush and Roller

Framing Square

Wet Saw

Tile Cutter

Pencils

Marker

Safety Glasses

Kneepads

All-Purpose Gloves

Rubber Gloves

Earplugs

N95

You may have some additional preferences when it comes to tool choice. Simply choose the ones that are best for your use and get started with the job.

What Preparation Is Needed To Install Stone Tile Over Concrete

Stone brick tile

Now that you have the tools necessary to get the job done, it’s time to prepare everything for the installation. This is what you need to do to ensure that you can install stone over concrete.

The installation of an underlayment membrane is important to help protect the stone. If a crack should appear in the concrete, it can transfer to the stone and cause irreparable damage.

There have been some professionals that question the benefits of using an underlayment membrane. When it comes to choosing whether you should use it or not, you really just need to consider the cost and the potential problems.

There are many people who install stone tile over concrete and don’t have any problems. If you can afford the membrane as part of the job and don’t mind the extra work, it can really benefit when it comes to the quality of the work and how long it lasts.

You also need to prepare the concrete prior to the time that you put the membrane down. This is also something that will be done if you are not using a membrane.

If there is any noticeable damage to the floor, such as cracks or holes, they should be filled and patched completely. It will help to keep the crack from getting any worse and holes should be filled so they don’t cause problems in the future.

One of the biggest issues with putting any tile all over concrete is transferring the issues with the concrete to the tile. Settling cracks are a big problem with concrete slabs, and they can easily cause cracking in the tile.

Patching the cracks is a good way to keep this from happening. Using a membrane adds some extra insurance.

If the concrete slab has any high or low points, they should be filled or ground down at this time. You can use a grinder for this purpose along with some self-leveling compound.

Some people prefer to float the entire floor so the starting process is smooth and level. That is something to consider, but it will add slightly to the height of the room, as well as the weight.

Once the concrete has been prepared properly and the membrane is down (optional), it is time to start with the installation.

How To Install Stone Tile Over Concrete

Confused man standing

Installing stone tile over concrete is very similar to installing any other type of tile over a concrete subfloor. You just need to follow the proper steps.

After preparing the subfloor, the first step in laying stone tile over concrete is to find the center of the room. This is done by carefully measuring from wall to wall and then striking a chalk line in two different directions.

You can use the chalk line to guide you on your first row of stone tiles. This will give you an opportunity to check the entire room and make sure that you are not going to end up with a sliver of tile along one wall.

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You can then proceed with the following steps to lay the tile successfully.

1. Dry Run – The first thing you should do is lay out all of the stone tiles in position. Use the spacers between the tiles if space is desired.

Lying all of the tiles out in this way gives you an opportunity to see how they will fit in the room. You can check the edges more thoroughly and at the same time, you can inspect the tiles for damage or any other issues.

2. Mix the Thinset – using a 5-gallon bucket and a drill with a mixing paddle, you should mix the thinset. The dust that is created is very dangerous to breathe because of silica. Make sure you wear a mask.

After mixing the thinset according to the instructions, you will have to let it sit for a few minutes to set properly. You may also need to mix it on occasion as you continue to work.

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3. Spread Thinset – Using a notched trowel, spread the thinset from the centerline in one direction. Prepare a large enough area that you can lay the tiles prior to the thinset hardening.

Continue to do this, section by section until you reach the edges of the room.

4. Lay the Tile – Put a small amount of thinset on the bottom of each tile. Put the title in place on the thinset and press it down firmly. You may need to move the tiles slightly from side to side to get the tile to properly adhere.

Make sure that you are properly putting each tile in place because it is easier to correct any issues now rather than waiting until the entire room is finished.

If any thinset comes out while you are setting the tiles in place, you can use a putty knife to remove it.

5. Cut the Edge Tiles – Have your tile cutting station set up in another room or area of the home. Cut the edge tiles, leaving enough room that they can slightly expand against the edge if necessary.

6. Grout – After allowing the tile to set for a full day, mix the grout and begin floating it on the floor and into the seams using a grout float. It will take some work to force the grout down into the seams properly.

Remove as much of the grout as you possibly can at this point. Use a grout sponge to rinse the floor, making sure to keep it as clean as possible. Be cautious not to disrupt the joints.

7. Clean – The final step in the process is to clean the tile floor. This is done after the grout has an opportunity to dry for a day. There may be a slight haze on the surface of the tiles that can be washed off with a grout sponge and clean water.

8. Seal – As a final step, you can apply a sealer coat to help protect the stone tile and keep it beautiful.

As long as you prepare the concrete subfloor properly, it makes an ideal surface for the installation of concrete tile. Preparing the subfloor would include washing, leveling, and sometimes floating the floor. You can then begin laying tile.

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ReadyToDIY is the owner of this article. This post was published on September 4, 2022.

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