An Homeowners Guide to Tile Installation in Anne Arundel, MD

Tiles are truly one of the most versatile materials homeowners can work with when remodeling, which is one of the reasons why they make such a great choice for Anne Arundel homes. Available in a range of colors, materials, textures, shapes, and sizes, there are infinite design choices when it comes to tile installation.

Additionally, because of Maryland's humid climate, this material makes a very practical choice for floors, counters and backsplashes. When installed correctly, tiles are highly water resistant—which is why the material is so ideal for bathrooms.

If you’re thinking of retiling the shower or sprucing up your kitchen with a new backsplash, then you’ve come to the right place. This blog, including insights from our expert Anne Arundel handyman team, will describe a few common types of tile, explain the different types of grout, and show you how to approach a tile installation project by yourself.

However, if you’re not DIY inclined or are pressed for time, we’ve also included a section outlining how the experts at Mr. Handyman of Anne Arundel and North PG can help.

What Are My Tile Installation Options?

There are numerous varieties of tile that Anne Arundel homeowners and businesses can choose from when remodeling a kitchen, bathroom, basement, laundry rooms or any other living/work area. Continue reading to learn more about a few of your tile installation options.


One of the most common materials used in kitchens and bathrooms, ceramic can work well in any part of the house—and is usually what comes to mind when Anne Arundel homeowners think about tile. Ceramic has a hard surface that’s easy to clean because it does not attract dust, dirt, or allergens. Since it is very durable and water-resistant, it is perfect for areas of your home that have lots of foot traffic, such as foyers, kitchens and bathrooms.


Porcelain flooring is actually a kind of ceramic, however it is slightly more durable due to how it's made. It's also harder, stronger, and even more resistant to water than ceramic. Porcelain is stronger because it is made with very fine clay that is fired at a very high temperature. Just like ceramic, it comes in a wide range of different colors and styles.


Truly a luxury material, marble is smooth and cool stone that ranges in a variety of naturally created colors. Unlike ceramic and porcelain, which are man-made, marble is sourced from quarries all around the world. While marble is very beautiful it is also quite a soft stone—which is what makes it such a popular choice for sculptures. While malleable, marble can also be scratched and chipped easily. It's also very porous, if water is left too long on marble, it could discolor. Rather than being installed on the floor, it's more practical to install marble countertops or accents.


Slate is also quarried, and is a naturally beautiful and exceptionally strong stone. It doesn’t break, chip, or crack easily. However, slate requires a little extra maintenance to maintain its natural beauty. It needs to be sealed regularly to prevent staining. Installing slate flooring gives your home a sleek and modern look.

LVT Flooring

A synthetic material, luxury vinyl tile—also called LVT—is an ideal choice for Maryland homeowners. Due to our state's humid climate—particularly if you're along the water—other synthetic materials can warp or become damaged when exposed to moisture, such as laminate. On the other hand, LVT is made out of plastic, which makes it very durable and water resistant. Modern vinyls are also crafted in a way that emulates the look of real tile—suffice it to say, LVT is a far-cry from your Grandma's vinyl floors.

In-Floor Heating

While not a type of tile, in-floor heating is a service our expert technicians are happy to perform while laying down your new flooring. In-floor heating adds a sense of luxury to your home, and can make getting out of bed during chilly winter mornings much easier. If you're renovating all your floors, we can easily add in-floor heating during the installation process.

What Do I Need to Know About Grout?

What material you choose for your floors, backsplash or countertop varies depending on your taste, and where the tile will be going. However, it can't be installed without grout—so it's important to learn a little about the different types of grout as well. Each variety has its own set of pros and cons, and are best used in certain situations—as we've outline below:

Finely Sanded Grout

Containing sand, this type of grout is thicker and more durable than other varieties. However, it can’t be used on fine joints. Sanded grout is best used when applied to floor tiles where the joints are 1/8” to 3/8” wide.

Unsanded Grout

This grout is sand-free and is very smooth. It’s used best when applied to vertical surfaces, like a kitchen backsplash, and should be used in joints that are less than 1/8” wide.

Epoxy Grout

Made out of an epoxy resin and hardener, epoxy grout is highly resistant to stains and chemicals. It is also very strong, making it perfect for countertops, backsplashes and other areas that are stained easily.

Quarry-Type Grout

Quarry-type grout incorporates a coarser grade of sand than finely sanded grout. It is best used for joints that are 3/8” to 1/2” wide.

DIY Installation

While our team of experts is always available to help, if you want to try your hand at tile installation continue reading to discover our step-by-step process. Also, if you ever need help with tile repair, know that our team can quickly fix the damage.

1. Collect Your Tools & Materials

Before you begin your project, be sure you have ready access to the following tools:

  • Tape measure
  • Hammer
  • Notched trowel or spreader
  • Tile cutter or saw
  • Plastic tarp
  • Safety mask
  • Rubber mallet
  • Level
  • Safety goggles
  • Rubber gloves
  • Knee pads
  • Line chalk
  • Chisel
  • Drill with bits
  • Floor scraper
  • Sponge
  • Cleaning cloths
  • Buckets
  • Rubber grout float

You’ll also need to gather the following materials:

  • Adhesive
  • Silicone caulk
  • Silicone grout sealer
  • Membrane
  • Backer board
  • Spacers
  • Tile
  • Grout

2. Prepare for Installation

It’s very important that you have adequately prepared your subfloor before beginning:

  1. Remove furniture, toilets and vanities.
  2. Use a plastic tarp to block off open doorways and windows. Wear safety goggles and a mask at all times to protect yourself against dust.
  3. Use your hammer and chisel to break up a section of the old flooring. You can also use your drill to loosen the old tile by drilling a few holes into it. After you remove one piece, it will be easier to use the chisel to get under additional pieces.
  4. Then, use a floor scraper to get rid of any remaining thinset.
  5. Make necessary repairs to your subfloor. Depending on your subfloor type, you will have to make different repairs. It’s important the subfloor is in good condition. It should be even, thick, dry, and level. Wood subfloors may need planks replaced. Cracks and dents in concrete and mortar floors may need to be patched with concrete or mortar respectively.
  6. Install the membrane. Roll the membrane along the floor and cut it to shape. Be sure to mark where the membrane goes on the floor.
  7. Mix your mortar according to the package instructions.
  8. Use the flat side of a trowel to spread the mortar. Then, comb it over with the notched side of the trowel. Comb in one direction.
  9. Making sure the bottom of the membrane is face-down, roll it over the mortar. Press into the mortar using a wood float. You can check to see if the membrane adheres properly by carefully lifting a corner.
  10. After laying down your membrane, you’ll have to put down a second layer of mortar on top of it. This will hold everything in place.
  11. Using spacers, lay the tile down loosely—starting at the center. Leave a ¼-inch gap around the perimeter to allow for expansion.

3. Install the Tiles

Once you’ve prepared your subfloor and added your top layer of mortar, you’re ready for tile installation!

  1. Lay the first tile. Put it in the middle of your room.
  2. Place spacers along the corners of the first tile.
  3. Repeat. Continue laying tile—working from the center point out—and adding spacers as you go.
  4. Once you’ve completed a three-foot by three-foot section, use a level to ensure the tile is straight. Level out uneven areas by hammering it gently with a rubber mallet.
  5. Clean as you go. Remove any excess mortar with a damp sponge.
  6. Repeat laying thinset mortar. Continue spreading thinset and laying tile in a three-foot by three-foot workspace. Ensure you use spacers and that the section is level before moving on.
  7. As you near the edges of the room or have to navigate around cupboards and doorways, you may have to use your tile cutter to create smaller pieces to fit the remaining spaces. Be sure to use an edging strip along carpet, wood flooring and entry ways.
  8. Allow the thinset mortar to dry for at least 24 hours. Remember to keep a ¼-inch gap between the wall and tile to allow for expansion.

5. Apply Your Grout

Once your tiles have been laid and dried, applying grout is the final step.

  1. Remove tile spacers.
  2. Prepare grout by mixing it according to the manufacturer’s instructions.
  3. Use a rubber grout float to apply mixture to the tile joints. Remove as much excess as possible.
  4. Allow it to dry for 20-minutes or as recommended by the manufacturer.
  5. Using a sponge with water, wipe away any excess grout with a circular motion.
  6. Let it set for at least 72 hours.
  7. After around three weeks—you want to be sure the grout is completely cured—seal the grout. Use a grout sealer and follow the manufacturer's instructions.

Mr. Handyman Tile installation Services

We hope our step-by-step guide helps the DIYers among you feel confident tackling your tile installation project. However, if you prefer this task to be handled by the professionals at Mr. Handyman of Anne Arundel and North PG, we've got it covered.

Tile installation can be a tricky process, especially if you don't complete many home improvement tasks. Preparing the subfloor is a particularly important part of the process as correct preparation is key in preventing water damage and ensuring a long-lasting floor. This step is often overlooked by DIYers, but our expert team always ensures we have the necessary materials to correctly prepare the subfloor.

We will also bring all the tools we need to install your floors in an even and straight manner. If you’re working with a heavy material like slate, we can ensure your floor has the necessary reinforcements for proper installation.

Once we've carefully laid your tile, we will also fill the grout lines. Since the grout requires a few weeks to fully cure, we will come back and apply the sealant at that time. Each time you interact with our hardworking team of technicians, we will treat you and your home with the utmost respect and courtesy.

Hire Our Anne Arundel Tile Installation Experts Today!

Are you ready to get started on your tile installation project with the help of the professionals at Mr. Handyman of Anne Arundel and North PG? Whether you live in Annapolis or Crofton, we’re here to help. We invite you to give us a call today. We look forward to helping with your next home improvement project!