How to Prepare a Wooden Floor for Tiling

Are you preparing to tile your wooden floor? If so, then there are a few steps you need to take in order to properly get your surface ready for its new tiles. Tiling is a great way to add an elegant touch and spruce up any room, but it needs to be done right the first time if you want lasting results.

How to Prepare a Wooden Floor for Tiling

To help ensure tiling success, in this post on how to prepare a wooden floor for tiling, we’ll go over some of the important steps involved with prepping a wooden floor for tiling including cleaning and leveling surfaces correctly. By following our advice here, you’ll be well on your way to having beautifully installed tiles that will last for years!

Why Do You Need to Add Tiles to the Wooden Floor?

Adding tiles to a wooden floor is an excellent way to add some extra style and detail to your home. Tiles are also quite durable and easy to maintain, making them a great option for many homeowners.

They can also protect the underlying wood from damage caused by heavy foot traffic or spills in high-use areas of the house. It’s important to properly prepare the wooden floor surface before you begin laying tiles, however, as this will ensure that your project is successful and looks great.

Needed Tools and Materials

Given below are some of the tools and materials you’ll need in order to prepare a wooden floor for tiling:


This is used for removing any existing nails on the floor.

Pry bar 

To help you remove old trim or molding.


Used to unscrew any existing baseboards from the wall.

Circular saw 

Cutting boards down to size is made easier with a circular saw.

Carpenter’s level and spirit level 

It’s important to check that your subfloor is even and level before tiling, so make sure to have both of these tools on hand.


You will need this tool if you plan on putting in screw fasteners as part of your installation.

11 Step-by-step Guides on How to Prepare a Wooden Floor for Tiling

Check That the Floor is Even and Level

Step 1: Inspect the Floor

The first thing to do is take a close look at your wooden floor. Are there any existing nails, trim or baseboards? Are there any gaps between boards that need to be filled? If so, then make sure to address these issues before moving on.

It’s also important to check that the floor is even and level, as this will help ensure a successful installation. If there are any dips or bumps in the floor, then you can use a self-leveling compound to help even it out.

Step 2: Clean the Floor 

Start by cleaning the floor with an appropriate cleaner for wood floors. This will help remove any dirt and debris that may interfere with the tile installation later on. But be sure to use a cleaner that is designed specifically for wood floors and not one made for tile or laminate. It’s also a good idea to use a vacuum with a soft brush attachment to help remove any stubborn dirt or dust that may be hiding in cracks and crevices.

Step 3: Remove Existing Nails, Trim or Molding

If there are any existing nails, trim or molding on the floor surface, you’ll want to use a hammer and/or pry bar to remove them. This will help ensure that there are no sharp edges or protrusions on the surface when you begin laying your tiles. However, be sure to exercise caution when removing these elements as you don’t want to damage the underlying wood.

Step 4: Sand the Floor 

To ensure that your tiles adhere properly, you’ll need to sand down the floor surface to create a smooth and even base for them. Start with 80-grit sandpaper and work up from there until all of the high spots are gone. If you need to fill in any gaps or low spots, opt for a patching compound instead of sanding. You can use an orbital sander to make the job easier, but be sure to wear a dust mask and safety glasses while sanding.

Sand Down the Floor Surface

Step 5: Fill Gaps with Wood Filler 

If there are any gaps between boards or other areas that need filling, make sure to use a wood filler before continuing on with your project. Allow the filler to dry completely before moving on. But be sure to use a filler that is designed for use on wood surfaces only, as other types may not adhere properly. It’s also a good idea to sand down the area after filling it in order to create a smooth finish.

Step 6: Add Fasteners as Needed 

You may want to consider adding fasteners such as screws or nails in order to gain added stability when you lay the tiles down. You can use a drill/driver to help with this task. Make sure to pre-drill the holes first in order to avoid splitting the wood. Although, if you’re using a thicker tile, you may not need to add any extra fasteners.

Step 7: Measure and Cut Baseboards 

If you’re installing baseboards, measure them to fit around the perimeter of the room. Then, use a circular saw to cut them to size as needed. It’s a good idea to use a carpenter’s level or spirit level to ensure that the baseboards are even and level on both sides. However, if you’re not confident in your ability to measure and cut baseboards correctly, then it’s best to leave this task to a professional.

Step 8: Check for Levelness and Make Adjustments 

Before laying down any tile, it’s important to make sure that your floor is level. If there are any dips or bumps in the surface, then make adjustments with a carpenter’s level or spirit level before continuing on. This will help ensure that your tiles lay flat and look even over the entire floor surface. Otherwise, it will be difficult to achieve a professional-looking installation.

Step 9: Lay Down Underlayment 

Underlayment is an important part of tiling floors since it helps keep moisture away from the tiles. Make sure to lay down a waterproof underlayment before beginning tiling work. You can use a staple gun to secure the underlayment in place. It’s also a good idea to seal the edges with a waterproof sealant in order to further protect your tiles from moisture damage.

Underlayment is an Important Part of Tiling

Step 10: Begin the Tiling Process 

Once everything is in place, you can begin your tiling project! Make sure to read the instructions carefully and start laying your tiles from the center of the room outwards. But be sure to stagger them to create a more professional-looking installation. Additionally, use spacers between each tile in order to ensure that the grout lines are even throughout.

Step 11: Grout and Seal 

Once all the tiles are in place, it’s important to grout and seal them properly for added protection. This will help keep water, dirt, and other debris from seeping between them over time.

By following these steps on how to prepare a wooden floor for tiling, you’ll be well on your way to having beautiful tile floors that will last for years. Always keep safety in mind and use caution when working with tools and heavy materials.

Do You Need to Use Professionals?

If you’re not confident in your tiling skills or don’t have the necessary tools, then it may be best to hire a professional to do the job for you. Professional tilers will have experience with all types of floors and can get the job done right the first time.

Regardless of whether you decide to DIY or hire a pro, make sure that you take all of the necessary steps when preparing a wooden floor for tiling in order to ensure lasting and beautiful results!

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: Do I Need to Use a Sealant Before Tiling?

A: Yes, it’s important to seal the wooden floor before you begin tiling in order to protect it from damage. You can use a sealant specifically designed for wood floors, or you can opt for an acrylic sealer if you’re looking for added protection and shine.

Q: What Kind of Tiles Should I Use?

A: This will depend on the look you’re trying to achieve. Ceramic tiles are a popular choice since they come in a variety of colors and styles and are relatively easy to install. However, if you’re looking for something more unique, then natural stone may be an option as well.

Ceramic Tiles Are a Popular Choice

Q: Can I Install Tiles Over Plywood?

A: Yes, most types of tile can be installed over plywood, provided that the plywood is in good condition and properly prepared. It’s important to make sure that you use a waterproof sealant before beginning your tiling project.

Q: What Is the Best Way to Clean Tiles?

A: The best way to clean tiles is with a non-abrasive cleaner that is specifically designed for tile floors. Make sure to keep any harsh chemicals or cleaning agents away from your tiles, as they can damage the grout and cause discoloration.

Follow these steps carefully and you’ll be well on your way to having beautiful, long-lasting tile floors in no time! Good luck!


We have discussed the important steps of preparing a wooden floor for tiling, from gathering necessary equipment to layering and installing underlayment. You should now feel more empowered to begin your own project, knowing the vital information about how to prepare a wooden floor for tiling. Tiling can bring beauty and dramatic effects to any space if properly laid out. And with the help of our guide, this will not be a challenging feat!

Furthermore, if you are struggling with the concept of installing concrete, we recommend you check out our other article — How to Install Subfloor on Concrete — which offers an in-depth guide specifically tailored to tiling projects on concrete surfaces. Here’s wishing you all success as you get ready for your desired space!

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Adrian Green

Adrian has been interested in woodworking since he was a child. His father had a woodworking shop, and Adrian would help him out and learn from him. He gained basic carpentry knowledge as well as an understanding of how to work hard and take care of business. He enjoys woodworking as a hobby. He loves the feeling of creating something with his own hands, and the satisfaction that comes from seeing his finished products used by others. So he started this blog to spread his passion and knowledge to those interested in DIY wood-working projects. He knows that with a little guidance and practice, anyone can create beautiful pieces of furniture or décor from scratch.

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