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Tiling a Foyer: How to Prepare and Install Backer Board

Tired of boring flooring in the foyer? Host Paul Wilson shows how to spruce up a foyer with tile flooring.

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grouting tile in foyer

Step 1: Measure Floor

Start by measuring the floor and stair risers to determine the amount of tile needed.

Step 2: Remove Metal Reducing Strips

Remove the metal reducing strips from the doorways with a hammer and a flat pry bar.

Step 3: Remove Wood Base Shoe

Remove the wood base shoe by cutting the top with a razor knife and pulling it off with a flat pry bar.

remove wood base shoe

Step 4: Pry Up the Parquet Floor

Pry up the parquet floor with a flat pry bar.

Note: Parquet floors are usually glued down with mastic, which means they should come up fairly easily with a pry bar.

Step 5: Clean the Floor

Sweep and vacuum the floor clean.

Step 6: Install Backer Board

Be sure to install the backer board perpendicular to the subfloor panels. For this project, the backer board needed to be fastened through the subfloor so stainless steel screws are needed with a counter-sinking head.

Tip: Allow a minimum of 1/8" between the panels of backer board so you can tape and thin set the joints to make them stronger.

install backer board perpendicular to subfloor

Step 7: Mix Thin Set

Mix the thin set according to the manufacturer's instructions, and let it stand for 15 minutes before applying.

Step 8: Spread Thin Set

Spread the thin set with the flat end of a notched trowel to allow for a good bond to the backer board. Comb through the thin set with the notched side to ensure a uniform thickness.

spread thin set

Step 9: Lay Pre-Cut Backer Board

Lay the pre-cut pieces of backer board onto the thin set, and fasten the panels to the subfloor with 2" screws.

Step 10: Fill the Joints

Once all of the backer board has been laid, fill the joints with thin set and embed an alkali-resistant tape -- and smooth the joints.

fill joints with thin set