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Tiling a Foyer: How to Tile Stair Risers

Host Paul Wilson shows how to install tiles to stair risers in a foyer.

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install tiles to stair risers in foyer Watch Video
  • Time


  • Price Range

    $500 - $1,000

  • Difficulty

    Moderate to Hard


Step 1: Tape a Piece of Cardboard

For the stair risers, tape a piece of cardboard on the step to keep it free of thin set.

Step 2: Sand the Risers

Sand the risers before applying the tile.

Step 3: Use Right Type of Thin Set

In order to get stone tile to stick to wood, be sure to use a thin set recommended for use on plywood for the stair risers if wood is the substrate.

Note: EGP thin set mortar is a thin set designed for use on "exterior grade plywood."

Step 4: Back Butter the Tiles

It's easier and cleaner in small spaces like this to back butter the tiles before laying them. There will be less mess on the stair treads by doing it this way as well. Be sure to wipe away any extra thin set with a margin trowel.

back butter tiles before laying them

Step 5: Place the Tile on the Riser

Place the tile firmly on the riser, and use a rubber mallet and beating block to "lightly" tap the tiles in place. Continue setting the tiles until the stair risers are done.

Note: Be sure to let the grout cure for 24 hours prior to grouting it.

lightly tap tiles in place