How to Install Ceramic Tile on Metal

Hunker may earn compensation through affiliate links in this story.

Things You'll Need

  • Trowel

  • FlexBond Fortified Thin-Set Mortar

  • Tile spacers

  • Grout

  • Grout float

  • High-quality penetrating tile and grout sealer

Installing Ceramic Tile on Metal

Installing ceramic tile on metal is just as easy as installing ceramic tile on concrete. The substrate is hard and rigid, so there is no need to use concrete backer board. If the metal is horizontal or vertical, use FlexBond Fortified Thin-Set Mortar as an adhesive. FlexBond will work well in either situation.


Video of the Day

Step 1

Clean the metal surface to get rid of any dirt, oil, grease or other contaminates. The tile will not adhere correctly if any of these are present.

Step 2

Apply the appropriate adhesive to the metal with the appropriate trowel (see Tips), spreading enough adhesive to cover an area that you are comfortable finishing in less than 10 minutes. Set the tiles into the adhesive, and use spacers to create a uniform grout line.

Step 3

Allow the adhesive to dry for 24 hours.


Step 4

Grout the grout lines. Mix the grout in a 5-gallon bucket so it is the consistency of peanut butter. Spread the grout with a grout float, and force it into the grout lines from multiple angles. Allow the grout to dry for 24 hours before allowing regular use of the tiled area.

Step 5

After the grout has cured for 72 hours, apply at least two coats of high-quality penetrating tile and grout sealer.


For 12-inch tiles, use a trowel measuring 1/4 by 1/4 by 3/8 inch.

For a 16-inch tile or larger, use a trowel measuring 1/2 x 1/2 x 1/2 inch.


Josh Nuttall

Josh surprisingly found himself as an English Literature major one day after planning on becoming a doctor for most of his life. He graduated with a BS from Utah Valley University in April 2003.