Penny Round Tile(66008)
Credit: Isabel Reese

You have high aspirations for a newly declared home remodel.  Perhaps, you are updating an outdated bathroom or adding some personality to your kitchen with a brand new backsplash.  Before you pick up that sledgehammer, it will be critical to set up a realistic budget, time allocation, and projects included.  Once this is done, go ahead and get swinging! 

A great way to add personality to any remodel is your tile choice.  Tile comes in many shapes, sizes, colors, and materials.  If you are in a high traffic area, you will need to consider both color and material.  A very dark or light color will show dirt easily and if the material is not durable, unwanted signs of wear will appear quickly.

Porcelain tile is a great choice of materials for high traffic areas.  It is stronger than ceramic tile and has a high scratch resistance.  Because of its high durability, you will frequently find penny round tile made out of porcelain.  Penny round tile can add the perfect amount of character to a bathroom or kitchen backsplash.  It has personality, comes in a variety of different colors and designs, and looks impressive! 

So, you’ve decided on penny round tile for your remodel project, but don’t go request quotes from various contractors to install the tile.  Instead, pocket the cash and do it yourself!  Installing penny round tile is very similar to installing larger slabs of tile, it just takes a little more finesse.


Aqua Penny Round Tile(66010)
Credit: Isabel Reese

Here are the steps needed to install penny round tile:

  1. First, measure the square footage of your space and order your tile. Order anywhere from 10 to 15% more than your square footage.  When you pick up the tile, make sure the manufacturer sent you what you ordered. 
  2. When you get home with your new tile, lay it out.  The tile should be backed on mesh and in 12x12 squares.  If there are any tricky corners simply utilize scissors to cut the mesh.  If the areas are very tricky, you will need to rent or purchase a tile saw.  Cutting little tiles is challenging and the water from the saw will cause your tiles to come off the mesh backing.  Be prepared and if needed call a professional (or buddy) to cut.   Transfer the plan to an area where you can accurately label the 12x12 squares with post-it notes.  This will help you grab the correct square when laying the tile.
  3. There are many different thoughts on subfloors.  You can tile over vinyl if it is in good condition (you should be able to walk on it and not feel any squeaks or dips).  If not, you will need to rip it up and lay the penny round tile directly on the subfloor.  If you are installing the tile over the vinyl, I would suggest looking at Detra.  It is expensive, but will smooth out the floor to prevent the tile from cracking down the road. 
  4. Make sure the floor is clean and dry before applying the thinset.  Use an appropriately sized grout trowel (smaller teeth for smaller tile) and spread a thin layer of thinset over the floor. Work in no more than 2 ft sections.   Lay the penny round tile on top of the thinset and gently press down.  If any thinset appears between the tiles, use a q-tip to remove.  If this happens, it can be a pain, so make sure to spread a thinner coat of thinset on the next area.
  5. Once done, let the tile cure for 24 hours before walking on it (make sure to read the back of the thinset incase the time is different). 
  6. After the tile has cured, you can grout.  You will need a grout float, sponge, a bucket for water, cheesecloth, kneepads (these are a life saver), and some effort.  Again work the grout in small sections.  Spread about a cup or two of grout over the tiles using the grout float to move the grout in between the tiles.  You should hold the grout float at a slight angle.  Then take a sponge and wipe the excess grout away in a circular motion (almost like waxing a car).  
  7. Once the penny round tile has been grouted, let dry and do not walk on it according to the manufacturer’s instructions (usually 24 to 48 hours).  If the tile has a haze, you can remove it with cheesecloth.  To do so, take the cheesecloth and move it in circular motions on the tile.


And before you know it, you will be done!    Make sure to seal the grout if needed.  Enjoy your new tile and the cash you saved by doing it yourself!