How Long Before You Can Walk on New Tile Flooring?

March 3, 2022

Nothing lasts as long or looks better than new tile flooring. Tile is durable and can be laid out in highly decorative colors, shapes, and patterns. You can buy relatively inexpensive tiles or a very costly variety that really stands out.

No matter what kind of tile you choose for your new floor, a very good question arises: When can you walk on new tile? Ultimately, there is no one good answer. So the following information can help you know when you can walk on new tile without damaging your floor.

Adhesive and Mortar Need to Take Hold

Tile generally goes down in three steps. Those three steps are to cut, mortar and grout the new tile flooring. It must be cut to size and laid out in the correct pattern. Ceramic tile usually needs mortar to enable it to adhere to the floor.

Once the mortar has set and cured, then the grout fills in the uniform spaces between the tile pieces. But that does not happen until the mortar has set and holds the tile firmly in place. So, when the initial tile goes down, you should let the mortar set for a day before walking on your unfinished tile floor.

Grout Must Set and Cure

After the mortar is set, your new tile flooring needs grout to complete the job. The grouting process should take about a day to lay down the grout. Then the grout needs to be cured for a couple of days.

That usually takes between 48 and 72 hours. If you can avoid walking on your floor for that amount of time, that would be ideal.

Once the grout is fully cured, you can walk on your new tile flooring with no concerns about damaging it or causing tile pieces to shift. You might be able to walk on it sooner. But it is best to wait at least a day and preferably two before you try to walk on your newly grouted tile floor.

Plywood Enables Earlier Walking on New Tile Flooring

You might want to minimize the amount of time that you wait before walking on the tile floor. If so, the best way to walk on it as soon as possible would be to lay down a plywood walkway.

You could put down a narrow strip to act as a bridge for walking. Or you could cover all of the new tiles with full sheets of plywood.

It helps to wait at least 24 hours before even walking over plywood. That can help the mortar and grout to fully cure and produce the best results with your newly tiled floor.

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