Porcelain tiles in basement, what to ask installer?

Question Icon
Posted by: from Brampton
1/23/2017 at 2:55:32 PM

Good day,

I am thinking to change my carpet in basement to porcelain tile, that it looks like hard wood (dont want any laminate). So I want to hire a pro to do the job, but I am not sure what should I be looking for. I also have plans to have a big fish tank there so floor should be able to handle it.

How much per sq/f is a fair price for the installation?

Can I also install heated floor in the basement?

Anything else I should ask/look for, like some best layers to put beneath the floor?

User Icon
Date/Time1/23/2017 at 3:15:43 PM

I would advise the use of VCT tile in basement. Ground movement might be severe in your location for ceramic.

User Icon
Dima in Brampton
Date/Time1/23/2017 at 3:35:56 PM

When u refer to VCT did you mean Vinyl planks like this


If yes this is a good option for me too. Do you know if I can use this under it to work up?,

User Icon
Spencer from ONE94 in Hamilton
Date/Time1/23/2017 at 3:38:52 PM

We've installed a lot of "hardwood" porcelain tile in basements and its definitely important you have someone experienced. Having a properly prepared subfloor is going to be your biggest concern with those tiles. Infloor heating shouldn't be a problem as long as your installer is experienced in those systems and knows what system to choose (integrated anti-fracture membranes). As long as the proper cements are used your fish tank won't be a problem. Unfortunately I can't give a cost without seeing it as basement floors can vary a lot.

User Icon
Date/Time1/23/2017 at 3:53:22 PM

It can cost you about 10-16 sqf and yes you can put infloor heating in.

User Icon
Thomas from Trusted Trades in Cambridge
Date/Time1/23/2017 at 3:58:22 PM


I would look into a Ditra heat system. It is probably the most expensive route but most tested and reliable.

When getting a quote I recommend asking questions that perhaps you know the answer to or can easily find the answer too.

Do I need a licensed Electrician?

Do we need an ESA inspection?

What type of mortar do we use? Polymer modified?

How many days will it take?

Are you going to back butter your tiles? (should say yes)

Does the your price include sealing?

These are just some questions. Obviously, insurance, WSIB and an HST number are required. Check previous work.

Best of luck,


User Icon
Date/Time1/23/2017 at 4:24:01 PM

Hello Dima,

Something that you may want to consider; in Ontario it is now a requirement to have your electric in-floor heat assembly inspected by the Electrical Safety Authority (ESA). This is a separate inspection (and separate fee) and is exempt from the Authorized Contractor Program (ACP) random inspection process; meaning an ESA inspector must come to the site and physically inspect the installation of the heating unit and related components.

What that means is that the electrical work must be completed by a Licensed Electrical Contractor (LEC) or the home owner and must be inspected before the basecoat of adhesive is applied and the tile set into place. It is also inspected a second time by the ESA to ensure it is functioning properly once all the floor tiles are in place and sealed. Your flooring contractor (or anyone really) can install the matting and the sensors. However I might suspect that there may be an issue with an LEC if they do not do the complete installation as the LEC may end up being issued a defect if it is not done correctly despite someone else doing the work. It is the LEC that obtains the permit and carries the responsibility for the installation.

You may find this interesting

This is the ESA Flash Notice that deals with this topic


John Kuehnl-Cadwell

Master Electrician

Datawise Solutions Inc

User Icon
Vincent from James Renovations in Toronto
Date/Time1/23/2017 at 6:53:08 PM

Basement floors are never even, so having said that! If you want to install porcelain tiles then proper levelled installation will require floor levelling.

Yes you can have heated floor as long as electrical is done by a certified electrician.

There are products out there now which you may consider installation under the tiles like the Ditra system.

Good luck with your project.

James Renovations

Search the TrustedPros directory and discover the best contractors in your area.

Find your home service pro
Great renovations start with a great contractor.

Since 2004, TrustedPros has been helping homeowners find the right contractor for their home improvements and repairs.

Post Your Project

Within hours you'll be comparing offers from top-rated professionals. It's free to post and you're under no obligation to hire.

Trustedpros Inc. does not warrant the accuracy, completeness, safety, legality or usefulness of any Content, or Whether Content is Current and up-to-date, and TrustedPros Inc. Shall have no liability whatsoever with respect to your use or reliance upon any content or for content being removed or otherwise ceasing to be available. Please refer to the terms and conditions of use of this websites for more details.

Get quotes from top-rated contractors