How to tile a wall

How to tile a wall
In this text guide you'll find everything you need to tile a wall. Please note we have an expert in store to talk you through every aspect of your project. To find your nearest store please visit our Store Locator.

Firstly you will need to ensure you have a relatively flat surface to apply the tiles. You can tile onto most sound wall surfaces including those that have previously been tiled as long as you prepare them properly.

Tools For The Job

To complete the job you will need the following equipment:

Grout Float
Notched Trowel
Tile Marker Pen
Tile Spacers
Stanley Knife
Spirit Level
Tape Measure
Eye Protection Goggles
Rubber Gloves
You will also need a tile cutter which will be either manual or electric depending on the type of tiles you have chosen. If you are using marble tiles you will need an electric cutter whereas if you're using ceramic a manual cutter will be fine.

If you're using large format tiles, over 30x40cm, you will also need a timber baton and nails when fixing it to the wall. This will provide additional support for the heavier tiles. If you're fixing edging strips you will also need a hacksaw.

Be cautious of tile fragments; these can be as sharp as broken glass so remember to protect your hands and eyes when cutting your tiles, and also when using chemicals.

Applying Adhesive

* Firstly you will need to mark out where your tiles are going to go and put your baton in place. The tool for applying adhesive is a notch trowel; this will help spread the adhesive evenly over the wall and evenly over the tile. This will also allow the air to come out from underneath the tiles providing the area with a smooth finish.

* Begin by taking your trowel and mix the adhesive slightly to loosen it up to prevent it from being stiff and difficult to apply.

* Start by putting quite a large amount of adhesive onto your trowel and then angle your hand at around 45 degrees towards the wall. Press against the wall with a considerable amount of pressure ensuring the ridges of the trowel are in contact with the wall and start applying the adhesive either vertically or horizontally.

* Continue to apply the adhesive until it is spread out evenly and a square metre is covered. By completing a square metre at a time this will prevent the adhesive from drying out. The adhesive will need to be applied also to the edges of the wall which can be done by using the square edges on your trowel.

* When your square metre is covered ensure you clean off any excess adhesive from your trowel as this will dry quickly and make it harder for the next square metre to be completed.

Tiling A Wall

* Take your first tile and on a slight angle rest it onto the baton and place it onto the wall. Push this into place with a firm movement to avoid any air getting trapped underneath.

* Take your second tile and put into place right next to the adjacent tile and push firmly into place.

* Take your chosen size of tile spacer and place in-between the two tiles at the top and bottom to create an even space. Continue with this action until you come to the end of the wall, it is common for the adhesive to get onto the tiles so have a bucket and a sponge ready to clean the tiles as you go along. This will be much easier than cleaning at the end as the adhesive will have dried.

* To ensure all the tiles are level, take your spirit level and put it on the edge to check whether any tiles have slipped out of place.

* When you reach the end of a wall, to place any more tiles to fill any gaps you will need to mark this area up and cut the tile into the size needed to fill the wall. To work out the size of the tile take your next tile, place it on the wall and turn it around to mark accordingly where it needs to be cut. When you have completed these marks transfer them onto the front/top of the tile to indicate where it needs to be cut.

* When you have areas where tiles meet at right angles you will need to cover that join with some plastic edge strips. Firstly your strip will need to be cut down into the size of the area you're working on, allowing 2mm to take into account inserting grout in the gaps. To fix your edging onto the wall you will need to use the same adhesive and place it firmly onto the wall ensuring you leave a 2mm grout gap. Due to the refined area you will need to back butter your next tile and then place it firmly onto the wall, once this has been placed onto the wall you need to adjust your edging so it is still sitting in line.

Applying Grout

Once you have laid all your tiles down the next step of your tiling project is applying the grout. If you have used a ready mixed adhesive you will need to wait 24 hours to grout and if you have used a cement based one, depending on the weather conditions, you could start grouting after 3 or 4 hours. The type of grout you use will depend on your tiling job; this includes the type of tile you have used and the size of the grout gap.

* To prepare the grout take two buckets, keep one filled with clean water and use one for mixing.

* Fill the mixing bucket up with a small amount of water and start adding the powder to it. Continue to add water in small amounts and mix with a trowel until the grout is at the correct consistency. A good consistency will be like a cream cheese, not too runny and not too thick.

* Once your grout has been mixed and your worktops are covered, using a grout float at a 45 degree angle, begin applying to the wall working from either a left to right direction or right to left. Until you become comfortable applying the grout, work towards completing a metre and a half at a time remembering to wipe of any excess as you go along. When applying the grout ensure you're pushing the grout float against the grout gaps to ensure all gaps are filled, be cautious not to make these gaps too thick this can be prevented by using the edge of the grout float to push the grout deeper in and lift off any excess. The excess can then be evenly pushed around to fill further gaps as you work along your job.

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  • Dominic Henry
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