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How To Tile A Wall

How To Tile A Wall

Tiling a wall is a fiddly job which will take up a couple of hours, but if you're decorating a kitchen or bathroom then this guide will show you how to do it right first time.

Step 1: You will need

  • 3 softwood batons
  • 1 hammer
  • nails
  • 1 spirit level
  • tiles
  • tile adhesive
  • 1 spreader
  • spacers
  • 1 tile cutter
  • 1 sponge

Step 2: Make your gauge stick

Put one of the battens on the floor. Alongside it lay a row of tiles and insert the plastic spacers. Mark the position of each tile on the batten. Nice work, you have created your indispensable tiling gauge stick.

Step 3: Horizontal Guide

As with most DIY jobs, the secret to success is in good planning. Hold your beautifully designed gauge stick against the wall, running vertically up from the place where you want the tiles to begin. Make sure you leave room for 3mm of sealant at the bottom.

Mark the wall where the bottom full row of tiles will sit. Temporarily nail a batten horizontally from this mark, using a spirit level to make sure it is dead level. This is will be your horizontal guide.

Step 4: Vertical Guide

Create a vertical guide using the same method; use the gauge stick to work out where each column of tiles will start, if you are left with a very narrow strip at one edge, reposition the gauge about half a tile sideways to get a good symmetrical spread. Nail a wooden batten vertically at the point where the first full tile will be from the edge. Again use a spirit level, or plumb line to get this spot on. Now you have a vertical guide, horizontal guide, and are ready to move on.

Step 5: Get Tiling

Use the spreader to spread an even layer of adhesive onto the wall, start at the right angled corner created by the two battens and cover an area about a metre square. Use the serrated edge to create horizontal ridges along it.

Press the first tile in place and give it a little wiggle to firmly set it in position. Place the second tile along side, again with the little wiggle, and insert a plastic spacer between the two to form a grout line. If any adhesive squeezes out onto the tiles wipe it away with a sponge.

Keep going, building up and out, making sure each tile is flush with it's neighbours. Spread on more sections of adhesive and continue to add tiles until there is no further space for complete tiles. You will end up with a big perfectly squared tiled area with gaps around each edge.

Wipe of any excess adhesive from the edges and leave the tiles to set. Only then can you take out the plastic spacers and remove those battens.

Step 6: Margin tiles

Unfortunately no walls are completely straight, so it's necessary to cut the margin tiles one by one. Place it face down over it's neighbour with one edge against the adjacent wall. Making allowances for the usual grout line, mark where the tile will need to be cut.

Put your safety goggles on before you cut your tile with the jig, follow your manufactures instruction for your particular tile cutter.

Apply a layer of adhesive on the back of the tile, and wiggle it into place on the wall. Keep going measuring, cutting and fixing until your tiled area is complete. Looking good. Now give the job a rest for a full 24 hours while the adhesive hardens.

Step 7: Grouting

Read the manufacteur's instruction for your particular grout and mix as directed. Grout float at the ready, spread the grout in all directions over the tiles to make sure every joint is well filled. Next, compress the grout by running a blunt stick along each joint - this will look professional and will help give a waterproof seal. Wipe off any excess with a damp sponge before it dries. Finally polish the tiles with a clean cloth. Looking good.