How to Tile a Wall

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What You Need to Know

  1. As long as you're fairly confident and competent when it comes to DIY, you should be able to tile a wall yourself.
  2. However, if you are a complete DIY novice, then you might want to invest in some professional help.
  3. Make sure you have all the right tools and everything else you might need for the job before you get started.
  4. Take the time to make a tile gauge rather than just guessing if your tiles will fit onto the wall.
  5. Spread the adhesive onto the wall rather than onto the tile. It’s good practice to apply enough adhesive for just six tiles at a time.
  6. Place tile spacers between all of the tiles you put up to ensure even spacing.
  7. Fill any gaps between tiles using the flat edge of the spreader and an all-in-one adhesive or a separate tiling grout.

Why do it Yourself?

Hiring a professional to tile your walls is not only expensive, it is also unnecessary. As long as you're fairly confident and competent when it comes to DIY, you should be able to complete the job yourself.

There’s no denying that tiling wall to wall can be both time-consuming and tricky, but if you take care, follow the correct steps and have the right tools, you should be able to save yourself a packet by doing it yourself.

However, this isn't something you should undertake as your first attempt at DIY.

What you will Need

  • Tiles
  • Adhesive and adhesive spreader.
  • Tiling grout.
  • Low-tack masking tape.
  • Silicone sealant and cartridge gun.
  • Tape measure.
  • Tile spacers (or matchsticks).
  • Tile-cutting jig.
  • Tiling gauge.
  • Spirit level.
  • Length of wood.
  • Pencil.
  • Damp cloth.

Making a Tile Gauge

First, you will need to make something called a tile gauge so that you can check how your chosen tiles will fit the wall. Lay out a row of tiles on the floor. Use spacers or matchsticks between them to ensure they are evenly separated. Place a length of wood across the top of the tiles and mark their positions with a pencil.

Hold the gauge against the wall, with one end flush to the wall’s midpoint (down which you will have drawn a straight line). You will be able to see how big a gap will be left at the end of each row of tiles. If the gap is less than 3cm or almost a whole tile, it will be difficult to cut the tiles to fit – so, move the starting position along from the wall’s mid-point by half a tile width.

Putting up the Tiles

Spread enough adhesive on the wall to fix about six tiles at a time, holding the notched spreader almost at right angles to the wall so that it leaves neat ridges of adhesive. Use a waterproof adhesive for areas likely to get wet or be splashed by water.

As you position each tile, bed them well into the adhesive and place a tile spacer at each corner to keep the spacing even.

It is very important to lay the first tile correctly because its position will determine the position of all the others in the room. Use a spirit level to check the horizontal level of each row.

To fill the gaps, measure the space at the end of the row and mark it on the tile, allowing for the thickness of the tile spacers. Then score and snap the tile using a cutting jig. Stick these tiles in place and then leave the wall for 24 hours.

Finishing Off

Fill the gaps between the tiles using the flat edge of the spreader and an all-in-one adhesive or a separate tiling grout. Scrape off the excess as you work and wipe clean with a damp cloth.

Finally, stick masking tape to the bottom of the tiles and the work surface below, leaving a gap of about 1cm. Use silicone mastic to fill the gap and make it waterproof. Smooth away any lumps with a moistened finger, and peel off the tape when the mastic has developed a skin.

Further Information

 

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