How to tile bathroom and kitchen walls
Tiles can provide an attractive decorative surface that is water resistant, tough, long-lasting and easy to clean.
This how to guide will explain how to use wall tiles in your home.
We will look at preparation of the wall, estimating the number of tiles you will need, what tools to use, how to cut around shapes, and finally, the correct techniques for tiling.
To estimate the amount of tiles you require, measure the walls length and times with the height of the wall in metres, and that is how much you will require.
Alternatively, for calculating wall tiles, you can use our Wall Tile Calculator to work out exactly how much you will require.
Tools and equipment required;
1: Spirit level
2: Felt tip pen or pencil
3: Measuring tape and steel rule
4: Pincers(tile nippers) to remove waste and shaping tiles
5: Combination cutter - OPTIONAL: Electric wet cutter
6: Notched adhesive trowel or spreader
7: Plumb line for accurate verticals
8: Timber marked off as a measuring gauge
9: Hand tile cutter with snap off tool or combination tile cutter
10: Claw hammer and masonry nails
11: Filling knife (and filler) to fill in cracks
12: Frame saw (coping) with a tile blade for shaping tiles
13: Sealant gun & silicone for edges of baths, sinks etc.
14: Carborundum stone
15: Squeegee and sponge for applying and removing grout
1: Wall tiles
2: Wall tile adhesive (further reading here )
3: Grout (Showerproof where required)
4: Silicone Sealant for edges
5: PVC or metal trim edging strips
6: Coarse sand/glass paper
7: Grout (Showerproof where required)
4: Tile spacers
1: Remove any loose materials (paint, wallpaper or plaster) from the wall
2: Ensure that walls are smooth and that cracks and irregularities are filled in. New plaster should be left for at least 4 weeks to dry prior to tiling.
Remove any surface dust with a damp sponge, seal the plaster with a diluted
New screeds must be at least 4 weeks old. Seal wooden walls with Ardex P51 primer.
3: Wooden walls including chipboard and plywood must be screwed every 250mm along the joists. Be careful of wires and pipes under the wall.
wall tile layout
1: Arrange tiles so that the cut tiles are around the perimiter of the wall
2: The wall should be centered from left to right and from end to end, so a cross is acchieved.
The tiles should be either positioned on the center tile or half way through the center, which ever gives more than half a tile effect.
How to tile
1: A measuring gauge helps initial positioning of tiles. Make one by marking a length of timber in exact tile widths, allowing for the type of tile spacers which you are using.
Use this gauge to lay out the horizontal rows of tiles.
2:Apply the adhesive using a notched trowel over the area of 1 square metre, work from the centre line from one side to the other, a twisting action is required when laying each tile to ensure a solid bed.
3:When less than full tiles are required, mark the position of the cut line with a pencil, cutting is made easier with a cutting machine. (manual or electric)
4:Awkward cuts of L-shapes can be acchieved using an electric tile cutter or tile nippers
5: After 24 hours use a rubber squeegee to fill the joints with grout. Grout is a cement-based material for sealing the gap between tiles.
Other specialist grouts are available, for example, for food preparation areas.
6: Wash the excess grout off using clean water and a tile sponge. A grout finisher with a rounded point smooths the grout into a uniform finish.
When dry, polish the surface with a clean, dry, coarse cloth such as hessian
7: To drill a hole through a tile, place a strip of masking tape over the area. This will avoid a drill-slip.
Mark the position of the hole and then drill using a tungsten carbide-tipped drill bit of the correect size, so that the plug is below the level of the tile in order to avoid damage when tightening the screw.
If you are using porcelain tiles, appropriate drill bits are available from DTW Ceramics UK ltd.
How to wall tile guide