The simple way to tile a wall

If you want a professional-looking tiled wall without paying for a professional, try the following advice.

The simple way to tile a wall

Plan the layout

Before you start tiling, you'll need to do the following prep:

  • Lay a row of tiles on the floor along the wall to be tiled, leaving gaps for spacers.
  • Adjust the row so that the gap is even at either end.
  • If there's a window, it may look better to centre tiles around it and live with unequal cuts at the edges of the wall.
  • Use a plumb line to mark a vertical line at the point where the last whole tile goes.
  • Nail a guide batten (strip of wood) to the wall.
  • Work out the vertical spacing in the same way. Use a spirit level to mark a horizontal line under the lowest whole tile. Then fix another batten.
  • This creates a square corner that is the point from which you'll begin tiling.

Fix tiles to the wall

Once you've laid out your plans, it's time to get to work:

  1. Apply adhesive to the wall in a band a little more than one tile wide.
  2. Place a tile, then another, moving horizontally along the row and fitting spacers between each tile.
  3. Push firmly and evenly into place, making sure tiles are well bedded into the adhesive and level with the adjacent tiles.
  4. Use waterproof adhesive and grout around sinks, baths and showers, and in other wet areas.
  5. Carry on up the wall with all the whole tiles.
  6. Wait 24 hours, then remove the battens and fill in the edges with cut tiles. It's easier to apply adhesive to the back of cut tiles than to the wall.
  7. Wait another 24 hours before removing the spacers and applying grout. Use a sponge or grouting tool to push grout between tiles and smooth it.
  8. Wipe tiles clean before the grout sets in.

Learning how to install tile is easy, and only requires a few tools. Take the time to plan tile positions before you begin and you can achieve a far more professional result.

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