Guide

A Quick Guide to Tiling a Wall

The mere thought of tiling a wall by yourself is probably scary; however, this process is much more straightforward than you might think. All it takes is proper preparation and the right tools and maybe a tiny bit of practice. If you want to learn how to tile a wall, here’s a quick guide to make things more transparent and manageable.

Required Material:

  • Tiles
  • Tile adhesive
  • Tile spacers
  • A notched trowel
  • A measuring tape
  • A pencil
  • Hammer and nails
  • Two 50mm x 25mm battens
  • Corner trim

Preparation

First off, you have to ensure that the working surfaces are dry, clean, and flat. If you have wallpaper, strip it back to the plaster and fix any cracks or holes. This has to be done in advance, as some plasters can take up to two months to correctly set.

Measure your tiles to see the exact dimensions. To make the pattern symmetrical, start drawing the grid from the center of the wall. Half tiles will go to the edge, and this way, you will ensure they are all the same size. Starting from the corner seems tempting, but this can lead to a messy finish and a lousy pattern. To ensure the rows are straight, you can use a gauge rod. Make sure to leave a small space between tiles, and when you’re one with the row, start the new one in line with it. Count the number of tiles you are going to be using per row. This will help you determine just how many of them you’ll need. 

Try drawing and determining vertical rows first. Then, determine where horizontal rows should go. You have to align the lines to the floor. The easiest way to do this step is to ensure your vertical line, gauge rod, and floor level are aligned. Mark all the way alongside the rod. Go up to the ceiling, or like your tiles to stop. Then, measure the distance between the two tiles – together with the small spacing between them – and draw another line. 

Tiling a wall after you’ve marked everything is much easier than just gluing the tiles on without any plan.

When this is completed, nail the 50mm x 25mm batten, so the top edge is aligned with the horizontal pencil line. Make sure that there are no pipes behind the portion of the wall where nails will go through. Also, the batten has to be perfectly straight. Then, repeat the process with another batten, but create a vertical line. Leave a portion of the nails sticking out a bit, as this will make them easier to remove.

Tiling a Wall

Using a notched trowel, scoop up and apply tile adhesive to the wall. Hold the blade at around 45 degrees, then spread the glue horizontally from the vertical batten. Make sure the ridges are good, as this will mean the adhesive is equally spread. We recommend you work one meter at a time, so the glue doesn’t dry out. Then, place the first tile on the corner where the battens meet. Slightly press the tile to make sure everything is firm. Next, add the tiles beside and above it, just be sure that there is a gap between them. Use tile spacers if necessary. Continue adding tiles until you reach the end of the adhesive, then continue the process until the end of the wall. Be sure to wipe any excess adhesive right away, as it’ll be hard to clean once it dries. Remove the battens and continue until you’ve fully covered the entire wall.

Next, you should tile internal corners. If you want to know where to cut, measure the remaining gap or place the tile over it and mark where it overlaps with the glued tiles. Check if everything fits once you’ve cut the first tile, so you don’t ruin too many if the measurements are wrong. Leave space in the corner for the grout. If you plan on tiling the wall next to it you don’t have to be as precise.

Using the notched trowel’s narrow end, apply adhesive to the tiles you’ve cut, then place them to the wall. This is a better option than applying adhesive directly to the wall once again, as that is a much messier process. 

If you’re tiling two walls, use the neatest grouted joint on the place where two walls collide. If not, the finished wall can look rather messy. 

Trimming External Corners

When tiling a wall, you’d want to make sure everything looks neat. Often times, this requires corner trimming. 

Corner trim comes in various sizes, colors, and materials, with aluminum being the most popular one. When you’ve chosen the one to your liking, cut it with a hacksaw to match the wall. Apply a strip of adhesive to the wall then press the trim, aligning it with the tiles. Be careful not to knock off any glued tile! Repeat the process, leaving the room for grout. The space between the tiles needs to remain the same! Once again, you may want to use tile spacers for this.

Once you’ve finished, make sure the trim and the tiles don’t move from their original position. If everything stayed in its place – congratulations! You have successfully tiled your first wall! 

Bottom Line

Tiling a wall is a process that most people would call a professional for. However, as you’ve seen, it isn’t as complicated as you’d imagine. Of course, we’d recommend getting someone with more experience to help you with this job. Still, unless you are a true perfectionist, you don’t have to pay a high amount for this service.

Tiled walls can be a beautiful addition to any room, but they are mostly used in bathrooms and kitchens. With just a little patience, a bit of handiness, and the right material and method, you can enrich the look of any portion of your home. The most important thing to look for is that everything is straight and perfectly aligned. If this step is done correctly, everything else is simple. Good luck!

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