Have you ever wanted to tile a wall, or wondered what it would be like. If so this article is for you. A tiling job can transform just about any wall and I will show how in this article. We all know the feeling of how boring plain walls are and how much a little bit of change can help brighten up a room.
We’ll start with a small overview of everything that’s included in an ordinary tiling project from tools needed, preparation work and finishing touches. This will conclude the need for taking your time over each stage as well as making sure we have the right equipment ahead of starting on our project because like many jobs some things can go wrong if not prepared correctly This guide is aimed at beginners to help give them a head start into the world of wall tiling, there will be no advanced techniques or tricky bits here but most importantly it won’t take very long either.
The tools we’ll need are: Tape measure – A tape measure is absolutely vital, always use one for any project no matter how simple. We’d need to know how big our tiles are as well as the measurements needed for grouting and other things. Tiles – This is obvious unless you’re doing something like removing old tile work or replacing it with wood effect tiles or any similar material.
Grout – There are two parts to this in fact 10/10 mm grout lines and 5mm grout joints If your buying from a hardware store then it is best if you buy a grout kit in which they provide spacers for the 10/10 joints as shown on the right. Trowel or float – This depends on what type of tiling you’re doing but generally we’ll need some kind of levelling device to get even coverage.
Prep work can sometimes be one of the trickiest parts because if you’re taking up old tiles chances are they have been there for some time and this means any seals between the tiles and the wall may have softened or weakened making them prone to shifting. It’s always best to get someone who knows what they’re doing before starting as well as checking for any structural damage such as cracked tiles, loose ones etc.
We will then need an ample amount of tile adhesive because it’s vital we use some form of adhesive even if your tiling over existing tile works. With grouting like this, there are a few things you can do; one is sanding down the old grout which will allow us to patch up any gaps never sand straight onto the tiles though, another way is using UHU Por which I’ll go into a little more detail later in this article.
You could also use a product called damp Proof Membrane which is placed between the wall and the tiles in most cases. This is found at most building supplies stores or hardware shops and will hold them together for up to 60 minutes before needing to be walked on (sanding also needed after). The ideal preparation method depends on how much of a mess we have to deal with, removing old tile work and using new DPM may not always be possible especially if you’re doing this in an older home that’s been partly damaged such as cracked tiles etc.
Before we start setting out our project we need to take into account a few things; I’ll discuss tile size later but keep in mind its best practice to use the same size of tile throughout your project one other thing it’s best to have an even amount of tiles for laying in the patterns.
It’s also important we use the same tile brand throughout, especially if this is part of a larger project such as a kitchen or bathroom because matching up tiles can be time-consuming but the outcome will look professional and more importantly last longer than using different materials. For this tutorial, I’ll be using Porcelain tiles with grouting between every 12th space.
Placing the first tile.
I’ll begin by placing my tiling saw along the pencil line, place one hand on each side and gently lower it until you feel a little resistance put your palms on them and push down evenly making sure you don’t run out over the edge then remove the saw while pulling up with both hands as shown below.
This will give us a nice clean cut if done correctly, the edge of the tile was also chipped but that can be easily repaired using either clear nail varnish or sealing it with grout which I’ll go into more detail later. You may have noticed I’ve only used one hand in this instance because you don’t need to place any pressure onto your floating device once it’s fully on and level because there are two points of contact (hands) so less effort is needed.
If you didn’t get a good finish then for some tiles it could mean having to take out several pieces before you get one right; remember practice makes perfect. Repeat this until we fill all empty spaces, if we need to adjust and cut the tiles for a corner again do so.
Now it’s time to set out our tile adhesive, even though it is nice and dry this can affect how it works when it comes to setting it onto the wall which is why using too much or not enough will affect how long we have until its completely dry.
There are 2 ways of doing this; paint rollers & trowels; I prefer using a roller because you’ll get an even coat over your entire project. Take some paper off and start rolling as shown below from top to bottom with plenty of pressure but not enough that you rip the paper off (you should be able to use multiple layers if needed). Now take some tape and stick it along one side of your roller with the pressure of the tile adhesive.
Laying more tiles
We’re now ready to start laying out our tiles along one line, this first row is very important because you don’t want your tiles to be uneven meaning some are higher than others (even if it’s only by a millimetre). This may not look too bad but it’ll definitely show once we grout them and using a trowel will make it worse especially for longer projects such as kitchen or bathroom floors.
A trick I like to use on these long projects is taping all my corners then lay them out before removing the tape and making sure they’re straight meaning I’m able to avoid any issues later. Place your finger onto the corner then pull it back at more or less a 45 degree angle and while doing so gently push the tile into position ensuring there are no gaps.
If we didn’t get it level then we can easily fix this by using grout jointing compound which is like a thick glossy glue but I don’t recommend using the pre-grouted stuff as it doesn’t dry as fast meaning you’ll be waiting longer before continuing with your project.
Using your trowel take some onto to place above and below your tiles, make sure you have enough as if you don’t have enough the grout will seep through leaving a gap in between tiles (which looks bad). Now when we come to grouting our tiles there are 2 methods wet or dry; most professional workers prefer wet because they say it makes your grout look more even and with fewer gaps. I’ve used both methods before & have to agree wet is better because when we wipe off too much its easier to apply more (as appose to waiting for it to dry then sanding out the excess).
The general way of grouting is applying a layer over our tiles, leave it until this layer hardens or dries out slightly then come back and do another layer until all our lines are filled meaning there are no gaps in between them. But because you’re new just do one coat on each line and wait for it to dry completely before doing your next one.
Now I’ll show you how to remove any excess grout from between our tiles using an angle grinder with a disc grinder bit. Basically what you do is using the inside of the grout lines as your guide slowly pull it across our tiles until they’re completely clean meaning we can leave them without getting any on our fingers which would make them dirty.
Once this has dried, wipe off all your excess grout from our tiles because if there are no gaps between them then there won’t be any excess leftover which will get onto our hands or clothes and not only look bad but also stain us. To remove this simply go over the area again but only using light pressure in one direction straight down so that once done then wipe off.
Now we’ve created a great base for our project let’s start doing some finishing touches starting with an application of grout release meaning we’ll be able to wipe off any excess grout that does seep through before it hardens meaning if there are any mistakes then we can still correct them.
Now I’ve covered everything you need to know but should you have any more questions feel free to leave a comment below and I’ll get back to you as soon as possible.
Next time I’m going to show you how I tackle installing ceramic tiles on walls using different wall materials such as plasterboard, metal studding & even concrete walls so they’re not always straight either 😉