How to tile a wall: step-by-step

19 November 2015

New tiling in a bathroom or kitchen can breathe new life into the room, and it's extremely easy to do. The experts at Tile Mountain explain how.



You will need

  • Tiles
  • Spirit level
  • Pencil
  • Adhesive
  • Notched trowel (6 or 8mm)
  • Tile spacers
  • Grout
  • Score and snap tile cutter
  • Electric diamond wheel tile cutter (optional)
  • Tile snipper (optional)
  • Rubber grout float or squeegee
  • Sponge
  • Cloth
  • Silicone

Step 1: prepare the wall

Prepare your wall for tiling by making sure it is clean, dry and free from dust and dirt. Tiles can be fixed to most substrates, including plasterboard, skimmed plaster and tile backer boards.

Step 2: set out your tiles

Mark a vertical and horizontal line on the centre of the wall being tiled using a spirit level. Dry lay your tiles starting from the middle and working your way out towards the edge of the wall. Your outside tiles should be approximately the same size so you may need to reposition your central vertical line to get the right position.

Step 3: fixing the tiles into position

Apply your tile adhesive onto the wall, starting from your central vertical line. Apply about one metre squared at a time using a notched trowel (6 or 8mm) at a 45 degree angle to the wall. Firmly press the tile into the adhesive using a slight twisting motion and position the tile spacer between each tile on all sides to give a consistent sized grout lines.

Step 4: cutting the tiles

Ceramic tiles can easily be cut with a score and snap tile cutter. For irregular cuts, such as around plug sockets, an electric diamond wheel tile cutter is beneficial, however the same type of cut can be achieved using a straight cutter for scoring and a pair of tile nippers. Tile nippers can be used to nip or nibble pieces from the tile until the desired shape is achieved.

Step 5: grouting

Allow 24 hours for the tile adhesive to dry before grouting. Mix the grout as per the intructions on the packet, forming an even paste. Apply the grout using a rubber grout float or squeegee at a 45 degree angle to the wall, making sure to press the grout firmly into the gaps.

Wipe away any excess grout from the tile face using a damp sponge, being careful not to remove grout from the grout line itself. After about 30 minutes, buff the tiles with a soft, dry cloth to remove any trace of grout. This can be repeated until the tile face is clean.

Step 6: finishing up

Internal corners both horizontal and vertical, such as along worktops, should have matching silicone applied to prevent any cracking from movement.

Tip: If you are removing old tiles to replace with new ones you can use old, smashed tiles as drainage crocks in potted plants.

Our thanks to Tile Mountain for providing these tips.

Read our guide to livening up tired decor

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The material is for general information only and does not constitute investment, tax, legal, medical or other form of advice. You should not rely on this information to make (or refrain from making) any decisions. Always obtain independent, professional advice for your own particular situation.