It can be a fun experience taking your time browsing and perusing your tile options to find the perfect ones for your home, but without any tiling knowledge, it can be tricky to redesign your kitchen or bathroom without the help of a professional.
And while employing the services of an expert tiler is the best option when tiling in your home, if your heart is set on doing your tiles yourself, then you’re going to need to know how to put tiles on a wall properly.
So, to help you understand this process in-depth, and make the task of applying your new bathroom or kitchen tiles to the wall as seamless as possible, here is everything you need to know about how to tile a wall, step by step.
Why might you want to tile your wall?
Before we get started on the wall tiling process, let’s briefly touch on why you might want to tile your wall yourself, rather than paying a professional to do it for you – after all, if you want the best results possible, why wouldn’t you hire a skilled tradesperson?
Well, besides the satisfaction of doing a DIY job yourself, the main reason is usually the cost. Assuming no mistakes are made in the tiling process, and you get it right the first time, you won’t have to pay the costs associated with day labour and trade services. However, do keep in mind that you run more of a risk or a mistake, which could lead to additional costs to rectify.
Essentially, doing the tiling yourself gives you much more flexibility in your project, while saving on costs, so long as you’re comfortable with the possibility of mistakes occurring.
Tiling a wall: Where to start
When it comes to tiling a wall, simply knowing where to start can be the most confusing step for amateur tilers. Of course, you need to have the tiles you intend to use purchased and ready for you, but you also need to make sure your wall has been properly prepared to have tiles adhered to it, and that you’ve bought enough tile adhesive for the full tiling area.
On top of this, you should have done a dry run prior to tiling your wall, so you know exactly where on the wall your tiles will be sitting, and how many tiles you’ll need to cut for a smooth finish.
Fortunately, we go into far greater detail on these topics within our advice pieces: carrying out a tiling dry run and preparing your floor for tiling. Be sure to read both before you start your project.
What equipment do you need to tile a wall?
As with any DIY project, tiling your wall requires a suite of specific tools and materials to ensure you can do the job properly. So, to begin with, you want to make sure you have all the following tools for the installation process:
- Tape measure
- Timber batons
- Notched Trowel
- Tile cutter
- Tile file
- Grouting tools
- Spirit level
- Cartridge gun
- Sealant smoother
- Safety gloves
- Dust mask
- Multi-purpose cloths
Once you’ve checked you have these tools, you should then purchase all of the following materials as well:
- Your tiles
- Tile adhesive
- Tile spacers
- Sanitary sealant
- Tile trim
How to tile a wall: step-by-step
With your equipment ready to hand, it’s time to look at how to put tiles on a wall.
1. First things first, your wall should have been properly prepared and planned out according to the information provided in our guides. Once this is done, you can get to work applying your wooden batons to the wall.
Specifically, you want to fix your wooden batons one tile out from the edge of the wall according to your wall markings, leaving your edge tiles out of the initial adhesive zone. Once you’re confident with their placement, screw them in place and get started mixing your adhesive.
2. After your adhesive has been mixed, take your notched trowel and apply your adhesive to the wall in a smooth, vertical motion, taking your time to provide an even layer of coverage to your wall. If you’re unsure how much adhesive to apply, you should read our article on using tile adhesive for more information.
3. With your adhesive layered properly on your wall, you then need to take your first tile and firmly position it in one of the base corners, twisting it slightly as you press for a firm hold that won’t budge.
4. Once secure, move on to your next tile, making sure to use tile spaces to leave room for grout, and periodically checking with your spirit level to check they’re straight. If any of your tiles sit too far out or in, you can gently remove them, apply more or less adhesive, and repeat the process.
5. Make sure you remove any excess adhesive on your tiles and in the grouting gaps as you go using a damp sponge. This will save you from having to do it later once it’s dried. Rinse and repeat this process until your last tiles are done, then wait for the adhesive to dry before removing your batons.
How to lay corner tiles
With your main tiles in place, your next step is to adhere all your corner tiles in place. And like the tiles you’ve just installed, this will require careful attention to get right. To start with, your tiles will need to be measured and cut as appropriate to fit your gaps.
Once your tiles are cut, apply adhesive to their back and then place your first tile in one of the base corners. Finish off this horizontal row before going upwards and then complete your wall by placing your final tiles on the top row.
How to grout your tiles
Even though your tiles are now adhered to the wall, your job is not yet done. You also need to grout them so that they remain in place and are protected against water and other contaminants.
So, to grout your tiles, clean them first of any dust and dirt, then mix your grout as instructed by your product. When it’s ready, take your grouting float and apply the grout between the joints in swift, diagonal strokes.
Be sure to do this in small segments as the grout will dry quickly, and you’ll need time to clean away any grout that comes out the sides to prevent grout haze, as well as time to smooth it out using your grout finishing tool.
When you’re done, wipe your tiles down with a clean cloth.
Sealing your wall tiles
Although your tiles are now in place and finished, for maximum protection, you want to make sure they’re sealed against contaminants, especially in your bathroom. This means using a sealant and running it along the gaps between your new tiles and any adjoining kitchen or bathroom fittings.
So, slot your sealant into your sealant gun, apply consistent pressure to the trigger, and drag a smooth line of sealant the length of the gap, wiping away any excess before leaving it to dry.
Is there a difference between tiling a full wall and a wall segment?
There is no real difference between tiling an entire wall and a specific wall segment, except for the fact you might not be applying all of your edge tiles or covering the entire wall space.
Just make sure you use your batons to line the area you want to tile and proceed as instructed above.
Is there a difference between tiling a kitchen and a bathroom wall?
While you might assume there are differences in tiling strategy when it comes to how to tile a kitchen wall and how to tile a bathroom wall, this really isn’t the case. The only thing you really need to be aware of is that you’ll want water-resistant adhesive in your bathroom as it is a more humid room than your kitchen.
Is there a difference between tiling large tiles and metro tiles?
Despite their variation in size, there is no fundamental difference between tiling with large tiles and smaller metro tiles. However, large tiles are considered to be easier to install due to their size. They’re less finicky to install and you need less grout overall, however they can of course be heavier.
Can you put floor tiles on the wall
While it is possible to use floor tiles on your wall, we would advise against it. Floor tiles tend to be heavier than wall tiles, requiring more adhesive to stick properly. For information on this topic, read our article on using floor tiles as wall tiles and vice-versa.
How to remove tiles from a wall
If you’re reading this article and you’re considering replacing your old tiles yourself, then you might also want to know how to remove tiles from your wall so you can replace them.
To do this, put on the relevant safety gear and find a hammer and chisel. Applying gentle pressure, slowly prise your tiles off the wall in a horizontal line, using the chisel to scrape away any adhesive that’s left behind by the tiles. Once done, you can then repair any damage to your wall and begin installing your new tiles.
You should hopefully now have a much better idea of how to properly tile your walls. Of course, if you find you’re struggling, or want to avoid running the risk of making any mistakes, you should always look at hiring a professional.
Of course, if you want any more information on buying and installing tiles, then you should reach out to the Stone Superstore team today. Our experts will be happy to help you with all your tiling needs. And don’t forget to look at our tile installation advice as well for more articles like this one.