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How to Tile a Wall

14:56 Fri 09th Jul 2010 |

Placing some tiles behind a bathroom sink is normally a very simple task, but tiling an entire set of walls is not only more time consuming, it is also vastly trickier.

Before we start, its best to produce a checklist of everything you will need to tile your wall, as you wouldn’t want to find yourself missing important material during the job. We have made a checklist below of everything you should need:

•    Tiles
•    Adhesive
•    Adhesive spreader
•    Tiling grout
•    Low-tack masking tape
•    Silicone sealant and cartridge gun
•    Tape measure
•    Tile spacers (or matchsticks)
•    Tile-cutting jig
•    Tiling gauge
•    Spirit level
•    Length of wood
•    Pencil
•    Damp cloth

Tile Gauge

Firstly, you will need to make something called a tile gauge so that you can check how your chosen tiles will fit the wall. Lay out a row of tiles on the floor, using spacers or matchsticks between them to ensure they are evenly separated. Place a length of wood across the top of the tiles and mark their positions with a pencil - you will be coming back to this later.

Hold the gauge against the wall with one end flush to the wall’s midpoint and draw a straight line downwards. You will be able to see how big a gap will be left at the end of each row of tiles. If the gap is less than 3cm or almost a whole tile, it will be difficult to cut the tiles to fit – to avoid this, move the starting position along from the wall’s mid-point by half a tile width.

Put Up The Tiles

Spread adhesive on the wall to fix about six tiles at a time, holding the notched spreader almost at right angles to the wall so that it leaves neat ridges of adhesive. Use a waterproof adhesive for areas likely to get wet or be splashed by water.

As you position each tile, bed them well into the adhesive and place a tile spacer at each corner to keep the spacing even.

It is very important to lay the first tile correctly because its position will determine the position of all the others in the room. Use a spirit level to check the horizontal level of each row.

To fill the gaps, measure the space at the end of the row and mark it on the tile, allowing for the thickness of the tile spacers. Then score and snap the tile using a cutting jig. Stick these tiles in place and then leave the wall for 24 hours.

The Finishing Touches

Fill the gaps between the tiles using the flat edge of the spreader and an all-in-one adhesive or a separate tiling grout. Scrape off the excess as you work and wipe clean with a damp cloth.

Finally, stick masking tape to the bottom of the tiles and the work surface below, leaving a gap of about 1cm. Use silicone mastic to fill the gap and make it waterproof. Smooth away any lumps with a moistened finger, and peel off the tape when the mastic has developed a skin.

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