Wall Tiling Instructions - How to Lay Wall Tiles
Learn how to tile a wall easily with the UltraSpreader, a notched trowel for DIY tiling to easily spread adhesive tiling glue. Wall tiling made easy.
Materials you will need:
- The UltraSpreader
- A measuring tape
- A straight edge
- Adhesive (either premixed or in a bag)
- A bucket
- A grouter
- A sponge
- Some tile spacers
- A laser beam (optional)
- A gauging trowel
- A guillotine
- An angle grinder with a diamond blade
When you tile a wall, let’s say in a bathroom, there are a few points to look at. Firstly you have to establish the height of your first tile. To make sure that all our tiles are level we set a straight edge against a wall 1 tile up from the floor. This straight edge must stay in position until all the tiles laid above have set firmly. The height may be influenced by a step down in the shower. If this is the case then that will be the lowest point in the bathroom and thereby 1 tile up from that point is the position of our straight edge for the whole of the room. To establish a level point in the room the easiest way is to use a laser. Now days these can be purchased quite cheaply and are a fantastic acquisition to your tool kit. Just set a level point at any height in the room (we call this our datum point) and with the use of the laser beam transfer that point to all corners of the room and in fact anywhere that could be an advantage later on. From this datum we can measure down to our initial straight edge height and by setting our straight edge by using that same measurement everywhere in the room we can guarantee that our tiles will be level. The straight edge that you use must be dead straight so, like what I suggested in the floor tiling instructions, go to your local hardware store and ask them to rip up a sheet of chipboard into 100mm strips. The straightedge has to be supported securely so that it doesn’t sag under the weight of the tiles. Maybe a brick or other material can be placed under it and with the inclusion of thinner material the straight edge can be brought up to the exact height (always set the straight edge to the EXACT height).
We are now ready to set a starting point for our first tile. This point will be the centre of a wall. By measuring the distance between our centre point and the corner of the wall and dividing that by the width of our tile and a joint we can determine whether our centre point will be the middle of the tile or the edge of the tile. One of the basic rules in tiling is that cuts should not be less than a half therefore if our calculation left us with a remainder of less than point five then our first tile will be laid with the centre of the tile corresponding with our centre point. Alternatively, if our calculation left us with a remainder of greater than point five, our first tile will be laid on the edge of our centre point. By using this method we can have the same cuts on each end of the row. Never worry about putting a full tile in an internal corner unless you are certain that the corner is absolutely plumb. If it isn’t you may find an enormous gap happening further up the wall.
(At this point it would be handy to view the short video clip that I have installed on this website)
Wall tiling adhesive comes either in premixed buckets or bags of powder which normally is mixed with water by yourself. Personally, I prefer to mix my own adhesive, thereby I can mix to my own consistency (pourable) and amount. You will find that you don’t have to mix large quantities of adhesives at one time when wall tiling.
Now, on a workbench (this can be a length of timber) with a stop secured on one end, place as many tiles as you desire face down and butted up to each other with the first tile against the stop. Adjust the UltraSpreader to the size of the tile being used and place it on the furthest edge of the last tile. Put a reasonable quantity of adhesive at the mouth of the spreader and using a gauging trowel (or similar tool) push the adhesive to the back of the spreader especially into the corners. Hold the spreader at the corners and drag it along the tiles stopping at any point. You now have tiles that are ready to be picked up and laid on the wall. When you have spread the adhesive to the last tile on the table let the spreader rest there while you use up all the other tiles. Now push the tile with the resting spreader to the other end of the table and place more tiles, face down, beneath it. Pull that tile against the rest and the whole process is repeated again and again. As the adhesive runs out in the spreader replenish it and if necessary move the spreader back to an area where the adhesive wasn’t spread correctly and respread with a touch of extra adhesive. When you come to a cut at the end of the wall, make the cut using the guillotine and place it as the next tile to be spread. If you have a cut that creates an odd shape (eg: cuts around power points or taps) then keep the off cut and when you position the cut tile in the spreader’s run piece the tile back together with the off cut thereby the spreader will pass over without leaving a mess on your work bench. When you pick up the cut, the off cut will be left on the bench and can be thrown away. Whilst laying the tiles the use of spacers is essential. They will help to keep all work even. When the tiles are set the straight edge can be removed and you can now make the cuts for the bottom row. Once again, place the cuts on the work bench and treat them the same as normal tiles.
You will find that by using this method of tiling you can work at your own pace, you can stop anytime you want and there will be no mess to clean up. In fact, the experience will be so exciting that once you’ve finished you’ll be looking for more tiling.
All you have left to do now is the grouting and silicon to the corners.
When you grout use a professional squeegee grouter. You will find it easier to use than the conventional handy-man product. Mix the grout to a creamy consistency and apply in a diagonal direction pushing the grout into the joint until they are full. Remove as much grout as possible and when it is dry enough wash clean with a damp sponge. Once dry a hazy film will appear on the face of the tile which can be easily buffed of using a clean, soft, rag. Don’t grout the corners because these joints will be silicone.
People shy away from silicone work, but it really is quite easy. First make a solution of dishwashing liquid and water in a spray bottle. Put the silicone in the joint. Now spray the area with the solution. Spray your finger with the solution and drag it along the joint. Because silicone doesn’t stick to soap you will find that your finger will stay clean and the joint will be clean and neat. Only spray once the joint has been filled.