How To Tile

When Tiling – Where Do You Start? 

Start by making sure you have the equipment, supplies and tools required to get the job done. Then when you’re ready to start, let’s say you’re tiling a wall, ensure you don’t start tiling at the floor or the ceiling. A general rule is not to start at the edges, as these can vary. As a rule starting at the top or bottom of a wall is generally the way to achieve poor results – but it really does depend on how even the floor or skirting board is. Let’s assume it won’t be a lot of the time. Use cuts (cut tiles to fit gaps) on outer walls. This will ensure cuts are less visible. You’ll normally achieve this by setting a vertical and horizontal plumb line. A plumb line is basically a straight, vertical line. This ensures the tiles are centred. If your starting point (i.e. skirting or floor) is level. You only use cuts to avoid the unevenness. When going around an outside corner it’s better to look like the tile isn’t cut. An inside corner can generally look like it’s been cut. You need to avoid using tiny strips of tile which is why planning is so important. Battens can be used to ensure tiles are laid in straight lines. In a nutshell, starting at the centre and working outwards is generally the way to go! 

Is Tiling Easy? 

Laying tiles requires practice and skill but like many things, once you’ve learned the skill it will seem easy – like second nature. If you drive, remember how difficult it seems to learn to drive a car…now think of how easy it seems now. This is because as you learn a skill, you develop tacit knowledge also known as implicit knowledge. This kind of knowledge can be difficult to explain and teach. But this article attempts to do this. 

What Are The Different Types Of Tiles 

There are many different types of tiles. Here’s some of the examples: 

  • Ceramic tiles – a very common type of tile due to it being extremely versatile 
  • Porcelain tiles – the most common tile type which doesn’t require much maintenance and closely matches wood, stone and brick 
  • Cement tiles – versatile and attractive when it comes to tiles 
  • Granite tiles – natural and close in look to marble. Very natural looking 
  • Metal tiles – these types of tiles can provide a state of the out, contemporary aesthetic 
  • Travertine tiles – very natural looking tiles 
  • Quarry tiles – tiles that are similar to brick. Very hard wearing 
  • Marble tiles – expensive as far as tiles go but adds refinement to a property 
  • Glass tiles – these types of tiles offer a minimalistic look 
  • Limestone tiles – these tiles can help you achieve a rustic look 
  • Resin tiles – excellent tiles to design and create your own unique styles with 
  • Mosaic tiles – a creative tile choice with lots of variety to choose from 

What Do You Need To Tile? 

The tools you may need for tiling a wall for example include (please note you may not need all of these items): 

  • Safety equipment (goggles, a pair of vinyl gloves) 
  • Tape measure 
  • Grout spreader 
  • Bucket (for mixing) 
  • Spirit level 
  • Battens 
  • Tile spacers 
  • Tile cutter 
  • Grout finisher 
  • Tile file 
  • Tile spacers 
  • Adhesive trowel 
  • Notched trowel 
  • Bucket trowel 
  • Chinagraph marker 
  • Manual tile cutter and/or electric tile cutter 
  • Caulking gun 
  • Sponges 
  • Timber/wood batten or nails 
  • Hammer 

Do You Start Tiling From The Top, Bottom Or Middle? 

Generally, you don’t want to lay tiles right at the bottom and the certainly not at the top of a wall. Careful planning is required to ensure tiles are laid evenly and ensure tiles are centred. Generally starting at the centre (or middle) and moving outwards is the way the professionals do it! 

Tiling a Wall – Where To Start? 

Start by preparing the wall, not just in terms of preparing the surface but also planning where the tiles will begin and end – I.e. the overall layout of the tiles. One of the main aspects to consider when tiling a home is that house walls are rarely square (parallel). Taking time to determine when the tiles should be layed out I.e. start and end will involve drawing measured lines out on the wall. These tile locations will help you achieve excellent results once you’ve learned the technique. A lot of the skill of tiling is around preparation but you also need to get a good feel for laying tiles. When you first get started you may run into various issues such as tile slippage, but you’ll soon learn how to overcome these problems, once you’ve got used to the process. 

How To Prepare Your Walls For Tiling? 

It’s important to realise that preparation may also include repair work, so other skills such as plastering may be required. Bear in mind that once you’ve started this process, you may uncover issues that you hadn’t anticipated. Levelling the surface, repair damage, cracks, removing plaster and many other aspects of preparing a surface for tiling, may be required. Obvious aspects of preparation which are relatively minor and easy to do will include removal of dirt, dust and grease (especially in kitchens) and mould (especially in bathrooms but this can occur in any room in the property). If you’re tiling a wall you which didn’t previously have tiles on it then you may find that holes caused by screws, pins, etc need to be removed and filled. You ideally need nice, clean and even surface in preparation for the tiles. If wallpaper is present you can remove this or perhaps pre-treat it. Ensure you sand the surface down to ensure tile adhesive can bond and don’t forget to use a primer which is appropriate for the surface you’re going to be tiling. 

You’ll also need to know the quantity of tiles to purchase. You can achieve this by measuring the surface. Bear in mind that you’ll need to buy more tiles than you need as locating and purchasing the same tiles may be a challenge and not always possible. When you’re tiling you may accidentally break or otherwise damage tiles, so always make sure you have lots of spares available just in case. Even if the tiles are in stock when you go to repurchase, different batches can often look quite different. 

How To Tile A Kitchen Wall? How To File A Floor? How To File A Bathroom? How To Tile A Bathroom Wall? How To Tile A Shower? How To File A Splashback? 

Generally speaking, the process is similar but not the same. You’ll always start by preparing the surface, whether it’s a floor, a wall, a splashback or any other surface. This will involve measuring the surface and deciding on the tile layout. Planning and preparation is absolutely key. You’ll need to use the right tile adhesive for the job and this will certainly vary depending on the surface type and the room itself. For example, you’ll obviously need to use waterproof adhesive for surfaces which will get wet! Examples include wet rooms, splashbacks, baths and showers! 

Tile Adhesive 

There are difficult types of adhesive for different surfaces, so you need to ensure you choose the correct type for the surface you’re tiling. Bear in mind there are ready to use (pre-mixed) types of adhesive and powered types. There are pros and cons of each. Generally pre-mixed tile adhesive is easier to use but dries faster – no problem for DIY (do it yourself) use but professional tilers and handyman (handywomen, handypersons) will generally use the powered variety as it’s slower drying. Always choose the correct tile adhesive type for the room and surface. Obviously choose waterproof adhesive for baths, showers, etc. You can also get flexible tile adhesive for tiling walls which may be subject to movement. 

How Do I Know How Many Tiles I Need? 

Measure the surface and always make sure you buy plenty more extra tiles than you require. It’s often difficult to purchase the same tiles again, especially from the same batch. As different batches don’t always provide a good match. 

Can I Tile Over Existing Tiles? 

It depends on how smooth the tiles are but generally it’s better to remove the old tiles. Some tiles are too smooth to apply new tiles over  too smooth to make adhesive bond effectively. In which case you’ll need extra treatment.  

I Don’t Have Time, The Skills Or The Patience To Tile – How Can I Hire Someone To Tile? 

No worries, contact Handyman VIP now


Leave a Reply