How to tile. the full story

Discussion in 'Flooring and Tiling' started by ThatBuildingSite, Mar 30, 2012.


was this usefull

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  1. ThatBuildingSite


    Mar 30, 2012
    Likes Received:
    South Africa
    Here is the full story on How to Tile.

    STEP 1: Draw a floor plan

    First you need to draw a basic floor plan of the area you need to tile.
    If you are tiling a bathroom for example, indicate on the floor plan with dotted lines where the bath and shower are situated in the room.
    Measure each wall separately, measuring the room from top to bottom and side to side (length and width)
    Measure the doors and windows length and width (length x width= total value); This value will be subtracted from the total M2 of the room when purchasing tiles.
    Now calculate the total area of the floor (length x width =?).
    If you are planning to tile the walls, measure the height to which you are tiling and multiply this with the length of the wall you plan to tile.
    The more information you can supply to the store you’re buying your tiles from the better they can assist you with the correct amount of tiles to buy.

    STEP 2: Tools for the job

    Here is a list of tools you will need:

    • Tile cutter
    • Tape measure
    • Tile spacers
    • Tile trimmer file
    • 2 spirit levels short and long.
    • Scraper
    • Cutting nipper
    • Pencil
    • Rubber mallet
    • Floor trowel
    • Wall trowel
    • Sponge
    • Knee-pads (to protect your knees when tiling floors)
    • Chalk line reel
    • Grouter and applicator
    • Tile cutting pliers
    • Tile cutter or scorer
    • Tile adhesive
    • Mosaic adhesive, if you are tiling mosaics
    • Tile grout
    • Bonding liquid
    • Grout off
    • Tile cleaner

    STEP 3: Preparing the room for tiling

    Before you start tiling insure that all the walls and floors are level, if this is not the case you may need to re-plaster and allow plaster to dry before you begin tiling.

    Cover all surfaces with cardboard or old carpets to protect sanware and counter tops. A dropped tile can cause some serious damage.

    Seal up all cupboards and drawers with masking tape to prevent dust from getting inside.

    Make sure that the floor is clean and dust free, this will ensure that you get the best possible bond from your tile adhesive.

    STEP 4: How to measure if you are using Borders

    If you have decided to include a mosaic border or listello feature on your walls, you need to measure the height where you want the mosaic or listello to be. This will give you a reference line for the rest of the tiling.

    If you are tiling around a window make sure you measure the tile with a slight overlap on the window ledge, it looks a lot more professional to see the face of the wall tiles rather than the sides of the tiles running along the windowsill.

    Once you have marked out where the mosaics will go, use the spirit level to draw a straight and level line at the markings.

    You will know if the spirit level is straight when the bubble is in the centre of the 2 darker lines.

    Using your measuring tape, determine the centre of each wall you are going to tile, mark it and draw a vertical reference line between each of the points using your spirit level to insure your mosaics will be installed at the same level on each wall.

    STEP 5 : Planning your wall tile layout

    Begin by measuring the tile layout from the centre of the vertical reference point or middle of the wall.

    Mark the space where each wall tile and don’t forget to include a spacer size gap between each tile as you go. If you are left with a space less than half a tile wide at the end of the wall - try a new layout like starting from one side to the other for example.

    STEP 6: Checking the tiles

    During production slight variations can occur from batch to batch, so ensure all your tiles come from the same batch.

    Pick a reference tile that you feel reflects the colour and texture you chose and compare it to the rest of the tiles in the boxes.

    Make sure that all your tiles are as close as possible to the shade and texture of the reference tile.

    Any tiles that vary too greatly must be put aside.

    Remember that once your tiles are laid the retailer is no longer responsible for the product.

    Wipe the powder residue from the back of the tiles using a damp cloth, this will allow the adhesive to bond to the tile better.

    STEP 7: Tiling Walls

    Mix up the tile adhesive according to the instructions on the bag.
    If the mixture is too runny or too hard the tiles will not stick to the wall properly.

    Using a wall trowel, apply enough adhesive to the wall to stick down the first couple of tiles. Make sure that the adhesive is spread about 3mm thick. You don’t want to cover the entire wall with adhesive first because is dries relatively fast.

    You will notice that the wall trowel has teeth smaller in size compared to a floor trowel; this is because wall tiles are generally smaller than floor tiles. The ridges it creates assist the tiles in lodging themselves better to the adhesive.

    Now place your first tile and use the rubber mallet to gently tap the edges.
    Place a tile spacer in-between each tile to ensure that the tiles are spaced correctly and you follow a straight line.

    Be careful and take it slow, the more effort you put in the better the result.
    Once the tiles are firmly in place and relatively dry you can start removing the spaces. If you allow the adhesive to dry completely you may have trouble removing them.

    TIP: Use a chipping hammer to chip the wall you are going to tile, this gives the adhesive a better grip on the wall and prevents tiles falling of in the future.

    Laying floor tiles

    Always lay wall tiles before floor tiles to prevent damaging your floor tiles

    Measure the area of the floor and establish a centre point.

    Measure the floor by length and width at 2 points in the room. This will help you determine a more accurate centre point.

    Using the chalk line mark out horizontal and vertical reference lines, the cross-air of these lines is your centre point.

    When it comes to tiling, in general, you want to start in the middle and work your way out, but in some circumstances working from the centre does not always give the best results.

    Cutting techniques

    To cut the edges of a tile, use tile cutting pliers and a strong ruler to score and break the edges. Be careful once you have made the cut, as the edges will be very sharp. This is why we use a tile file to blunt the edges for a smooth finish.

    When using a tile cutter, place the tile you want to cut into the tile cutter, score the tile first and then break it. Remember to use the tile file to smooth off the edges.

    Another method to cut tiles would be to use a tile scorer, use a strong ruler and score the tile. Place the scorer under the tile and press firmly with equal force on both sides of the tile for an accurate break.

    Cutting around tap points/ using a tile nipper

    This is where you will need a tile nipper.

    You will always need to cut at the edge of the tile so mark the centre of the tap and draw a vertical and horizontal reference line.

    Place the tile on the vertical reference line and mark the depth, which will be half the width of the tap point.
    Your tile layout will determine where this half moon cut should be; mark the width of the tap point on the tile.
    Draw a line for the depth of the tap and you should have a point where the half moon cut should be.
    Use your tile nipper and nip sections off, this may require some practice.

    Cutting around tap points/ using a rod saw blade

    Use a rod saw blade for a more accurate and cleaner cut. videos on our site

    Cutting around tap points/ using a hole cutter

    If you own a drill you can buy a hole cutter that fits onto your drill. This tool allows you to cut holes in any tile. video on our site

    Tiling around the base of a toilet - step by step

    This is quite complicated so I will put up a separate post on this. The good news is that most toilets are now made to be bolted on top of floor tiles to make this allot easier


    First clean all excess adhesive using a trowel or any other sharp object.
    Mix the grout according to the instructions on the back of the package.
    Make sure the grout is not too wet or too dry.
    Using a grout squeegee apply the grout evenly.
    Once the grout is dry use grout off and a clean sponge or cloth to wipe of the excess grout on the tiles.
    Apply easy clean to neutralize the acidity of the grout.

    I hope you have enjoyed this ]How to Tile and if there is anything we can improve or have missed please let us know and we can add and improve
    ThatBuildingSite, Mar 30, 2012
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