Durable, long-lasting and easy to maintain, tiling will always be a popular design choice. With various styles available and numerous patterns you can lay, wall and floor tiles can completely transform a room. In our step-by-step guide, learn how to lay floor and wall tiles with ease.
Before you get started on any of our ‘how-to’ guides, please take a moment to read through our DIY safety tips.
What You’ll Need:
- Tape measure
- Spirit level
- Claw hammer
- Tile cutter
- Tile adhesive trowel
- Pipe detector
- Tile or chisel head nipper
- Corded or uncorded Jigsaw power tool
- Tile file
- Grout spreader
- Tile spacer
- Safety goggles and eye protectors
- Safety gloves
- Grout sponge
- Wall tile adhesive
- Tile gauge
- Rubber Mallet
How to lay floor and wall tiles
Step 1: Preparation
First, ensure your floor or wall is clean and dry. Decide on your tiling pattern to work out the easiest place to start. In a square room, this is usually in the centre, rather than one corner.
Measure the length and width of the area you want to tile. Then, divide the length of the area by the length of the tile you want to use, and divide the width of the area by the width of that same tile. Round up the numbers, then multiply the two results to find out the number of tiles you’ll need.
Top tip: Take into account spaces taken up by doors and windows. To allow for any breakages or incorrect cuts, add an extra 5% for wall tiles and 10% for floor tiles.
Step 2: Make your markings and dry lay
Use a spirit level, tape measure and pencil to draw a guide line so that the first row of tiles you lay will be straight. Follow this to the edges of the room and lay a dry set of tiles along this line. If you cannot fit a full tile, screw a piece of wood in place until you can lay your cut tile. Check you have an equal border at both ends of the room. If not, readjust your tiles.
Top tip: Tiling your floor will raise its level, so remove any inward opening doors before starting. You may have to adjust the door length when re-hanging.
When marking up, consider the level of windowsills, door heads, bath tops, and worktops. If you’re only partially tiling a wall, decide where to begin your main row. When tiling the bottom half of a wall, it’s best to have a layer of whole tiles at the top. For tiling above a worktop or bath, it’s best to have a layer of whole tiles just above.
Make a gauge rod by laying out your tiles with spacers between them and mark the positions of the tiles on the batten. Find the centre point of the wall and make a mark using pencil or chalk. Then, using a vertical spirit level against this mark, make a line down the centre of the wall. This will be where you begin tiling.
Hold your gauge rod horizontally against the wall, so the end aligns with the centre point mark, then mark the wall at the end of the gauge rod. Move the rod across, lining up the wall marks with the tile marks, until it reaches the edge of the area you’re tiling. If your end tiles are unequal or too narrow, you can correct this by shifting the centre point and repeat the marking process using the gauge rod and spirit level.
Next, hold the gauge rod horizontally across the wall, aligning the top edge with the centre point mark. Using a spirit level, draw a level line across the wall. Use a pipe detector to check along the lines for pipes and cables. If there are any, adjust your start point slightly. Nail a timber batten horizontally with its top edge aligned with the line on the wall, then nail on another batten with its side edge aligned with the vertical line.
Top tip: Try to have evenly sized tiles either side of windows and doors, but also take into account the need for evenly sized tiles at either end of the wall.