Looking for how to tile a kitchen wall or how to tile a bathroom floor?
How Many Tiles do I need?
For Walls, one of the easiest methods for estimating how many wall tiles you need is to measure the height of the wall and the height of your tiles. You can then estimate how many tiles will be needed to go up the wall (count half tiles as full ones). Do the same for the width of the wall, then multiply the numbers. This will give you the number of tiles needed to tile the wall you have measured. Work your way around the room and adjust the amount for windows and doorways. If you're still looking for Wall Tiles we have an unrivaled selection to choose from online!
Floor tiles are generally thicker and larger than wall tiles. One of the easiest methods for estimating how many floor tiles you need is to measure the floor area in one direction. You can then estimate how many tiles will be needed to go across the floor (count half tiles as full ones). Do the same for the other direction of the floor and the width of the tile. Then multiply the numbers. This will give you the total number of tiles needed to tile the floor area. Purchase some extra tiles (we suggest an additional 10%) to allow for wastage. We recommend purchasing your tiles in one batch and work from several boxes to achieve a good blend of shading. If you still need to make your mind up on Floor Tiles, why not order some samples today?
You can use our handy tile calculator on every product page to calculate exactly how many tiles you need for your project. Alternatively our friendly in-house experts can advise via telephone, email or live chat, Contact Us today.
What Tools do I need for Tiling?
Tile tools for the job: spirit level/straight edge, batterns, trowel (gauging and notched), grout float (or squeegee), tile cutter (manual or electric), tile scriber, tile rubbing block, tile nippers, tile saw, sponge, tape measure, tile trim, spacers, nails, chalk line, pencil, gloves, safety glasses, safety goggles, clean dry soft cloth and plywood (if floor needs lining). All these Tile Tools and much more are available from Walls and Floors, everything you need to get the job done.
If you are planning a specific tiling project our helpful tile experts are available via telephone, email or live chat to advise on all the tools you'll need to complete your tiling project.
Choosing the right Adhesive and Grout?
Applying the correct Adhesive & Grout can depend on many factors inside your home. Key factors that influence the correct selection include: what is the substrate onto which tiles are to be fixed? Is it indoors or outdoors? Is it a domestic installation or public/communal place? Will it be a dry place, intermittently wet or regualarly wet?
We offer an unrivaled range of ready mixed to flexible cement adhesives from Ardex, our knowledgable customer service team can advise on the perfect adhesive for the job, along with the ideal grout to compliment your tiles.
Guides to applying adhesive to a floor and applying adhesive to a wall can be found on our How To Tile A Floor and How To Tile A Wall videos.
If you are looking for how to grout we have our informative How To Grout A Floor and How To Grout A Wall videos.
How do I Prepare the Surface?
When tiling walls it is vital to ensure that the combined weight of the tiles plus adhesive and grout is compatible with the tiling background. The tiling background/substrate needs to be rigid and stable. You can seek further advice about preparing a floor from our in-house experts regarding typical wall substrates and maximum tiling weight guides.
Before you start your tiling project the previous wall or floor coverings should be removed and the surface is firm, clean, dry, flat and smooth. Make sure the surface is free of paint, oil or grease. Sweep or vacuum the sub-floor/wall removing all dust and smoothing out any lumps. Cover uneven walls or floors with resin-bonded plywood or hardboard panels. Hardboard panels should be dampened 24 hours before installation to prevent subsequent expansion. Make sure there are no proud nail heads across the surface.
More information about how to prepare a floor can be found in our How To Tile A Floor video.
You may even consider adding the luxurious but efficient Underfloor Heating to your project. We have a guide on Installing Underfloor Heating to advise on how to lay underfloor heating in your bathroom or kitchen.
How do I set out Tiles?
As a general rule when marking out floors or walls, tiling should be set out from the centre of the floor/wall. This means that there are two options: either the centre of the tile in the centre of the floor/wall, or the centre joint between the two tiles positioned either side of the centre line.
A measuring gauge will help you plan the position of your floor tiles. To make a measuring gauge, take a length of timber and mark the width of your tiles including the spacers along it, remember floor tiles require at least a 3mm grout joint, so use the correct sized spacers. Use the measuring gauge to help you set out the position of your tiles horizontally. The measuring gauge will help you to avoid any small difficult cuts, which will spoil the appearance. Check the squareness of your room. Mark a line along the centre of the room lengthways and widthways. Use your measuring gauge to view how the tiles will work out from the centre line paying particular attention to how they will look from the doorway. The level of your floor will be raised when the tiles are down, so remove all fixtures and fittings if required.
When marking out a wall check each option to see which gives the most advantageous cuts to the ends at each side of the wall, the window and the border design. Fixing battens will help you to keep the tiling straight. Find the lowest point you are tiling to, eg a skirting board, position the nearest full tile at this point, mark above the tile, and using a spirit level, draw a level line. Nail a batten to the wall below the line to work to. Ensure that the batten is level because your first row of tiles will rest on it. Draw your centre line as a start point with the help of a spirit level to check the vertical line is straight. Either fix a vertical batten as a guide or use your pencil line to tile up to. Start your tiling where the two vertical and horizontal lines meet, in the centre point chosen on your wall.
For a more visual guide to marking our floors and marking out walls please see our How To Tile A Floor and How To Tile A Wall videos.
How do I Start Tiling?
To apply wall tiles, spread the adhesive, holding your trowel at a 45 degree angle. Apply the wall adhesive to form straight ribs. Apply an area of adhesive to cover several tiles but no more than you will be able to tile within 20 minutes. Press the tiles firmly and evenly into the adhesive using a twisting/sliding action ensuring that the adhesive forms a strong bond to the back of the tile. If the adhesive forms a skin before you have managed to place a tile, remove and replace with new. Remove any guide battens and spacers carefully after 12 hours. Use a tile trim to give a neat finish at tile edges and corners. Tile trims are available in various thicknesses to accommodate the different depths of tile and is bedded into the tile adhesive.
To apply floor tiles, mix the adhesive in accordance with the mixing and application instructions on the product packaging. Always use the recommended trowel, this will ensure you achieve the best floor coverage and that no voids are left under the tile. Again, hold your trowel at a 45 degree angle. Apply the floor adhesive to form straight ribs. Apply an area of adhesive to cover several tiles but no more than you will be able to tile within 20 minutes. If the adhesive forms a skin before you have managed to place a tile, take off the adhesive and replace with new. For small floor areas, if required, apply a thicker layer (maximum 2mm) of adhesive where the floor dips. Press the tiles firmly and evenly into the adhesive using a twisting action to ensure that the adhesive forms a strong bond to the back of the tile. Place a spacer (minimum 3mm) between each tile to allow an even space for the grout joint. Check with a spirit level whilst you are tiling that the tile surface is flat. Lift an odd tile to check the coverage you are achieving is a solid bed of adhesive on the back of the tile. Clean off any adhesive, which has formed on the surface of the tile before it dries with a damp sponge and remove any surplus from the grout joints.
Floors should not be walked on for at least 24 hours when using a standard cementitious adhesive and 2-5 hours when using a rapid setting adhesive.
How Do I Cut Tiles?
You should now be ready to tile the areas requiring cut tiles. To cut a tile, mark the front of the tile and score the glazed side of the tile to break the glaze using a tile scriber and a rule or use a thin rail cutter. When cutting tiles around fixings tile nippers and a tile saw can be used to cut corners or curves out of tiles.
Floor tiles are often more difficult to cut than wall tiles. When you need to cut a tile, mark the front of the tile and score the glazed side of the tile to break the glaze using a tile scriber and a rule or a combination cutter, or use a thin rail or a platform cutter. Tile nippers can be used to cut corners or curves out of tiles. For really awkward cuts it is often best to make a template out of card to guide you when cutting your tile.
You can find more details around cutting tiles in our How To Cut Tiles video.
How Do I Grout Tiles?
If you have completed all the wall tiling and allowed the adhesive to dry out for 24 hours (or 72 hours minimum when tiling onto tile) you are then ready to apply grout to the wall. Check that the joints are dry and free of adhesive residue or dust. Working in small areas, use a grout float to fill the joint with cementitious or ready-mixed grout. Clean off the grout using the grout float, strike off excess grout at 45 degree angle using a clean fine sponge. Polish tiles with a soft, dry cloth. Epoxy grouts (recommended for use on worktops) require a different type of application, refer to the packaging instructions. Showers should not be brought into service for 14 days after grouting.
If you have completed all the floor tiling and allowed the adhesive to dry out for the required time, you are ready to grout the floor. If you have chosen a cementitious grout, use a grout float to fill the joints. Remove excess grout from the tile surface with a grout float. Clean off the grout with a clean sponge working diagonally across the tiles. When using an epoxy grout, use an Epoxy Hard Rubber Grout Float to fill the joints. Prior to cleaning off, emulsify the epoxy residue with a damp emulsifying pad and clean off with a damp sponge. To ensure there is no residue, clean again within 24 hours using an emulsifying pad and clean water or mild detergent.
For more information around grouting we have our step-by-step How To Grout A Floor and How To Grout A Wall videos.
Movement Joints and Sealing?
Wall joints between tiles and baths, sinks, worktops, etc should be sealed to prevent water leaking behind fixtures with a silicone sealant. Sealant should also be applied to all internal corners. Allow a bead width of 6mm for the sealant.
A floor perimeter minimum joint width of 6mm x 6mm cross section should be filled with silicone sealant. On larger floor areas an intermediate movement joint will be required, our friendly in-house experts can again advise and help you with any recommendations.
Shower Cubicle Tiling and Waterproofing?
Surfaces must be dry, sound, and free from oil, grease, dust and other contamination. Any voids or gaps must be filled with a suitable filler or sealant and allowed to cure. Cracks less than 1.5mm may be bridged with matting or tape.
Before the use of a waterproofing shower kit, new structures should be allowed to dry out for the following minimum periods: concrete 6 weeks; plaster 4 weeks; cement/sand rendering 2 weeks and screed 3 weeks. Partition walls and timber floors must be adequately ventilated from behind or below, be well braced and sufficiently strong and rigid enough to support the weight of tiling.
For a guide to waterproofing a shower please see our How To Tile A Shower video.