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Installing wall tiles

  • Difficulty: hammer hammer
    Close Difficulty
    Beginner Do-It-Yourselfer - Easy
    Intermediate Do-It-Yourselfer - Moderate
    Experienced Do-It-Yourselfer - Difficult
    Professional - Expert
  • Completion Time : 10 Days

Tiles are versatile, practical, and available in a variety of sizes and materials – ceramic, porcelain, stone and glass. Traditionally used in kitchens, bathrooms and utility rooms, tiles are now an increasingly popular decor choice for other rooms of the house.

This project provides detailed instructions on how to tile a wall – a relatively simple procedure but one that requires attention to detail and patience to allow for drying times. Some specialized tools such as a tile cutter or tile saw may be required.


Tools and materials required


  • Grout float
  • Chalk line
  • Tile cutter
  • Pencil
  • Rubber gloves
  • Knee pads
  • Rubber mallet
  • Measuring tape
  • 4' level
  • Tiling tools 
  • Tile nippers or tile saw
  • Caulking gun
  • Ruler
  • Bucket
  • Notched trowel
  • Sponge
  • Square


  • Tile adhesive
  • Ceramic wall tiles
  • Grout
  • Plastic spacers
  • 2" × 4" wood stud
  • Spare piece of carpet
  • Caulk
  • Sealer

Before Assembly


Before starting to lay tile on a bathroom or washroom wall, make sure that the walls are covered with moisture-resistant gypsum board and that the surface is smooth and flat.

If you are tiling over a painted wall, lightly sand the surface first.


Decide on the pattern and layout of your tiles: straight or diagonal design, square or rectangular tiles, or other combinations. If your tiling project is simple and straightforward, you do not necessarily need to make a plan. However, if you want to include patterns or borders, or if your walls are not completely straight, it is best to draw a tiling plan to ensure trouble-free installation. Measure the wall and draw a scale plan on graph paper (1 square = 1 sq. ft.). Include all important elements such as windows, doors, shower, bathtub, sinks, mirrors and cabinets. Consider the various layout possibilities, taking into account the size of the tiles and any other decorative wall features. The purpose of planning your layout is not only to achieve a harmonious and symmetrical look but also to ensure that you have the correct quantity of tiles.

As a general rule, you should place as many full tiles as possible in the most visible areas and locate cut tiles in the least noticeable places. You may therefore need to adjust your reference line to avoid having very small pieces of tile at the edges of the room. Move the central reference line to the left or right as necessary so that you have as many full tiles as possible and the most symmetrical pattern.

All the grout lines in the room should be the same width or thickness and well aligned.


Calculate the surface area and add a percentage to allow for breakages and spares. Add 5% for tiles laid out in straight lines and 10-15% for a diagonal layout, which involves more wastage.

Follow the recommended curing times. The adhesive needs to set for at least 24 hours. The grout must also be left to dry for 24 hours before being sealed. Finally, you should wait at least 10 days before caulking the expansion joints.


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