Thinking about tiling your own walls but not sure where to start? We promise it’s not as daunting as it seems when you follow our simple step by step guide. Here at The Yorkshire Tile Company we’ve been talking tiles since 1974 so if there’s anyone who’s got expertise and knowledge to share it’s us. Whether this is your first tiling project or you’re a tiling expert we promise these tips are helpful for everyone and will have you perfecting your craft like a professional in no time.
Measuring the surface
To ensure you have the correct number of tiles and whether they’ll fit in the desired space, a simple calculation is required or better still, take a short cut and use our tile calculator which you can find on every product page on our website.
Top tip: Allow a minimum of 10% extra in case of any damages and/or wastage during tiling.
Tools and materials you’ll need
Your chosen Tiles
Trowel for adhesive with a notched edge & bucket trowel
Preparation products: Acrylic based primer, Boards, Waterproof kit
Spirit level and measuring tape
Tile spacers / clip and wedges system
Latex grip safety gloves
Drill / Whisk
Tile marker or pencil
Before you begin tiling – Preparation
Preparation is key when it comes to starting any tiling project and we cannot express how important this is, in the words of Benjamin Franklin ‘by failing to prepare, you’re preparing to fail’.
This first step may come as a surprise to you as many forget to consider it – you must ensure your surface is solid, level, clean and sealed.
Top tip: At the Yorkshire Tile Company, we only sell and recommend BAL adhesive, grout and complimentary products as when used correctly to British Standard guidelines they come with a 25-year guarantee. Not sure which adhesive to choose? Talk to a YTC team member today.
Sealing the surface area first with an Acrylic based primer (BAL APD Primer) is a must. It is recommended to apply this to bare plasterboard, bare plaster and tile backer boards. Always choose an acrylic based primer over PVA based primers as they won’t break down, they meet moisture/ water, a key ingredient in adhesives.
Did you know if you’re boarding a room with a plaster board that you don’t need to skim over the board prior to tiling? Not only does this save you time and money but also improves the hanging weight per m2 for tiles, 32kg m2 on bare plasterboard vs 21kg m2 on skimmed plasterboard. If you’re installing a new board prior to tiling we recommend a tile backer board such as BAL board – this is lightweight and easy to cut, water resistant and mould free.
Top tip: It is highly recommended by British Standards to use a waterproofing kit over the walls if you’re tilling in a damp environment such as bathrooms, shower areas and wet rooms to prevent the water from damaging the background. We recommend the BAL Waterproofing Kit which you can view on our website or purchase in-store. Did you know a waterproofing kit can be used in other areas too like the kitchen or in a utility room behind appliances such as washing machines, dishwashers and under sink areas?
Don’t forget to do your setting out prior to mixing your adhesive, you don’t want it to go off before you’re ready to fix your first tile. Always set out so you must do as little cutting as possible, this will save on time and materials too.
Step 1. Apply your adhesive
If you are using one of our adhesives, then follow BAL’s instructions and prepare accordingly. Once the mixture is ready, use your trowel and apply enough adhesive to cover up to one square metre. Hold the trowel at about a 45-degree angle from the wall and use the notched edge to make the grooves by applying pressure as you spread. You’re aiming for 100% coverage as this is the best way to achieve solid bed fixing. Comb the adhesive across the back of your tile to get even more coverage.
Top tip: Work in small sections at a time, only applying the adhesive where you’re tiling. Once you’re comfortable with the adhesive and fixing the tiles look to increase the surface area for a speedier installation.
Step 2. Fix the first tile
Making sure it’s flat, place your first tile on the wall and give it a slight twist to bed it into the adhesive.
Wipe off any adhesive that comes through the tile joints. This can be removed using a bucket trowel to remove the excess and a sponge for the residue.
Step 3. Apply spacers or clip and wedges system
To ensure your grout joints are even, apply spacers between each tile to leave room for the grout later.
Tiling with a large format tile? Switch your spacers for a clip and wedge system, these help you to achieve a nice flat finish.
Now it’s time to make yourself a well-deserved cup of tea giving time for the adhesive to fully set. Not sure how long you need to leave things for? Check the instructions on the adhesive packaging and set yourself a timer.
Step 4. Allow time to set
Make a quick brew and allow time for the adhesive to fully dry, be sure to follow the manufacturer’s instructions.
Step 5. Remove spacers
The best time to remove the spacers is when the adhesive is slightly wet, about 1.5 hours after applying the adhesive and the spacers were applied.
Step 6. Apply the grout
To prepare the grout, follow the manufacturer’s instructions listed on the packaging. The amount of time you need to leave in between completing tiling and starting to grout depends on the adhesive used, follow the guidelines on the adhesive bag.
We recommend using BAL Micromax2 grouts which are available in 20 colourways, suitable for walls and floors and are antibacterial too. Mix a small amount of grout first to ensure you are comfortable working with it, some grouts are fast setting meaning they can go off quickly depending on the working temperature so be sure not to mix a full bag in the middle of a heatwave! To grout your tiles, take a small amount and apply across the tiles with a grout spreader. Make sure you work the grout into the joints between the tiles whilst not leaving too much grout on the surface on the tile.
Step 7. Remove excess grout
Use a damp sponge to clean the grout from the surface of the tile. Try not to go over the tile joint too much/too heavily as you don’t want to pull the grout from the joint.
Some tiles take less cleaning than others depending on their finish. For example, a highly polished tile wouldn’t take much cleaning, and residue left over can be removed with a dry cloth. Whereas a heavily textured tile will require more cleaning, just be careful not to use too much water as this can make the grout go patchy.
Top tip: To help in the grout clean BAL Protective Sealer can be applied to the tiles prior to grouting. This is particularly helpful with heavily textured tiles as it helps clean the residue from the tile surface. This product is a wax-based sealer which washes away when it meets water.
Step 8. Remove the shaping tool
Step 9. Test your tiles
Step 10. Be proud of your tiled wall
Now that you can sit back and appreciate all your handiwork, sent us a photo! We love seeing images of your finished products and share them in our online gallery to inspire others. Let the world see your creation and send us your images to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Top tip: Don’t forget to save a few tiles as spares, you never know you may need some in the future.