How to Put up Wall Tiles

In general terms, decorating with materials in tile form is easier than using materials off the roll, since you are always handling something quite small. But against that is the fact that your setting out has to be done very carefully if the end result is to look right.

Fixing ceramic tiles

It is quite rare for a surface to be tiled to work out at a whole number of tiles in both horizontal and vertical directions. Usually, there are a number of narrow strips of cut wall tile. The golden rule of tiling is to distribute these symmetrically around the edges of the area.

Wall Tiles

On an unbroken wall, the aim should be to have a border of cut tiles at each side of the area to give visual balance. If the tiled area extends only half-way up the wall, it is more pleasing to have cut pieces at skirting board level, whereas if the wall is tiled from floor to ceiling, then once again a border of cut tiles of equal width should run along the ceiling and skirting board.

Where a wall area is broken by door or window openings, achieving symmetry is more complicated, and it may often not be possible to centre the tiles on the wall without having to cut awkwardly shaped pieces of tile round the window or door opening. In this case the rule-of-thumb is to regard the door or window opening as the focal point of the room, and to centre the tiles on the opening.

The practical way of achieving a well set out array of tiles is to use what is known as a gauging stick. This is a straight batten of wood about two metres long and marked off into tile widths; use the tile you will be fixing to mark the batten but do not forget to allow for spacer lugs and other gaps for grout. Then use this slick to gauge how many tiles will cover the area, both horizontally and vertically, and to sec how the whole tiles will lie on the wall.

Measure the width of the cut border tiles that will be needed at the ends of each horizontal row. If each is less than about one-third of a tile width, accurate cutting will be difficult, and in this case the number of whole tiles in the row should be reduced by one so that each border piece will be between one-half and two-thirds of a tile width.

Wall Tiles

At window openings, use the gauging stick to determine the width of the cut pieces at cither side of the window opening; again, try to avoid having to cut narrow pieces of tile, by adjusting the number of whole tiles used to fill the row.

As far as vertical alignment is concerned, the general principle is to centre the tiles vertically over the area to be decorated. Where there is a window opening, apply the same principle to the area between window and skirting board, so that there is an equal border of cut tiles top and bottom.

Filed Under: Home & Maintenance


About the Author: Jason Prickett loves to write about home maintenance and stuff you can do yourself instead of hiring any professional. His step by step guides will assist you in completing your home maintenance tasks.

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