How To Install Tiles On A Wall
Installing wall tiles is a four-step process that includes preparing the wall, choosing a layout, applying tiles and adhesive, and grouting tiles. The surface preparation and the choice of adhesive are based on the location of the tiles, while the other parts are more or less standard for each job. Follow this step-by-step guide to learn how to install tiles on wall.
Step 1: Prepare the Wall
Make sure your wall is prepared for the project. Once you have removed existing wall coverings and wall elements, such as light switch covers, you should check the base layer you are going to build on to make sure it is structurally sound.
Clean concrete, masonry, hardened mortar, and plywood surfaces to be coated. The wall must be flat, dry, and completely clean. All contaminants must be removed with adhesive remover or by sanding, scraping, or chopping, and all imperfections must be corrected.
The temperature of all tiling materials should be between 50 and 70 degrees for 24 hours before and 48 hours after installation.
If you are installing tiles on a wall exposed to water, a cement board or water barrier must be installed behind the tile.
Step 2: Plan the Layout
Start laying the tiles by finding the center of the wall. Use a level and tape to measure the location of your tiles. It would be best if you found the vertical and horizontal center because you will use them to have your tiles straight and split the area into segments for the tile.
Mark the locations on the wall with a chalk line. Using a chalk line, mark the center and vertical lines you just measured. Put a nail into one end of the space you marked, tie the rope, pull it in, and snap it into place. This will help you create a straight line on your wall.
You can use an ordinary chain and break it manually to create a chalk line. Using a chalk box may be easier since they require less work.
Step 3: Apply Tiles and Adhesive
Applying tiles and adhesive is the foremost step on how to install tile on the wall. We can break this step into three parts.
Mix and Apply Adhesive
You can use ready-to-use tile sealer in dry places. For showers and other wet areas, use a thin-layer cementitious adhesive that will adhere to the cement board and not decompose if wet.
Prepare the adhesive following the assembly instructions. Use a notched trowel to apply the adhesive on the wall. Keep the trowel at about 45 degrees so that the grooves of the adhesive are uniform in height. Do not hide the design lines with the adhesive.
Shape the Tiles
Cut tiles to size with a diamond wet saw. Dry the tiles to make sure they look the way you want. Once you are comfortable with your appearance, find out how the tiles will meet the corners and edges of your wall. Measure the space you need for each row with the gaps and start cutting.
So, for example, suppose your tile wall is five feet long. You put subway tiles, and the tiles are 6", with 1/4" spaces between them. You will need 9.6 tiles for each row to fill this gap, which means nine full tiles and a 3.6 "cut.
If you don't have a wet saw, you can rent one from your local store. However, you can use a tile cutter that probably ends in broken tiles. So, only take this option if you are using cheaper tiles. You can test your dry fit model by making a design stick, which can be made from any straight and level replacement wood piece. Lay the tiles on the floor and mark the design stick with a pencil on the joints.
Install the Tiles
Lay the first row and column of tiles along the design lines, pressing firmly on the tiles and slightly rotating them to incorporate them into the adhesive. Do not slide the tiles into position. Use tile dividers to establish consistent spaces for the grout joints, if necessary. Most tiles have built-in legs that automatically create grout spaces. Continue the installation in this process until you cover the measured area.
If you are tiling a shower wall or bathtub surround, leave a 1/8 inch gap between the tile and the base of the tub or shower to provide a space for caulking.
Do the same if you are installing tiles on the floor or the counter. This space will be filled with caulking, which will allow movement of the horizontal surface. The grout in this space leaves the grout vulnerable to cracking.
Step 4: Grout the Tiles
This is our final step on how to install a tile wall. Grouting occurs after the tile adhesive has fully cured. Choose a sandless or sanded grout based on grout joint width: For joints, up to 1/8 inch wide, use sandless grout; For joints larger than 1/8 inch, use sanded grout. Remove tile spacers, if applicable, before grouting.
Mix the grout following the assembly instructions. Spread over the grout with a rubber float, pressing firmly on the grout in common areas. Make a second diagonal pass through the tiles, pushing the float at a vertical angle to wipe off excess grout from the surfaces.
Mildly wipe the tiles and joints with a grout sponge and clean water. Let the grout settle, then wipe off any grout spray on the sides of the tiles with a soft cloth. Then, fill the empty spaces with 100% silicone caulking.
Now let the grout dry for three hours or as long as recommended in your product instructions. Make sure the area stays dry and has adequate ventilation. Once you have installed all of your tiles, you will want to apply a grout sealer. This will help prevent mold from growing in the crevices and should generally be reapplied every year.
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