Guide to Tiling

How to tileAsk advice about the correct grout and adhesive for your tiles and the surface you are laying them on. It is very important not to cut corners by using inferior or unsuitable products and could lead to costly problems.

The choice will vary depending on –

    Material you are using – ceramic, porcelain, natural stone, glass, hand made

    Surface you are laying them on – floor, wall, interior, exterior, plasterboard, screed, wood

    Conditions in that area – dry, damp, hot, cold, wet areas

    Ability of tiler - some products are either fast or slow setting

Preparation is very important –

    We would always recommend using a tanking system in wet rooms and shower areas, please ask for details

    New plaster should be very dry, preferable left for 4 weeks.

    Old plaster needs to be stable, clean and dust free.

    Plasterboard should be no less than 12.5 cm thick and clean and dust free.

    Painted surfaces need to be clean, sound and free of dust.

    Tiles can be tiled over but only if they are very well stuck down, clean, grease and dust free. A primer is needed and an polymer additive should beconsidered

    New concrete should not be tiled on for at least six weeks

    Uneven levels can be remedied by using a self levelling compound, please ask for details

    Wooden floors need to be made as firm as possible, removing potential for movement as much as possible, this can be done by screwing down plywood to thejoists, using a decoupling membrane or tile backing board. Flexible adhesive and grout are essential. You should ask for advise on the method best suited to your situation.

    If you are tiling over underfloor heating please check with the manufacturer for the recommended tiling procedure. You will need a suitably qualified electrician to connect the system. You will need to allow for expansion joints.

    Large floor areas will also need expansion joints.

    Check the wall is suitable for the weight of the tiles, for plasterboard the tiles should be no more than 32kg per m2

Tools, you will need –

    Tape measure

    Spirit level

    Wooden battens – 2” by 1”

    Tile cutter, nippers and for porcelain and natural stone use a wet or dry diamond blade

    Trowel to apply adhesive

    Grout float

    Spacers – crosses or pegs, size depending on grout joint width


Fixing Wall tiles 

Plan each wall before you start and take into consideration light switches, sockets, windows and tile pattern.

You will need to make cuts so try and make them even and not too small. You can use a wooden baton to mark out the tile width, including a 2mm grout space to help setting out 

Start at the lowest point of the wall, and using the spirit level draw a line at the top of the tile (this may be a cut tile depending on setting out). On this line nail a baton to the wall; this will be the level you start tiling from. Using the spirit level draw a vertical line one width away from edge of the wall. This will help you keep straight.

Spread adhesive on an area of about a metre and begin sticking the tiles on, using spacers if required. Use the spirit level regularly and work in small areas. Remove any excess adhesive from the joints.

Leave to dry for 12 hours before grouting. Spread the grout over the joints pushing it in between the tiles. Remove any excess with a sponge – tiling sponges are preferable. Wash out the sponge regularly. Finally wipe over the tiles and polish with a dry cloth 

Fixing Floor Tiles

Remove any fixture and fittings, tiling will raise the level of the floor, make sure this has been taken into consideration before you start.

Start from the centre of the room by making a straight line, – this can be done with chalk. Lay the first row of tiles leaving a suitable space for grout or by using spacers and then work towards the wall. Check that any cuts will not be too small and adjust if necessary.

Following the instructions on the adhesive, mix and using a notched trowel spread in the floor. Spread a thin layer on the back of the tile and press firmly into the floor with a slight twist. Using a damp cloth wipe excess adhesive from surface of the tiles before it dries. Work in small areas and use the spirit level to make sure the tiles are flat and straight.

Leave to dry for 24 hours and the tiles are firmly set. Using suitable grout, push into joints with a squeegee, wiping off the excess as you go, as it is much more difficult to remove once dried.