How many tiles do I need?
To calculate the approximate number of tiles you will need, measure the length of the area you’re planning to tile and divide that by the length of each tile; then do the same with the width. Round up both of these numbers and multiply them together to give you the amount of tiles needed. Include extra tiles to account for breakages.
What equipment do I need?
Any tiler will tell you that using the correct equipment will make the job a lot easier. The essential tiling toolkit includes:
- Tape measure
- Spirit level
- Tile cutter or jigsaw
- Tile file
- Adhesive trowel
- Sealant gun
- Grout spreader
- Tile spacer
If you don’t have this equipment available, see if you can hire it from a tool hire service, such as Lord Tools.
Tiling your kitchen walls
- Consider how you wish to lay your tiles. Cut tiles are usually placed in the corner and near the ceiling, whereas it is more common to place your whole tile at the side of the wall closest to a room’s entrance.
- Plan the layout of your tiles by lining them up on the floor with spacers in between them. Use a long piece of wood and mark on the beginning and end of each tile.
- Measure halfway up your wall and mark it at each side with a pencil. Use a spirit level to draw a horizontal line across it. Then measure down to the floor from this line using your marked piece of wood. Line the wood up so that a whole tile can be placed on the bottom row, and mark a new line on the wall where the nearest full tile to your halfway mark is. This is your new halfway mark.
- When cutting your tiles, use your tile cutter to score a deep line along where you want to cut. If the line is deep enough, you should be able to either snap the tile along the score mark, or use a pair of pliers to chip away at the unwanted tile until you get to the line. It may be worth practicing if you have a tile surplus or old, unwanted tiles lying around.
- Make sure the surface you wish to tile is clean and dry. If it’s uneven, flatten it before you start the job, or cover the surface with a layer of plywood.
- Loosely nail a wooden guide to the wall underneath the row of tiles you wish to start at. Spread the adhesive on the wall around the area you wish to tile; do not cover the full wall, however, as it will dry before you fit your tile. Place your tiles firmly on the wall, using spacers to ensure even spaces in between.
- After you’ve finished a horizontal row, fix another row above it. Ensure that your tiles are lined up and that all spaces between tiles are equal. Do not remove the wooden batten until all adhesive is dry, otherwise the tiles may slide out of line.
- Allow 24 hours for the adhesive to dry, then apply your grout using a squeegee, making sure to get it in all of the spaces between the tiles. Smooth/remove any excess grout before giving it time to dry. After it dries, polish the surface of the tiles with a damp cloth to restore shine.
Tiling your kitchen floor
- The patch of floor as you enter the room is the most immediately visible, so use this as your starting point. Use whole tiles here and cut your tiles when you get to the opposite wall.
- Plan the layout of your tiles by lining them up on the floor with spacers in between them. Use a long piece of timber to mark the beginning and end of each tile, you can then use it to lay your tiles up against.
- Remember that laying floor tiles will increase the height of your floor, so you may need to detach your door from its hinges and adjust it before you lay your tiles.
- Floor tiles are thicker than wall tiles, so you may need an electric tile cutter or jigsaw with a tile cutting attachment. Always wear safety goggles as dust and debris from thicker tiles can be very dangerous. Make sure that your utilities are covered up with a sheet to protect them from damage.
- Ensure that your floor is completely flat before laying your tiles. If the floor consists of exposed floorboards, you will definitely need to cover them with a large plywood board before laying your tiles.
- Choose an appropriate adhesive. Bear in mind that you may wish to use a waterproof adhesive for your kitchen or bathroom floors. Apply it on the surface and install tiles with reasonable pressure.
- Never cut border tiles in advance, as the already laid tiles may shuffle as the job progresses.
- Allow 24 hours for the adhesive to dry before applying the grout. Apply grout more generously in areas that are more likely to get wet, such as near a sink or washing machine. Leave the grout to dry before polishing tiles with a damp cloth.