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How to Tile a Kitchen Wall

A tiled kitchen, when done well, can be a real feature for your home, so it’s no wonder that it’s a popular DIY project to carry out. It’s a satisfying project to do, but it’s not something to rush into, especially if you’ve never done it before. Take a look at our step-by-step guide to make sure your next tiling job is a success.

What you’ll need

1. Work out how many tiles you need

If you need help with this, your best bet is to ask one of our friendly staff members. But, if you want to work it out yourself then you’ll need to do a bit of maths. First work out the size of the area you’ll be covering by doing:

HEIGHT OF AREA (m) x WIDTH OF AREA (m) = AREA IN SQUARE METRES (m²)

You’ll then need to work out how many tiles this equates to, which depends on the size of your tiles. First convert the size of your tiles from millimetres to metres by dividing it by 1000 and then do this calculation:

AREA IN SQUARE METRES (m²) ÷ SIZE OF TILES (m²) = NUMBER OF TILES

Finally, add about 10% extra to that number to account for any tiles that might get broken and any cutting you’ll need to do for the edges.

2. The batten

Nail down your batten using the hammer to provide a straight and level guideline to sit your first row of tiles on. If your first row of tiles is straight then your subsequent rows above should be, too, so it is essential to get this right.

3. The adhesive

Apply the adhesive with your notched trowel all along the bottom of your tiling area, with enough height to accommodate one layer of tiles. Use the notches to draw grooves of equal depth all along the line of adhesive, with the batten as your guideline.

4. Tile the first layer

Now you get to place your first tile. In order to make sure that it goes in properly, twist it into the adhesive and make sure it sits flush against the batten. Put tile spacers right next to the tile and then place your next tile in next to those. Make sure the spacers are pushed firmly in so they’re sunk in between the tiles. Keep going until you’ve filled up the entire bottom row of tiles. We’ll sort out any gaps at the edge later on.

5. Check your next tile layer and do the rest

Place down the next layer in the same way. Then check the tiles you’ve put down already to see if they are all level with each other, in terms of how far they protrude from the wall. If any stick out too much or are sunk in, compared with the rest, then pry them out and then remove or add some adhesive to ensure they’re level. Tile the rest of the main area. As you tile, it’s good to wipe away any excess adhesive while it’s still wet.

6. Edges

For the gap you might have at the edges of your tiling, you’ll need to cut some tiles to fit. Measure the gap, making sure you take into account the width of the tile spacers. Mark this measurement on your tiles with the chalk and stick them in your tile cutter. Apply the adhesive directly to the back of the tile edge sections and place them down in the gap.

7. Leave to dry

The adhesive will take several hours to dry, so double check that all of the tiles are even. Leave them overnight to give the adhesive ample time to dry. Once you’re sure it’s dry, you can remove the batten by prying out the nails with the hammer.

8. Fill in the batten gap

The batten will have left a gap in your tiling at the bottom, so fill it in. Measure the gap and cut the tiles just like you did with the edge tiles.

9. The grout

Mix your grout and put some on your grout float. Then use the float to apply the grout to the gaps created by the tile spacers. Press it firmly into the gaps, making sure to cover up the spacers entirely. Make sure to regularly wipe away the excess grout while it’s still wet. When the grout begins to harden you can press it with the grout finisher to create a neat finish.

10. Final clean

When you’re finished grouting, give the whole surface a quick buff with a dry cloth just to get rid of excess grout. That’s it, you’re done and you can admire your tiling masterpiece.