Introduction

Before you start tiling, make sure you have planned your tile arrangement. Generally, you can tile from furring strip to ceiling in a day using the method shown here. If you do not use rigid plastic spacers flat against the wall, you should tile to a height of 5 foot, then leave the adhesive to dry for at least 12 hours before continuing. Allow the adhesive to dry fully before grouting.

Step 1

Attach the Furring Strips

Nail the horizontal furring strip to the wall at your chosen starting point. Use a level to keep it straight (Image 1), and use a wire detector to check for wires before hammering the nails. Make sure you will be able to remove the furring strip easily.

Place the vertical furring strip at the edge of your design, marking the start of the first vertical row of complete tiles. Nail the second strip at right angles to the first (Image 2).

Step 2

Placing the First Tiles

Apply the adhesive with a notched trowel, pushing it into the right angle created by the furring strips. Cover no more than 10 sq ft (1 sq m) at a time (Image 1).

Spread the adhesive by pulling the notched trowel's serrated edge through it, several times if necessary, to make sure it is even. This improves the adhesion of each tile (Image 2).

Place the first tile in the right angle of the two furring strips. Place the second tile beside it, remembering to leave a sufficient gap between them for the first spacer (Image 3). Press firmly, with a very slight twisting motion.

Place the spacer flat between the inside top corners of the two tiles (Image 4). Stand a spacer at right angles to the wall at the bottom of the gap between the two tiles.

Step 3

Building Up the Tile Levels

Add further tiles, building up the levels as you progress across the wall, adding spacers between the tiles. Use a level to check regularly that the rows are straight (Image 1).

As tiling progresses, check that the tile surface is even. Hold a furring strip with a straight edge across the tiles, and see if it lies flat on every tile (Image 2).

Step 4

Measuring to Fill Gaps and Corners

Allow the completed area of tiles to dry fully — for at least 12 hours, but ideally overnight. Then remove the horizontal furring strip by prying out the nails with a claw hammer (Image 1).

Measure the remaining gap at every point where a tile will be placed, since widths may vary along the wall. Remember to allow space for grout joints (Image 2).

Step 5

Applying Cut Tiles

Mark the measurements on a tile using a felt-tip pen (Image 1). If you have planned correctly, you will need approximate half-tiles, rather than slivers.

To score the tile, grip it in your tile cutter, with the glazed surface facing upward. Push the lever away from you to score along the marked guide line (Image 2).

Depending on the cutter design, either position the tile in the cutter's jaws or below its mechanism, before applying downward pressure to the lever to split the tile in two (Image 3).

Smooth any rough edges with a tile file (Image 4). Before placing cut tiles, spread adhesive on the back of the tile. It is easier to add adhesive to a cut tile than to the wall space.

Position the tile on the wall. To complete the wall, continue along the row to fill the horizontal gap (Image 5). Remove the vertical furring strip and repeat the process, working upward.

Step 6

Grouting Tiles

Wearing a glove, use a damp sponge to wipe off any excess grout while it is still wet (Image 1). Avoid rubbing the grout out of the tile joints.

Use a grout shaper or finger to neaten the grout line (Image 2), then wipe again with a clean, damp sponge. After the grout has dried, polish the tiles with a dry cloth to remove any residue. Shape the grout to give a smooth, even finish.

Step 7

Alternative Measuring Techniques

Measuring by Hand (Image 1)
For pinpoint accuracy, turn the tile face inward and mark the edges, allowing for grout joints.

Using a Measuring Jig (Image 2)
Tile cutters often have a measuring jig that quickly calculates widths plus grout space. This is then inserted into the cutter as a guide.