Beginner’s guide to tiling a wall

Weber UK

Tiling is easy…right?  Well, laying tiles is relatively easy but laying tiles and doing it well can be a difficult task if you have little or no tiling experience.  

There is a lot to consider before even starting your project such as assessing the condition of the wall and do I need to protect it, where to start tiling from, what adhesive do I need and should I be using powder or ready-mixed?  It can feel like the list goes on and on and then tiling can seem like a daunting task.  After investing heavily on new kitchen or bathroom products the last thing you want to do is an awful tiling job. 

But fret not as we’ve put together a step-by-step guide on ‘tiling a wall for beginners’ to help give you the confidence to do a job that you can be proud of.

Step 1: How many tiles do I need?

Measure the length and width of the wall(s) that you will be tiling onto and multiply the figures to give you the total square meter (m²) area.  Make sure that you take into account the sections that don’t need tiling and subtract this from your measurements.  Once you are sure that your total m² measurement is correct you can then order your tiles.  We recommend that you add on 10% to your tile order to cover any breakages and offcuts.

Step 2: Protect yourself!

Before starting make sure that you have all of the correct personal protective equipment (PPE) for the job in hand.  Wear protective gloves and eye protection at all times when mixing your adhesive and grout and also during the application process.  It is also advisable to wear a dust mask when mixing to prevent you from breathing in harmful dust particles.

Step 3: Preparation

Check the condition of the wall surface (substrate) that you will be tiling onto.  You must ensure that this is clean, completely dry, sound and free from dust, grease or any other contamination.  Any weak/loose surface material or layers should be removed.  Failure to do this could mean problems further down the line so it’s extremely important to get this right! 

You may be considering tiling over existing tiles.  If this is the case then you may want to check out our step by step guide on tiling over tiles

Step 4: Protect water sensitive walls

If you are tiling surfaces that are highly exposed to water such as wet rooms or shower walls then you must protect substrates such as plasterboard and wood from water ingress.  webersys protect is a waterproof, ready-mixed, easy-to-apply under-tile tanking system and ideal for the job!

If you are using larger or heavier tiles then you will need to install a temporary wooden baton to find the level and help support them whilst the adhesive sets.

Measure your wall and mark the centre point. Then draw a vertical level line through this centre point using a spirit level. Mark up the position that you need to start tiling from and use screws to secure the batons into place whilst using your spirit level to check that your batons are still level.

Measure your tile and mark out the centre point on the tile and line this up with your vertical line on the wall and baton. Then mark out the edges of the tile onto the wall and copy this procedure across the wall.

Step 5: Select your tile adhesive

Depending on the type of tiles used, the wall substrate, and its surrounding environment, it's vital you choose the right tile adhesive for the job. 

Our powdered tile adhesives are cement-based and only require the addition of water to get started.  Suitable for most tiling jobs and types of tiles — including ceramic, porcelain and natural stone, as well as larger tiles - powder tile adhesives can also be used in wet areas such as bathrooms or wet rooms.  What's more, with innovations such as Low Dust Technology™, Weber powder adhesives are safer and more convenient to use than ever.

Our ready-mixed adhesives are ideal for tiling areas such as kitchen splashbacks or utility rooms which are not exposed to water.  These tile adhesives are great for smaller projects as you can just pop the lid off and start tiling!  Please note that Weber’s ready-mixed tile adhesives are unsuitable for fixing porcelain tiles and for floor tiling.

For tile size alone Weber recommends:-

For heavier tiles and non-absorbent tiles such as porcelain, glass and slate a powder adhesive should always be used.  For further details to help you choose the right adhesive please see our website, the product packaging or technical datasheet.

Tile weight information   
Porcelain-mosaics, Ceramic-mosaic, Glass mosaic  7-11 kg/m2
Ceramics 9-21 kg/m2
Porcelain 19-26 kg/m2
Stone 10mm thick 30 kg/m2
Stone 20mm thick 60 kg/m2

Step 6: Application

Porous or dusty surfaces should be primed using the correct dilution of weber PR360 and allowed to dry before tiling.

If using a powder adhesive mix according to the product datasheet instructions and apply onto the substrate using a suitable notched trowel, covering up to 1m² at a time (or no more than can be tiled within 10 minutes). Tiles with studded backs may also need a thin coat of adhesive too.

Find the tile that was marked at the centre point and line it up with your vertical line on the wall and baton. This should be your starting point as it's easier to make sure your pattern is symmetrical when tiling.  It also means any half-tiles that you may need can go at the end of each row and will be of equal size. 

Firmly bed the tiles with a slight twisting or sliding action.  Make sure you leave at least 2mm gaps for grout joints, this can be achieved by using a standard tile spacer. 

It is good practice to occasionally remove a tile to ensure that the appropriate contact with the wall is being achieved. On walls subject to wetting the adhesive bed should be free from voids. 

Step 7: Grouting and sealing edges

If using a powder adhesive leave for at least 2 hours before grouting.  Longer is required at less than 5°C or when tiling onto impervious or sealed surfaces.

Before grouting ensure that the tiles are firm, the adhesive has set and the joints are clear of adhesive and free from contamination.  If using natural stone tiles these will need sealing with either a solvent or water-based impregnator to help prevent staining. 

weberjoint premium wall and floor tile grout is suitable for all tile types and for joint widths up to 20mm.  It’s PURE CLEAN technology means that it is more resistant to stains and dirt and is available in a range of 18 colours with matching silicones. 

After mixing, use a squeegee or a rubber float to apply the grout to a small area at a time.  Completely fill the joints leaving no voids and remove any excess grout.  After approximately 25-35 minutes when the grout has become firm in the joints, the tiles should be cleaned with a damp clean emulsifying pad (do not use excessive water). The tiles should now be wiped with a clean damp sponge until all residue is removed.  When dry, polish the tiles with a clean, dry cloth. 

To complete the job use a silicone sealant such as weberjoint silicone to seal the edges. weberjoint silicone is waterproof, highly flexible, has excellent bond strength and is colour matched to weberjoint premium wall and floor tile grout.

Click Compare to help you choose the right product for your project, if you need further assistance please email technical@netweber.co.uk

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