How to Tile on Plastered Walls

I love how you can use the Internet for finding out “how to” do this and that. Since neither my husband nor myself are particularly handy we usually get professional help, but it is actually quite rewarding to do-it-yourself. Still, it is a good idea to check with the experts first. Matt Milstead, who is the author of this guest post, is an expert on tiling. He shares his knowledge in a straight forward way, for our benefit. It certainly makes my fingers itch to give tiling a chance. Enjoy!

For homeowners looking for an easy and simple way to change the look of a room while adding a layer of protection to a plastered wall, tiling can be a great option.

The supplies and tools needed to tile plastered walls are available at most hardware and home improvement stores. Almost any homeowner can perform this straightforward project, creating a personal touch and new style to just about any room.

Tiling is also a fun project and is a popular form of bathroom renovations in Brisbane.

Tools

• Wall tiles (purchase extra in case of breakage or mistake correction)
• Wall primer sealant
• Notched trowel
• A large paint roller
• Tile cutter
• Tape measure
• Pencil with eraser
• Spirit level
•Tile adhesive (read the product to ensure it works with the selected tile material)
•Grout
• Float rubber grout trowel
•Large sponge
• Tile spacers (illustration)

Preparation

Preparation for wall tiling is as important as the actual tiling process itself. Allow at least two weeks after fresh wall plastering before starting to tile. In addition, if the wall is older, there may be internal hollows that are difficult to see. Gently tap the plaster and listen for any hollow sounds, indicating that there is a crack, hollow or loose material inside the wall. If so, repair any holes with filler and allow to dry for several days. If necessary, re-plaster the entire wall and wait 14 days before moving forward with the tiling process.

Make sure that the plaster surface is clean and dry before you begin. Moreover, if you are tiling in a wet room (such as kitchen or bathroom), first apply a layer of cement board to the wall. This will make the plaster wall waterproof and help prevent the development of mold.

If the space is not a wet room, apply a layer of sealing primer over the plaster and allow to dry for 24 hours.

Tiling the Wall

1. Prepare the Layout

Measure the wall where the tiles will go and then set out your tiles on the floor to match the measured dimensions. This will allow you to see how the result will look and make changes before you actually attach the tiles to the wall. Try to keep as many whole tiles along the edges of the outline as possible to avoid having to cut tiles into smaller shapes or sizes.

2. Mark the Wall

Carefully use a spirit level and a tape measure to find the exact middle of the wall. Make a vertical line at the middle of the wall to create two halves of the wall visually.

3. Apply Adhesive

Apply a thin, even layer of adhesive to the marked line using a notched trowel. Carefully spread the adhesive up along the line using horizontal strokes to create a square that is approximately 3 feet in size with a thickness of approximately 1/8 inch.

Hold the trowel at a 45-degree angle and move carefully so that the ridges are equal in size and thickness across the entire square. Be sure to keep the adhesive thin enough that the pencil line is visible underneath. Note that adhesive dries quickly, so you need to be ready to apply the tiles immediately after applying the adhesive.

4. Lay the Tiles

Set the first tile on the adhesive layer with the pencil line creating a border along the edge of the tile. Align a tile spacer next to the first tile and then lay the next tile next to it. Lay tiles around the first tile until the first adhesive square is covered.

Apply a new layer of adhesive in another 3 foot square next to the newly completed tiles and continue to lay tiles on top of the adhesive. Place tile spacers between each tile.

When all tiles are set on the wall, carefully wipe the tiles with a barely damp cloth to remove any excess adhesive.

Allow the tiles to set for 24 hours and then remove the tile spacers. If additional tiles need to be applied along the edges, apply a thin layer of adhesive and the new tiles, then let the entire wall dry for 24 hours again.

5. Grout the Wall

Once the wall is dry, apply a thin layer of grout using a rubber trowel, moving from top to bottom per the grout manufacturer’s instructions. Press the grout deep into the crevices between the tiles to create an even surface.

Gently wipe the tile surface with a damp cloth when finished to remove excess grout. Allow the wall to dry for two to three days, depending upon the grout manufacturer’s directions.

Once the grout is fully dry, wipe the wall with a clean, damp cloth and enjoy your new tile wall.

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