How To Install Ceramic Wall Tiles?

Ceramic wall tile is an excellent choice for bathrooms and kitchens thanks to its long-term durability and resistance to moisture and stains. It also offers a vast array of colors and patterns to suit any design scheme. 

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The trick to installing wall tile is to lay out the tiles so that the grout lines are level and plumb and that trimmed portions of the tile are symmetrical from side to side. This is critical because a poorly-planned layout can result in crooked joints, uneven edges, and lippage–where a tile’s edge is higher or lower than its neighbors. 

Professionals are skilled at laying out a tile job so that the tiles are installed in a straight line, centered on the walls. They also make sure that the trimmed tile is not too narrow and that the joint between the trimmed tile and the floor is wide enough for the grout to run smoothly. 

Step 1: Choose a Backerboard

Before you install ceramic wall tile, it is important to select the correct backing material. This is especially true if the wall is subject to water exposure, such as in a bathroom or shower area. Common drywall is suitable for this type of installation, but you should consider using a cement fiber backer board in areas where moisture will be present. 

Step 2: Layout the Tiles

When choosing a wall-tile pattern, consider how much traffic will be passing through the space and what color and style will best match it. It’s also a good idea to consider the type of flooring that is going to be under the tile. 

For instance, if you’re tiling over an existing gypsum board or painted wall, you may need to apply a coat of primer to ensure that the new surface is smooth and flat before applying tiles. 

Measure and Cut the Tiles

Before starting to install your ceramic wall tile, make sure that the floor and walls are level. Use a tape measure to measure from the center of one wall to the edge of its closest tile. If the measurement is less than 2 inches, adjust the center tile until it’s a uniform width along the entire row of tiles. 

Repeat this process for the other walls, and make sure that each line of wall-adjustment tile is evenly spaced. 

Step 3: Spread the Tile Adhesive

Before you start to set your wall-tile pattern, you need to spread a layer of tile adhesive over the wall to create a setting bed for the tiles. With the trowel recommended on the adhesive package, spread a thin coat over an area of 3 to 4 linear feet at a time. Then, using the notched side of the trowel, comb the adhesive into standing ridges. Continue this process until the adhesive has covered the entire wall. 

Once the tile adhesive is dry, you can begin laying your tiles. Just be sure to follow the instructions on the tile adhesive package and don’t apply a larger area than can be set in 15 minutes. If you have any questions, talk to your local tile supply store for help.