Basic Tiling and GroutingTiling is a much easier DIY job than many people think. With time and patience and a little common sense you will be impressed by the excellent results. Read our guide below on ceramic wall and floor tiling and you will soon be ready to get started.

Benefits of Tiling

Floor and wall tiles look great and can finish off any room beautifully. Tiles are water resistant and heat resistant therefore ideal for bathrooms and kitchens. They are easy to mop and keep clean. Tiles are normally hard wearing and require little maintenance so are ideal for conservatories and porches too. Tiles come in a multitude of sizes and colours and because they are laid individually you can create a very original look for your home.

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Be Prepared

  • Measure surfaces accurately allowing for a few extra tiles for breakages and any future repairs.
  • Remember ceramic tiles vary enormously in price so it is worth shopping around.
  • Choose adhesive carefully. Heat or water resistant as required. Follow manufacturer’s instructions.
  • Allow for grouting spaces when mapping out the area.
  • Always use the correct tools.
  • All surfaces must be clean, flat and dry. Rub the area with a clean dry cloth to prepare for the adhesive.
  • It’s perfectly ok to tile over older tiles as long as the surface is flat and the tiles are firmly secured.
  • Remove broken or loose tiles if necessary.
  • Reline the surface with chip or plaster board if required.

Tools and Equipment


  • Tiles.
  • Tile spacers.
  • Towel or spatula for laying adhesive to the walls or floor.
  • A notched plastic spreader. Drawn through the adhesive to leave a series of ridged lines this prepares a good sticking surface for the tiles.
  • Tile cutter. 20px break tile2
  • Tile file and clippers for making holes and corners and smoothing rough edges.
  • Hammer, spirit level and screwdriver. If necessary use these for fixing wooden battens to create a perfect edge for wall tiles.
  • Adhesive.
  • Grouting. Either powder to be mixed with water or ready made.

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Think It Through

The position of the first tile determines the final result. With walls you can work from bottom to top but always think before you start what the end result will be. Remember a well planned room will have equal sized tiles at edges and corners to ensure it looks symmetrical. Locating the point in the centre of the square (the wall or floor area) to be tiled is a useful technique. You can then divide the area into four sections and work out your tiles in a pattern from the centre of each quarter. You should also think carefully about the arrangement of your tiles in relation to furniture, the entrance to the room, the layout of the room etc.

Step By Step


  • Spread only enough adhesive to cover an area of about one square metre in order to prevent premature drying.
  • Press ceramic tiles firmly into position then twist slightly to bed them in.
  • Place the next tile alongside using a plastic tile spacer to obtain evenly spaced gaps. Continue until you have run out of adhesive then apply more adhesive and start again. 20px break tile4
  • If you place a tile clumsily immediately remove it and replace it before it has a chance to stick.
  • When all the full size tiles are in position start cutting odd shaped tiles to size.
  • For ceramic tiles you need to score across the line with your scribing tile cutter. You then snap the tile with a heavy duty tile cutter to make a clean break.

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  • When the tiles have been in place long enough to dry you need to fill grout into the joints.
  • Check the label for drying times.
  • When buying grouting, ensure that you use a complimentary colour. 20px break tile6
  • If you are using a mix make up only a small amount. Use a sponge or rubber squeegee to force the grout into all the gaps, wiping off the excess with a sponge as you work.
  • Use a piece of thin dowel or a pencil with a rounded end to smooth the grouting joints and create a nice finish.
  • Allow to dry then polish with a dry, clean cloth.
  • Dust carefully over the following weeks. You can use a slightly moist cloth if you like but do not wet the grout.

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Style Tips

Tiling is fun and fairly easy to do once you think it through. You can also have a lot of fun thinking about your design and choice of colours. But as a final tip it is worth knowing that in most cases its best not to overdo the colour combinations in your pattern. Best effects are usually obtained using one or two colours.

Pattern or different coloured tiles usually look best:

  • Limited to one wall in an otherwise plain room.
  • As a line along a plain wall.
  • Interspaced creatively but sparingly amongst a plain wall.