How to Tile on Plastered Walls

Introduction

Adding tiles to a room is a fantastic way to create a personal statement through a personal design, and will certainly help refresh a room while protecting interior walls in the process. Tiling a plastered wall is very straightforward - by following these guidelines, you too can achieve a beautiful outcome on your wall of choice.

What you will need;

  • Your choice of wall tiles
  • Sealing wall primer
  • Paint roller
  • Tape measure
  • Pencil
  • Spirit level
  • A notched trowel
  • Suitable tile adhesive
  • Tile spacers
  • A tile cutter
  • Grout
  • A rubber grout trowel (float)
  • Sponge

Preparation

Preparation is the key to success. If your wall is freshly plastered, you must ensure that it has been left for 14 days to fully dry before the process can move forward. If the plaster is old, it may be worth checking it for cracks, loose materials and hollows - all you need to do is tap the plaster and listening out for any hollows. Of course, it is important that you repair any gaps with filler or even re-plaster several parts if necessary.
If you're tiling a wet room, you should install a layer of cement board to give a waterproof, stable foundation. If this is not necessary, a coat of sealing primer directly on the plaster will give you a great base, so long as it is given 24 hours to dry. If you are tiling a pattern, organise the layout before you begin so no time is lost and mistakes are avoided.

1) Mark out your guideline

Using a pencil, tape measure and spirit level, mark out a vertical line that halves the wall space - this will set out the starting point from which you will tile above and below. Plan your project so that you use as many complete tiles as possible and that you are not using cut tiles along the wall you see when you walk into the room. Also be sure to avoid the possibility of having to cut very small tiles at the edges, as this can be extremely difficult and will look untidy upon completion.

2) Apply the adhesive

Using the notched trowel, spread a scoop of adhesive onto the wall from the top of the line, working upwards. Cover about one square metre of the wall with adhesive at a thickness of around an eighth of an inch. When you spread over the line, you should still be able to see it underneath. Use horizontal strokes when doing it, holding the blade at a 45-degree angle, creating ridges that will give an equal amount of adhesive under each tile. It is important to limit the amount of adhesive you apply, ensuring that it does not start to set before you have time to lay your chosen tiles.

3) Laying the tiles

Press the first tile onto the adhesive so that the pencil line borders the edge. Using tile spacers between each one, evenly lay tiles around the first tile and spread more adhesive over the wall as you go. Continue spreading further sections of adhesive at a rate of one square metre at a time until all the complete tiles are laid. Any excess adhesive needs to be wiped away before you leave the tiles to set for 24 hours. Remove the spacers and lay pre-cut tiles around the edges where necessary, before leaving to dry once more.

4) Grouting the area

Once the adhesive has dried out, remove the spacers and begin to grout between the tiles from top to bottom, following the manufacturer's instructions. Spread it into the gaps using the rubber trowel and press it deep inside, wiping off any excess with a damp sponge or cloth. Leave the grout to dry - this often takes as long as two to three days, though check the grout itself for specific recommendations - and then polish and clean the tiles for a fantastic finish.