Tile Preparation

Whether you are a tiling pro or a DIY novice, being well prepared will help you get the perfect finish on your walls and floor!

Plan the design

Always plan the design and layout on paper first, taking into account fixtures and fittings in the room. This is especially important if you are mixing shapes and designs.

Tiles, tools & adhesives

Make sure you have the correct number of tiles and sufficient adhesive and grout to complete the job. To work out how many tiles you need, the Tile Depot has its very own Tile Calculator which can be found on all our tile product pages.

Make sure you have all the tiling equipment you need close at hand. You might want to read our What You Will Need for Tiling guide to make sure you have the right tools to get the job done.

Preparing the surface for tiling

Ensure the surface to be tiled is clean, dry and flat. You can check for bumps or dips by laying a straight edge or spirit level horizontally/vertically on the floor/wall. If there is a large undulation it is best to correct it before you start tiling, otherwise you may end up with protruding or dipping corners or edges. Repair any holes or cracks with a suitable filler and allow plenty of time for it to dry completely before you start tiling.

Before tiling a floor, remove any inward opening doors, as tiling will raise the level of the floor and the base of the door may need to be adjusted before being refitted.

Make sure the surface you are tiling onto is suitable.

Tiling on plaster

If you are tiling onto new plaster, make sure it is completely dry. The time allowed will depend on the manufacturer. You should also check the manufacturer’s instructions as the plaster may need a coat of primer before tiling. As a guide, you’ll need to allow 2 weeks on a skim and 6 weeks on full bond coat and skim.

Tiling on concrete

If you are tiling onto concrete, you need to make sure that the surface is flat, smooth and free from dirt and grease. If you are tiling onto new concrete it should be left for at least 6 weeks before tiling.

Tiling on wooden floors

If you are tiling onto wooden flooring, make sure the original boards are well fixed and that there is sufficient ventilation below them. We recommend overlaying existing floor boards with no more ply or plastic ply.

Tiling over existing tiles

If you are tiling over existing tiles make sure any loose tiles are removed and the existing floor is sound. Remember that the overall thickness will increase and may cause problems tiling up to edges or door frames. Before starting, you’ll need to remove any grease and dirt with a detergent. When clean, score the existing tiles vertically and horizontally – this will help to bond the existing tiles with the new ones.

Removing existing tiles

If you are removing existing tiles, it’s easiest to do this with a claw hammer or bolster. Make sure you are wearing protective clothing and goggles. If you are removing tiles from a wall, make sure you cover and protect the floor, furniture and fittings first. Point the thin edge of the hammer towards the adhesive joint and carefully chip away.