How To Build A Tile Wall

What You'll Need
Plywood or Drywall (optional)
Tape Measure

Building a tile wall in your home will add beauty and value. It’s a two step process that can be achieved easily by anyone with time, patience, and the right materials.

Step 1- Getting Started

Most people will add the tile wall over an existing wall since this is the easiest way. If, however, you actually want a new wall altogether, you can do this by constructing one yourself. For most tiles it’s advisable to build a heavy duty drywall rather than the flimsy plywood method.

If you want a wall that is more secure, you can build a wall with standard measures by using drywall and a frame. This will create a permanent structure in your home, and looks great as a separation between two rooms, a backsplash in a kitchen or shower, or a room divider for very large rooms.

Step 2- Choosing the Tile

The type of tile you choose to use will have a lot to do with how it’s installed. You also need to take the room purpose in to consideration. A small room with moisture and humidity, like a laundry room or bathroom, you want to make sure the tile won’t absorb a lot of the moisture. Certain ceramic tiles should not be used in these areas.

Step 3- Buying the Tile

When you purchase your tile, you want to make sure you are purchasing enough to allow for the broken tiles that will inevitably come with the other tiles. Most experts will tell you to allow for as much as 3% of the total tiles to come broken. These pieces can often be used later, sometimes you can use these to cut if you need to cut any.

Step 4- Prepare the Wall

Before you start you will want to patch any holes that are in the wall, and make sure it is clean and dusted. Even a small amount of dust can affect how well the tiles will adhere to the wall.

Using a level, a tape measure, and a pencil, mark off intersecting lines both horizontal and vertical. Make sure you account for the space for not just the tile, but the grout around them. This will serve as your guide to place the tiles.

Some people will mark off the squares with pins. This will help give you a visual guide since the adhesive will cover the marking, the pins can be seen through the adhesive.

Step 5- Tile the Wall

Press the first tile in the adhesive firmly. You want to twist the tile slightly to give it a better grip. You can realign this as long as the adhesive hasn’t dried completely. Now that you have the first tile placed, you have a visual guide for the remainder of the tile.

For any tiles that need to be cut, you need to use a tile cutter to get clean lines. You can use a hand held sander to smooth down any rough parts left behind.

Continue to work in three foot sections until the entire wall is completed. If you’ve used pins to give you a better sight guide, go ahead and remove these. Give the wall at least 12 hours for the adhesive to dry thoroughly.

Step 6- Finishing Touches

Mix up the grout and start placing it between the tiles. A damp cloth works to remove excess grout that may have gotten on the tiles while applying. You can also use soft sticks to remove any grout that gets crusted on the tiles. Make sure it’s soft though because you don’t want to scratch the tile.

You can use a damp sponge to go back over the wall and remove any grout residue from the wall once you’re done.

If you’ve installed the wall in a shower or bathroom, wait at least 24 hours for everything to dry completely before getting the tile wet.