Fixing Or Laying Tiles
Are you ready to start laying your tiles? Here’s everything you need to know about how to fix or lay your tiles once your surface is clean and ready - see our Surface Preparation Guide before you start.
How To Tile A Floor
With the right information and a little planning, laying floor tiles is the perfect home renovation project for any DIY enthusiast - or even the casual hobby DIYer.
These 5 steps will take you through how to lay tiles once you have prepared your substrate appropriately and waterproofing (if required).
Step 1 Start with your adhesive. If the adhesive is supplied in powder form, follow the manufacturer's instructions to mix. An electric drill that operates at low speed and fitted with a suitable mixing attachment will come in handy to ensure the adhesive is mixed well.
Once mixed, your adhesive should be about the same consistency as toothpaste.
Spread about one square metre of adhesive (or as much as can be laid without it beginning to skin or dry) where you will start laying your tiles. It's a good idea to start along the straight line you would've drawn during the laying out stage.
See our What You’ll Need page for the sized notched trowel required. For most larger sized floor tiles, we recommend you use a 12mm notched trowel to spread the adhesive. By using a notched trowel, the adhesive is applied in an even thickness across the floor. The notched trowel leaves little ridges of adhesive on the floor. Once the tiles are "bedded" into place these notches will flatten out to leave a bed of adhesive half the ridge thickness. Back-butter or spread a coat of adhesive on the back of tiles larger than 40 x 40cm as well as tiles with ridges on the back to ensure full adhesive contact with the tile.
Our Hot Tip: Our dedicated how-to page for surface preparation will ensure you are setting yourself up for success so your tiling job will look amazing and last for years to come. Check it out here.
How To Tile A Wall
With the right information and a little planning, laying wall tiles is the perfect home renovation project for any DIY enthusiast - or even the casual hobby DIYer.
These steps focus on fixing wall tiles. If you are also tiling a floor, check out our guide to installing floor tiles.
Step 1 Follow the adhesive manufacturer’s instructions. Spread the adhesive on the wall with an appropriately sized notched trowel for the size of tile you selected (see our What You’ll Need section). When applying adhesive for wall tiles we always recommend that the notches run horizontally across the wall.
By using a notched trowel, the adhesive is applied in an even thickness across the wall. The notched trowel leaves little ridges of adhesive on the wall. Once the tiles are "bedded" into place, these notches will flatten out to leave a bed of adhesive half the ridge thickness.
Our Hot Tip: Before you get into it, check your boxes of tiles to ensure the shade batch is acceptable and that you have sufficient quantities (with 10% spare) to complete the project.
How To Tile A Kitchen Splashback
The splashback is a key focal point of any good kitchen design. Getting the details right and following through with a high-quality finish on your kitchen splashback tiles can make all the difference to the room that is the heart of your home. Take the time to look at the video and read our guides to learn how to tile a kitchen splashback yourself for the best results on a budget!
Tiles around 200x200mm up to 300x600 are easier to lay, while mosaics are a little more challenging. Give yourself the skills and know-how you need to bring your best splashback ideas to life. A huge slab, that’s a tile up to 3m x 1m is also on-trend, but that one is for the experts to lay. We recommend you call an experienced tiler to install slabs.
Follow the steps below;
- Step 1: Planning
- Step 2: Prepare and clean the surface
- Step 3: Check before you begin
- Step 4: Tile Installation
- Step 5: Grouting
- Step 6: Silicone sealing
Our Hot Tip: Our DIY experts have created a super handy DIY guide that will be your best friend throughout your DIY journey - click here to download.
Step 1 As you plan your new splashback, see our useful reference pages for a list of tools you may need, how to calculate the number of tiles you will need. Your local Beaumont Tiles store will be able to help with product selection, suitable adhesive and grout recommendations.
Step 2 Any tiling job will only be as good as the surface it’s laid on. It’s important to ensure that, no matter what surface you’re tiling on, the surface is firm, level and clean of dust and debris.
Plasterboard is one of the most common indoor wall surfaces but is not suitable for tiling over without preparation. If you tile directly onto plasterboard, you will be adhering tiles to a paper surface and although this may present little problem in dry areas, if the plasterboard is subject to moisture, it may deteriorate causing failure. If there is any risk of moisture being present, only use a suitable moisture-proof plasterboard product or conventional plasterboard can be waterproofed so talk to your Beaumont store for the best waterproofing solution that is compatible with your tile adhesive and tile. Also, check out the advice about other substrate surfaces you can tile on.
Our Hot Tip: Everything you need to know about tiling a splashback is in our handy booklet here.
Step 3 Before you begin tiling a kitchen splashback, ensure that the back of the benchtop is siliconed to the wall. Cover the benchtop with some off-cut sheeting or heavy drop sheets. If there are exposed wires at powerpoints you must turn off all power at the switchboard.
At this point, you should also check your boxes of tiles to ensure the shade batch is acceptable and that you have sufficient quantities (with 10% spare) to complete the project.
You can dry lay tiles in the area to check the blend and position before installing, especially with natural stone, mosaics or tiles with a Variation Rating of V3 or V4. Decide where you want to start tiling. Think about your tile laying pattern and where you might need to cut tiles to fit. Usually, if there is an exposed edge, start one tile in from the edge.
Step 4 Follow the manufacturer’s instructions to mix your adhesive. Spread about one square metre of adhesive or as much as you can manage to tile in 15 minutes (less if it's warmer or you are new to this). You need to have the tiles bedded in the adhesive before it begins to skin over.
Use an appropriately sized notched trowel for the tile size (see the tools required list and the adhesive instructions). We typically use a 6mm or 8mm notched trowel for splashback tiles. A 6mm notch will leave a bed of adhesive 3mm thick once the tile is in place which is the minimum recommended. When applying adhesive for wall tiles, we always recommend that the notches run horizontally across the wall.
Press the tile into the adhesive. The key to success is to make sure that the tile is flat and level and that you have full contact coverage of the adhesive on the back of the tile. You want to avoid any hollow spaces behind the tiles. Lift a tile occasionally to check you have complete adhesive contact all over the tile.
If laying mosaics, you can use a grout float to push the sheets down to give them a flat finish but don’t press so hard that the adhesive fills the joints. Don’t forget to clean off excess adhesive as you go.
It is important to keep all joint widths straight and the same width. Place one arm of a tile spacer between tiles to keep the grout joints uniform. These will be removed later before grouting. Check the flatness and level of all tiles as you lay them.
How To Lay Natural Stone
Laying natural stone is similar to laying ceramic or porcelain tiles but with slight differences. Generally, we recommend using professional installers for laying stone tiles; but the careful and thorough do-it-yourselfer can also achieve a professional-looking finish. Our staff are always available with helpful advice and tips, and we can recommend a professional installer if you choose to use one.
Natural stone should be unpacked and fully dried before installation. If the stone is damp it will be darker in colour but lighten as it dries. It is always recommended to dry lay the stone before installation to check the colour shades and pattern placement before fixing. Put aside any pieces you don’t like as much and they can be used for cutting.
Any tiling job will only be as good as the surface it is laid on. The substrate or surface to be tiled should be flat, firm, dry and clean of all contaminants. See the sections on preparation and laying out exterior areas.
The ideal substrate surface for natural stone is a properly prepared and dried (for 28 days minimum) concrete slab. Plan and mark the centre lines and tiling layout in the area in the same way as you do when installing floor tiles or wall tiles.
Our preferred method is to fix with a cement-based, flexible adhesive that is specifically recommended for installing natural stone and that is suitable for the conditions outside. Always use a white or light colour adhesive for light-coloured and white stones to avoid discolouration. Never install stone during extremely high or low temperatures. Ideally, install between 10℃ and 25℃. Never store stone in direct sunlight before installing (so the stone does not become hot and cause the adhesive to skin).
Natural stone is more absorbent than porcelain tiles so moisture is absorbed from the adhesive into the stone, darkening the colour. While some stones are specifically described as moisture sensitive and require special fast setting adhesives, as a general rule with natural stone, the faster the adhesive sets, the better. This will minimise moisture absorbed and assist in drying out the stone fully before grouting with minimal discolouration or curling.
Our Hot Tip: Our handy DIY Made Easy for Outdoor tiles guide is here to help you further!
10 Things NOT To Do When Fixing
Our handy DIY Guide has all the information you need, you can download it and have our tips on hand.
- Incorrect or no expansion joints: failure to use the correct expansion joints and tiling over construction joints will make your tiles too rigid, and they will crack or buckle during movement or expansion and contraction of the building.
- Incorrect choice of adhesive. This is one of the most common causes of tile fixing failure that we see. See our page on How to Choose Grout and Adhesives for more information.
- Allowing the adhesive to dry out before fixing the tiles.
- Contaminated background. Ensure that the surface and area that you are tiling is properly cleaned before commencing tiling.
- Poor or incorrect surface preparation.
- Poor adhesive coverage. This can result from not using the correct notched trowel, using the spot-fixing method, or allowing voids behind the tiles.
- Unsatisfactory bed thickness. Ensure that you use the correct notched trowel when applying adhesive.
- Excessive movement in the substrate.
- Dust or lose backwash not removed from the backs of tiles. Ensure that the backs of tiles are clean and dry before laying tiles.
- An incorrect mixing ratio of adhesive powder and liquid. Always follow the manufacturer's directions, and always add the adhesive to the water to ensure a smooth mixture.
Our Hot Tip: Surface preparation is key when you are about to start fixing your tiles. If in doubt, contact your local Beaumont store for expert help.