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An Easy Guide to Tiling

Tiling a room is one of the easiest DIY projects to master, plus it can instantly transform the look of your bathroom or kitchen. With our easy tiling guide, you’ll become an expert in no time at all!

Materials

Ceramic; these tiles are widely used due to the selection of colours, sizes, shapes, and finishes available. They’re also highly durable, inexpensive, and great for high moisture areas.

Terracotta; helping to create a cosy and homely look, terracotta looks especially great in family areas such as the kitchen. Terracotta needs sealing every two years or so, but on the upside, it doesn’t get cold like some other tiles, making it ideal for floors as well as walls.

Vinyl; tiles made from vinyl are easy to install, eco-friendly, and less susceptible to cracks and breaks than other tiles. They’re also good value for money and resilient. Unfortunately, they’re not as attractive as ceramic or porcelain.

Stone; there are a variety of stone tiles available including granite, marble, limestone, and slate. Marble and granite can get slippery but they’re easy to clean. Similarly, slate tiles are harder to clean but don’t become as slippery. As a result, stone tiles are suitable for both kitchens and bathrooms, depending on the effect you're going for. Always do your research when picking stone to see which kinds are suitable for your needs and design.

Glass; great for creating a modern look, glass tiles are stain-resistant and easy to clean, making them ideal for splashbacks. Unfortunately, the nature of glass means they can chip easily so it’s best to use them in low traffic areas of a kitchen.

Cement; versatile and available in a variety of patterns and colours, these tiles can be used to create bold effects. Cement tiles are harder to lay and require lots of maintenance, so they’re probably best for low traffic areas and should be used in low quantities as they're incredibly porous and can naturally patina.

Most of these wall tiles are suitable for both kitchens and bathrooms, however, terracotta and glass should only be used in kitchens due to their respective porous and slippery natures.

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Popular Tiling Patterns

Herringbone; a traditional V-shape design, this pattern adds movement and flow to your space which is great if your bathroom or kitchen is on the smaller side.

Brick Bond; this is a simple brick effect pattern that looks especially good as a kitchen splashback. This design can also be done vertically to make your walls look taller.

Linear; another traditional style, this design is made by using square tiles stacked in line with one another.

Diagonal; like the linear pattern, it's made with square tiles. Instead of being used straight like the linear design, the tiles are turned on their edges to create a diamond and are stacked at this angle.

Hexagon; perfect for modern spaces and creating depth to a room, this geometric design can be done using both large and small tiles depending on the style you want to achieve. This pattern is usually done by using specially cut tiles in hexagonal shapes.

Modular; great for adding interest to your wall, modular designs are often created using multiple styles or shapes of tile. The flexibility of this design means you can create something more contemporary or traditional depending on your taste.

Basket Weave; this effect is created by combining pairs of horizontal tiles with vertical ones. This design is best used with rectangular tiles.

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How to Tile a Splashback

  1. Make sure your wall is clean and smooth. Sand down any lumps or bumps and, after washing with warm water and a sponge, wait for it to dry.
  2. Measure your wall and mark with a pencil where you would like to place each tile to give yourself a guide.
  3. Mix your adhesive depending on the type of tile you’ve chosen. Make sure you research your adhesives before you begin and use one that's waterproof behind sinks and in shower recesses.
  4. Apply a generous and even later of your adhesive to the wall using a notched trowel, leaving ridges for better application. Do a small area at a time to stop the adhesive from drying out.
  5. Push the tile into the adhesive and place a spacer along each edge. If creating a mosaic style, spacers aren’t necessary. Repeat until you’ve covered the entire area and wipe the surface to remove any residue.
  6. Once you reach the edges, cut your tiles where appropriate. Manual cutters are best for straight edges, whilst tile scribes are good for thinner tiles. Electric cutters are excellent for creating curves, right angles, straight lines on thicker materials.
  7. Prepare your grout according to the instructions. (Fun tip: Trying using a dark grout with white tiles or vice versa, or coloured grout to create a bright, contemporary look.)
  8. Apply your grout with a grout float at a 45-degree angle. Wipe the tiles clean as you go making sure you don’t make the grout too wet as this can weaken it.
  9. Once completed, leave it to dry for an hour and then return to do a final wipe down and apply sealant if needed.

You can begin tiling from a corner if you would like to, but it all depends on your design. Starting in the middle makes it easier to check your pattern is symmetrical if you’re going for something a little more detailed. How you tile your wall comes down to personal preference and general logistics.

 

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