how to install wall tile sheets

Remove the plastic film after the tile has had time to harden. Hold the notched trowel/spreader at an angle of 45 degrees to create ridges of an even width and depth. Although the installation of wall tiles is the same for shower or tub-surround walls as it is for standard walls, there are some special preparations required. When the first row is complete, check it for level using a level. Make sure to include the approximate thickness of the grout lines as you mark tile locations on the lines. Clean out any excess adhesive between grout lines. Use a damp sponge or cloth to wipe any adhesive from the face of the tile. Spread more glue over the area, and add more tiles, making sure to keep a space between one tile sheet and the next. We let the mastic set overnight and came back the next morning to remove our … Once you press down on the tiles, don’t try to move them around. Do this carefully so you don't remove any of the grout from between the tiles. Put on eye protection before trimming or cutting tile. Complete installation of all full tiles (or tile sheets). It might take a few tries to get this part right, but all you need to do is peel away the front side of your tile mats, align the hexagon tile sheets, and stick them. Wait until the full sheets are dry before installing the sheets that need cuts. Wait 24 hours for the sheet tile to dry on the wall. Place whole sheets of tile next to your line. A similar running bond pattern can be used for square tiles and other rectangular shapes, or for a simpler layout, the tiles can use straight vertical joints, called a straight grid pattern. Leave the tiles that need to be trimmed or cut until the end of the project. Wipe the stains with a sponge dipped in a mixture of water and mild dishwashing liquid (like Dawn). Press the sheets of mosaic into the mortar, and smooth them from bottom to top with your hand. Cover the countertop and floor surfaces with the paper and secure it in place with painter's tape. Wait 30 to 60 minutes and then use the sponge trowel (or a large sponge) and water to remove the excess grout. Before installing the tile, clean up any grease splatters on the wall (mastic won't adhere to grease). Once the thinset is applied, go over the thinset with the notched edge of the trowel at a 45-degree angle. At the end of a row or around fixtures, you'll probably need to cut some tiles. Made up of many tiny pieces of tile or glass, the tile is held together to form one large sheet for easy installation. To alleviate drooping and pushing, use a shim or tile spacer to maintain a consistent gap at the end wall. Buy a thick rosin builder's paper, which you can find at a big-box home improvement or painting supplies store. The proper size of the V-shaped notches in the trowel depends on the size and thickness of the tile and on the recommendations from the tile manufacturer. The manufacturer recommended this mastic for this type of tile. 2. Make a final inspection of all grout lines. Our sample project stops short of grouting the tile—those instructions are found here. We used the same trim tile to cap off the wall just below the top of the wall cabinets. When you buy your tile, measure the area in square feet. This is important, since a rotting or weak wall can cause your tiling job to warp, crack, or even break and fall down. To apply, hold the trowel at 45-degree angle and use the notched edge to make ridges in the mastic. Adhesive that's too cold may not spread, resulting in unsightly ridges or bumps on the front of your backsplash. 3. Mix the thinset and apply with the flat edge of the notched trowel. Homeowners can install sheet tile on a wall with ease when they know how to begin. The joints should be well-filled when you are finished. For floors or walls in wet areas, use thin-set instead of joint compound. The adhesive is very difficult to remove once dry and very simple to clean when wet. Our example will lead you through the steps involved in installing ceramic wall tile on a wall that has been properly prepared with the installation of cement board underlayment, which is considered the best surface on which to install ceramic tile. After the adhesive has dried overnight, apply grout to the tile using a … Cover the exposed surfaces of the fixtures with strips of painter's tape. Special Considerations for Shower and Tub-Surround Walls, Measure, Mark, and Cut the Final Wall Tiles, 28 Amazing Design Ideas for Kitchen Backsplashes, Adhesive Tile Mat Backsplash Review: Pros and Cons, How to Convert an Acrylic or Fiberglass Shower to Ceramic Tile, Bathroom Tile Size Advice: Floors, Walls, Showers, and Tubs, 7 Tiling Tips for Professional-Looking Results, How to Cut Ceramic Tile With a Snap Cutter. Once you are satisfied with the layout of the vertical and horizontal lines, begin installing adhesive, starting at the center point and working on one quadrant of the overall wall. Let the tile adhesive dry for 24 to 72 hours before. In our sample project using 2-by-4-inch subway tiles, the recommendation is for a trowel with 3/16 x 5/32-inch notches. Some of the spacing on the sheets themselves wasn’t flawless, and sometimes if you stepped back you could see an obvious seam, so you had to sort of maneuver things to get them to fit better. Sheet tile, also call mosaic tile, can be installed on walls in a bathroom or kitchen. Bob Formisano is a licensed architect and builder with 30 years of experience in the industry. Made up of many tiny pieces of tile or glass, the tile is held together to form one large sheet for easy installation. Installing sheet tile on a wall is an easy and popular way to create a backsplash or shower surround. Ceramic tile is a favorite material for floor installations, thanks to its durability and resistance to moisture and stains. Line up the joints between sheets closely, a bit tighter than the joints between individual tiles on one sheet but not so close that they touch one another. Hold for several seconds, and watch for any sliding as you release hand pressure on the tile. Position the sheet on the wall, and press it into the wet thin-set adhesive. Spend time on the layout because you will use the template to install the tiles beginning at the center and working outward in quadrants. Continue to add tile sheets to the wall in the focal area, working from the bottom up. Step 1: Clear the Space Turn off power to the kitchen. Professionals are skilled at laying out a tile job so that grout lines are thin and perfectly level and plumb, and so the trimmed portions of tiles are symmetrical from side to side. Hold the trowel at a 45-degree angle and "comb" the adhesive in one direction. Determine the dimensions of your desired tile backsplash and snap a chalk line on the wall … Installing sheet tile on a wall is an easy and popular way to create a backsplash or shower surround. Warm up your silicone or adhesive for a couple hours beforehand to ensure the product flows more easily, and to ensure it spreads. (In a bathroom, this is often the center of the vanity wall above the sink.). Use a 3/16" V-notched trowel to spread white tile mastic (adhesive) on the wall. This helps remove any excess thinset from the area. Apply thin-set tile adhesive to the wall using a notched trowel. Using a razor blade or scissors, cut tiles away from the mesh backing (Images 1 and 2). If you begin to see that there are too many areas requiring thin slices of tile, adjust the starting point to one side or the other, or up or down slightly, to make the layout most effective. Whether using individual tiles or mosaic sheets, the final tiles or sheets will need to be marked and trimmed in order to fit the remaining spaces at the ends, top, and bottom of the wall. Use spacers to maintain uniform grout lines. Cut the sheets by separating the tile along the grout line using a utility knife. Apply a primer to the substrate and then apply your non slump tile adhesive and choose a suitable notch trowel that is between 3mm to 6mm as you don’t want adhesive squeezing out the joint. This will help to ensure even coverage. 1. When you come to a sheet which is larger than the area needed, you can simply cut through it with scissors or a craft knife. Craig demonstrates the difference between a tile with a backer sheet and one without. If filling in around outlets, make sure the tile doesn't cover over the opening of the electrical box. Butter the backs of the tiles with adhesive before installing the final trimmed pieces. However, I decided to customize the look. Mix the grout and apply with a rubber float. Cut slits in the paper where sink faucets and other fixtures are located. Let the joint compound or thin … By then placing the pressure bar pad across the tile and applying firm and gently increasing pressure, the tile will snap across its scoreline. This will prevent the adhesive from hardening as you trim the last tiles and prepare to finish the installation. Subway tile gets its name for the style's use in New York subway stations and other metropolitan subways in the early 20th century, and it is a very popular style for bathrooms and kitchens. Thin-set usually has some latex additives that give it some flexibility to prevent the tile job from cracking. Make sure the area you will cover with tile is completely covered with thin-set adhesive. Use a circuit tester to ensure the power is off and remove outlet covers and switch plates in the area to be tiled. Installing sheet tile on a wall is an easy and popular way to create a backsplash or shower surround. Allow the full sheets to dry. Measure, mark, and trim any tiles to fill partial gaps at the top and bottom of the wall. Using this tool, score the cut line on a full tile and then snap the tile … This size works well for most tiles less than 6-by-6 inches in size. Sheet tile, also call mosaic tile, can be installed on walls in a bathroom or kitchen. Continue installing the mosaic tile sheets on the wall, working in one 3-foot grid area at a time. To finish off the edges of the tile, Smart Tiles sells a finishing edge that sticks to the wall just like the tiles. Spread adhesive onto the wall using the flat side of the trowel. How to Install Mesh Backed Tile. In our example, we had about 1 1/2 inches leftover between full tiles and the bottom of the upper cabinets. This will clean the grout from the tiles. Make sure your wall is ready to go. Mark electrical outlets by applying lipstick to the outlets, then press the sheet of tile against it to transfer the mark to the back of the tile. If you don’t do it right, you’ll see lines running through your wall. Manufacturers and consumers love it because it allows for intricate tile patterns to be assembled and installed creating beautiful tile mosaics that were previously only achieved via an artisan hand laying the pieces. It's important to use white adhesive, because any color behind the tile will show through the glass. Use a tile saw to cut any tile needed to size or around electrical outlets. Press down on the tiles with the grout float just to make sure the tiles are securely stuck to the tile mats. A good layout also avoids narrow rows of cut tiles on the top, bottom, and sides of the wall. The grout lines need to be clear and open for grout to adhere when you reach the finishing stage. Apply the first tile sheet into the corner of the first quadrant, carefully adjusting it with your hands to ensure that it is perfectly square with the layout lines. As you install the cut tiles into the remaining gaps, it's crucial that the joints in the corners match the thickness of the other grout lines. With the first row of tiles (or tile sheets) in place, continue installing the subsequent rows, again using plastic spacers to maintain uniform joints between tiles. Kitchen Backsplash Tile and Mosaics: Installing Mosaic Tile. As the adhesive hardens, inspect the grout lines and make sure they are free of excess adhesive. The goal in planning the layout is to make sure that there won't be thin slices of cut tiles at the sides or at the top and bottom. Use a sponge trowel to lightly tap the sheet down so the individual pieces are set into the thinset. With the running-bond pattern we are using, it is critical that you get the offset correct so that the joints have the proper spacing from row to row. Our example uses 1-by-6-inch cap tiles. Cut the sheets of tile in areas that need cuts, using tile nippers. Introducing "One Thing": A New Video Series, wall and floor tiles have their differences, V-notch trowel (size recommended by the tile manufacturer), Small screwdriver or other small pointed stick, Tungsten carbide scoring wheel (optional), Plastic tile spacers (1/16 inch or 1/8 inch, depending on tile spacing). Carefully measure and pencil in marks on the last tiles. If necessary, scrape away the excess using a pointed stick or small screwdriver or pointed stick. She holds a master's degree in family studies from Utah State University. Locate the approximate center of the wall. You should be able to visually compare the distance between each sheet. We finished all of the tile cutting and installing the tile sheets in about 5 hours (it was mostly all of the outlets and switches on that one wall that ate up a lot of our time). Remove the plastic from the corner of the sheet, pulling if off diagonally. Butter the tiles and press them into place. Make sure the water is soaking the blade. Press down on the tile sheet with your hands on both sides of the cutting line, keeping your hands clear of the blade. Apply thin-set adhesive to the wall using a notched trowel. As you are laying the sheets, you want to make sure to avoid laying them in a way that shows the line where one sheet ends and the other begins. Its surface is scored by firmly moving a tungsten carbide scoring wheel from bottom to top across the face of the tile surface. An entry-level saw can be purchased for around $100, and it is a good investment if you have a large job or if you do tile work regularly. I simply cut the wood to size, mitered the corners on a 45 degree angle and applied them to the wall with a nail gun. Before you begin tiling, check the surface with a straightedge. Because you are attaching a relatively heavy material to vertical surfaces, it is somewhat trickier than installing ceramic floor tile. Fill in … Mesh backed tile is a product both admired and despised in the industry. You don't want to push the tile so that you disturb the mortar. If you find a dip in a wall, flatten it by screeding a layer of setting-type joint compound over it as shown here. Or, you can rent the tool from a big box home improvement store or tool rental outlet. Replace any missing tiles within the sheets. If there are any remaining trim or border pieces to install, complete the job by installing them now. Make sure there is no adhesive clinging to the face of the tiles. Take your time and work on the wall in 3 square foot sections. Start by choosing the most visible wall in the room. If your layout includes border tiles or other trim pieces, install them next. Install any border tile first, then position the sheets of subway tile on the wall and press them in place. After each small section of wall is completed, use a short block of wood and rubber mallet to very lightly rap over the surface of the tiles, which will "set" the tiles in the adhesive and flatten the surface. Double check that you have all the necessary supplies and tools BEFORE you start the actual installation process. Use vertical and horizontal strokes to apply the grout. This means that the base surface needs to have a waterproof underlayment. As you reach the last full tiles, scrape off any excess adhesive from the areas of the wall left exposed. Older types of mastic adhesives don't work quite as well. Do not apply too much pressure to the sheet or the thinset will squeeze through the tiles and you may not get proper adhesion. Johansen has been writing professionally since 2008. Once you've removed the current wall dressings and wall items, like light switch covers, you'll want to check the base layer that you will be building on to make sure that it is structurally sound. There are many ways to establish a layout, but the best way is to use the same method as with floors, which is to carefully draw layout lines, described in the steps below. Just google image search “bad penny tile installation” and you’ll see what I’m talking about. Use a sponge trowel to lightly tap the sheet down so the individual pieces are set into the thinset. Align it carefully with the horizontal and vertical layout lines. Press it firmly into the adhesive; as you press, the adhesive will be flattened out. This will allow you sufficient time to cut the tile sheets. Most wall tiles are best installed with a mortar-based adhesive known as thin-set, made of cement, fine sand, and a water-retaining agent such as cellulose. We will use a popular type of ceramic wall tile called subway tile, which uses a running bond pattern, where the vertical joints are offset from row to row. Applying full sheets of mesh-backed tile to the wall can be tricky around outlets or other obstacles, so it's easiest to cut apart and set individual tiles around these. From the center point, use a piece of the tile to mark vertical and horizontal lines from side to side and from ceiling to floor. Install the full sheets of tile in place on the thinset. Tiling can be a little messy, so it's wise to protect floors, countertop surfaces, and fixtures against spills from tile adhesive and grout. There are a number of ways this can be done, including installing a layer of sheet plastic, brushing on a waterproofing membrane over the cement board base, or using a special backer board with a build-in waterproof membrane, such as DenseSheild. Cadence Johansen is a freelance writer who enjoys writing about travel, marriage, family relationships, caregiver support, home improvement and money. Use the straight edge to make sure they are all flush with the top of the line and straight. A rented ceramic tile cutter is the easiest way to make your straight cuts. Much like laying sheets of penny tile, there was a careful eye needed (thank goodness I have Sherry) to make sure the pattern lined up between sheets. With the mortar in place, you can start setting out your tiles or tile sheets. When using a snap tile cutter, the tile is placed into position in the tile cutter. I used a wood trim instead. Once the first tile or sheet is set in place, complete the first row along the horizontal layout line. Align it carefully with the horizontal and vertical layout lines. Tape off outlets, switches, cabinets and the area where your countertops meet the walls. You just want to get the tile to stick. Proper layout of the tile installation is essential for a great-looking job. Immediately trowel back over the skim coat using the notched side of the trowel to create a pattern of ridges and valleys in the wet adhesive. Because of this, we used a 3/4-inch by 6-inch trim tile at the top of the tile field to fill in most of the gap. When that spot is complete, fill in the rest of the field, working from the centerline outward, then upward. Cut the sheets, if needed, to fit in the last spaces against the corner and ceiling. After marking tiles, use a snap cutter or wet saw to cut the tiles to fit the spaces. Sheet tile, also call mosaic tile, can be installed on walls in a bathroom or kitchen. Carefully slide the bed into the blade to make the cut. You actually have more choices when it comes to ceramic tile for walls than you do for floors, since virtually all floor tiles can also be used on walls. Allow the glue to set overnight. If preferred, position the final tiles upside in the proper location and mark cutting lines on the backs of the tiles. Another option is to use trim tiles to fill in gaps. Installing ceramic wall tile is a project requiring pre-planning and patience. Install the full sheets of tile in place on the thinset. It’s self-adhesive on the one side to adhere to the back of the mosaic sheet making the entire mosaic sheet more rigid and much like a normal wall tile. It's not particularly hard to do, but it's easy to do poorly. Get daily tips and tricks for making your best home. Copyright 2020 Leaf Group Ltd. / Leaf Group Media, All Rights Reserved. Wait 24 hours for the sheet tile to dry on the wall. With careful study and patience, any DIYer can readily install ceramic wall tile with good results. Use a tile calculator to make sure you buy the right amount, and buy an additional 10% for waste and breakage, plus some leftover in case repairs are needed in the future. Press firmly to embed the tile in the thin-set. mosaic tiles gradient image by Artsem Martysiuk from Fotolia.com. Use tile nippers for small tile cuts or adjustments. The same qualities that make it great for kitchen and bathroom floors also make it a natural choice for walls. Butter the backs of the trimmed tiles with adhesive before pressing them into place because it can be hard to apply adhesive to the wall in these narrow spaces. Use the plastic spacers to ensure the spacing of each tile's joint is uniform. This is approximately three hours, but if the tile is not set into place, wait longer. Create the Tile Layout STEP 4: Measure the size of the backsplash. The solution is a mosaic backer sheet. Remove the plastic film after the tile has had time to harden. Position the first tile (or sheet of mosaic tiles) into place on the wall at the center point of the layout. Done poorly, the finished look will be unbalanced, with asymmetrical tile cuts. When placing the tile, they will sometimes want to droop or push into the gap. Mark a centerline between the upper cabinets so the tiles will be centered under the vent hood. However, not all wall tiles are suitable for floors; flooring tiles need to be particularly thick and sturdy to hold up under foot traffic. If you are doing a project with thick ceramic tile (over 3/8 inch thick) or porcelain tile, you will need to use a diamond blade wet saw rather than a snap tile cutter. Whatever method is used, waterproofing is critical since moisture seeping through ceramic tile can create serious structural damage. The outcome will be that much better, and you won't be scrambling while trying to hold something in place. Screw a ledger to the wall to support the tile. Press it firmly into the adhesive; as you press, the adhesive will be flattened out. As you prepare to press tiles into place, make sure you have plastic spacers ready to grab. Though wall and floor tiles have their differences, most floor tiles are rated for wall use. Smart tip: In order to tile the bathroom walls, you need several tools: notched trowel, score-and-snap tile cutter, wet saw cutter and a hole saw tile drill bit (to install tiles around pipes).These tools are essential for a project done in a professional manner. Where tiles need to be trimmed to fit around outlets, light switches, pipes, and other obstacles, use a tile cutter or tile nipper to trim them to fit the space. Move slowly and steadily, and do not force the tile … Large jobs are made much easier if you rent or purchase the right tools for a tiling project, such as a wet saw fitted with a diamond cutting blade. The plastic film on the sheet should face you as you install the tile. Cover only as much of the wall as you can comfortably work in over 20 to 30 minutes. Simply press them firmly into the mortar; push it solidly against the surface but remember that it's not toothpaste. 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