When it comes to fitting bathroom wall tiles, the average DIYer can obtain a professional looking finish with the right tools, clear instructions and a bit of patience. Even if you have absolutely no experience, you should be able to complete a small- to medium-sized bathroom in a weekend, and it can add a fantastic finish to the room. There are a few essential tools required in order to successfully mount wall tiles, including a tile cutter or tile saw (electric cutters are slightly more expensive but are excellent value), an adhesive spreader, a grout spreader, tile spacers and a spirit level.
Before affixing the tiles, ensure that your walls are clean, dry and as flat as possible. The shape and size of your bathroom will ultimately determine how much tile cutting is involved, but if you have a good tile cutter and a few spare wall tiles, then even tricky cutting is pretty straightforward. Start with the lowest row of wall tiles first and work up the wall from bottom to top. However, if your tiling includes openings such as a window, use this as the starting point to ensure that the wall tiles are equal around it. When tiling round a window, always ensure that the cut wall tiles are placed at the back of the reveal.
If the area is to come into contact with water (highly likely in a bathroom), ensure that you use a waterproof adhesive. Most come ready-mixed nowadays although mixing it with water is an easy procedure. For ease, work on small sections to ensure that the adhesive doesn’t dry before you are able to apply the tiles. Fix your first tile to the adhesive and then use spacers to separate the rest of the wall tiles as you mount them. Use a damp sponge to wipe away excess adhesive from the surface of the wall tiles.
When cutting wall tiles, use a felt-tip pen to mark the cut. This can then be wiped off so that no marks are left on the surface. If using a manual tile cutter, score the tile and then snap it; if using an electric cutter, simply line up the marked line with the blade. Once cut, smooth any sharp edges with a tile sander.
It is vital that you use a waterproof grout if the wall tiles are to be used as a covering around a bath or in a shower. Allow the tile to set for 24 hours on the wall before applying grout; this will ensure that the adhesive has fully set. Apply the grout and make sure that all joints are adequately filled. Wipe away excess and use a grout finisher to smooth the joints. Do not rely on grout to provide a completely waterproof seal on its own. You will need to use a waterproof sealant to seal the gap between the bottom tiles and the bath or shower unit.