Tile Layering Solution


The procedure for measuring and to cut tiles to fit in to corners and along borders you must use a tile cutter. To make a straight cut in a tile, score the glazed surface then break the tile over a matchstick. Pincers are ideal for small piece at a time.

For curved shapes, mark the pattern on the back of the tile using a template or contour gauge (shaped tracer) and then nibble away with pincer.

To fit a tile around a pipe, cut it in two where the pipe falls and take out corresponding semi -circle from section. The same principles apply to ceramic wall tiles.

When tiling around a W.C., lay down as many whole tiles as possible, but try to avoid having to cut narrow strips to fill the gaps. Mark the curve required for each tile kin turn cut it and lay it in place before moving to the next. Once all the tiles are cut, fix them in place.

To cut border tiles, place a whole tile face down on the last whole tile in the row. Put another tile on the top of it and slide its edge flush to the wall. Draw a line where the edge crosses it and cut along the line. The nearest section will fit into the gap.

When fitting tile around a corner, either make a card template of the shape required and trace it on to a tile, or lay a tile onto the last whole tile in the row nearest the corner. Place a second tile on the top of it and push it up to the wall, drawing a line along its edge across. A. Follow the same pattern on the other side of the corner, making sure not to twist as you move it round the corner. The second line will complete the 'L' shape.

When pipes have to pass through a tile, cut out a template and make a hole of the same diameter in the tile. Cut a slit from the hole to the skirting board edge of the tile and slide it around the pipe. The slit should not be noticeable afterwards. You can tackle other difficult shapes by drawing templates and transferring them onto tiles or by a contour gauge to trace the outline.

Fixing Tiles

Fix the first tiles accurately, since any mistake will affect the subsequent pattern. Place a few dry tiles in position to check the right angle between the horizontal and vertical guide battens then spread tile adhesive onto the wall, covering 1 sq. m. at a time. Comb the adhesive horizontally with a notched spreader for good adhesion.

Lay on the tiles, pressing them down with a twisting motion. You can use matchsticks or suitably thick card to achieve the correct spacing.

Check each square of tiling before continuing and fix the whole tiles first. Allow at least 12 hours for the adhesive to dry before removing the battens and fixing the border row with cut tiles. Never begin tiling in a corner or at the floor level, since the vertical and horizontal lines are rarely like to be true. Instead establish the starting point using a measuring staff marked off with the tile width, including the space in between the tiles. Adjust this until you find the most suitable area to be covered with whole tiles that leaves an even border at the edges. You will have to cut tiles to fill this afterwards.

Allow another 24 hours before grouting, although a fix the grout product, which avoids this delay, is readily available. Mix the grouting powder to creamy consistency or use ready mix grout and rub it in to the joints with a damp sponge. Remove any surplus with a damp cloth before the adhesive dries and polish up the tiles with a soft cloth.


Before laying the tiles, check that the surface to be tiled is properly prepared. Any concrete base must be dry. If there is any evidence of dampness, a damp- proof membrane must be laid and held down before tiling. Small depressions must be filled with cement and sand mortar. Any slight fall away can be made good by using any concrete leveling compound.

Remove any grease and polish present on the surface. The surface should also be free from any dirt or debris. If working on a timber floor, make sure it is well ventilated or rot setting set do not lay tiles straight on to a suspended timber floor. Strengthen it by covering it with sheets of plywood at least 12 mm thick. Prime the plywood before tiling.

Make sure the adhesive you use is suitable for the surface. The most common is cement based powder for flat back tiles lay a 3 mm bed of adhesive, but double this for studded tiles.

Establish the center of the room to be tiled by stretching chalked string from the mid- point of the opposite walls, then pluck the string to leave a mark on the floor. Alternatively draw pencil lines on the diagonals to the center of the room. Make sure the door will open over the tile sand, if necessary trim its bottom edge with a block plane or fit rising butt hinges to allow sufficient clearances. Working from the center outwards, plan to leave an even border around the edge of the room. This may move the center point slightly to ensure a balanced effect.

Spacer Spacers can be used in laying tiles, the purpose of which is to give a uniform laying reduce overall rigidity, attenuating the effects of expansion caused by heat and moisture. They enhance the appearance of the surface and accommodate any minor defect of rectangularly etc.

Different Types of Bed Mortar

Cement sand paste is traditionally used as a bed mortar. It is easily available, easy to prepare and use. The tiles must be soaked in water, the tiles will soak water from the cement sand water and subsequently cracks will develop and the bond of mortar and tile will not be good. Care should be taken to spread the mortar evenly on the bed so that the tile has a firm grip and no hollow space should be left or else unwanted stresses will develop when pressure is put on the tile subsequently developing cracks.

Polymer based mortars can also be used as bed mortar. They have the advantage that they don't require curing and gain strength at a very high rate.

Chemical adhesives can also be used for laying tiles, however they prove to be very costly.


The gaps between the tiles after laying can be filled in by special ready mix grouts available in different colours . After spreading the grout and finishing of smooth , the excess grout should be removed immediately or else it will harden.

Repairing Ceramic Wall Tiles

In case the tiles have not been fixed with proper care and technique, some problems can surface in course of time.

Regrouting Tiles Replacing the grout between old wall tiles is a quick and easy way to brighten them up. Remove the grout with a blade of a worn screwdriver or an old pair of scissors, but be careful not to mark the tile in the process. Apply new grout with a damp sponge, removing any surplus with damp sponge as you move. Wipe the tiles clean with the damp sponge when the grout has almost dried and polish them with a soft cloth.

Refixing Tiles

Before applying new grout, you should refix tiles that have become loose. Chip off the old cement with an old chisel and spread a thin coat of adhesive on the back of the tile. Using a thick adhesive will make the tile stand proud of the others on the wall. If the mortar comes away with the tile, try gluing it back or chip it off. However, if replacement tile are available, it is best to discard the old ones and start a fresh. Clean the wall surface by chipping away mortar and use a mixture of three parts sand to one part of cement to refix the tile. Use just enough mortar to bring the tile level with the adjoining level.