Project Overview

Proper preparation is a big part of making sure a tiling job goes well. We’ll show you how to figure out the number of tiles you need. You will also see how to get the room ready to do the job properly.
Continue to step-by-step instructions
This D.I.Y. Advice is part of a series How to lay wall tiles

Step by Step Instructions

1 Estimate the number of tiles you will need for the job
2 Check to see that the wall is straight
3 Draw a datum line one level above the floor
  • Step 1. Estimate the number of tiles you will need for the job

    Measure the height and width of the walls you want to tile. Multiply the two distances to get the area of the walls. Then calculate the area of any gaps such as windows. The gaps number minus the walls number is the area you need to cover with tiles. It is worth rounding up to the nearest square metre and then allowing ten percent extra for wastage.
  • Step 2. Check to see that the wall is straight

    Put your spirit level vertically on the wall to see that it is straight. If it does bow you have a number of options. You can cover it with small, mosaic tiles, use layers of tile glue to build out the unbowed sections or take the panelling off the wall and level off the joists.
  • Step 3. Draw a datum line one level above the floor

    Not every floor is perfectly horizontal. To make sure you lay horizontal tiles, it’s good to lay your first row of tiles one row above floor level. To do this, measure your tile height, and mark a point on the wall that is 20mm below that height. Then use your spirit level to draw a horizontal line, known as a “datum line”, at that height all the way around the room. The height is reduced by 20mm just in case there is a low point in the floor that needs covering.
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