Many homeowners love the look of ceramic tiles in their home. Tile adds depth, dimension and interest to the room. Ceramic tiles come as smooth and shiny or rough and dull. Ceramic tile is a great choice for bathroom walls, shower walls, kitchen backsplashes and other areas that are exposed to water or moisture. Ceramic tiles are available in many sizes, shapes, styles and prices to fit into any home improvement budget. Ceramic tile is very easy to care for and keep clean and it is a very durable surface. Homeowners have several tile patterns available including hanging two or more colors of tile, one solid color, borders or even hanging them in a diamond shape. Installing ceramic wall tile is a fairly easy process, but time consuming.
Preparing the Walls for Tile
The top substrate for ceramic tile is cement backer board rather than drywall or green board. Cement backer board is the industry standard for tile installation in wet areas. Drywall when exposed to water through cracks or leaks will turn to mush, cause wood rot of the studs behind it and will provide a perfect environment for mold and mildew growth. Take the extra time to replace the existing drywall or green board with cement backer board. Green board will also cause many of the same problems as drywall.
Screw cement backer board to the existing wall studs provided the studs are in sturdy condition.
Preparing for Tile
Measure the length of the wall at the top and bottom and note the marks directly on the wall.
Repeat on the other side of the wall.
Stretch a chalk line from the top mark to the bottom mark and snap the chalk line.
Measure height of the wall on the far left side and a second height measurement on the far right side. Mark the center at each end, draw the chalk line from each mark and snap the chalk line. You will now have 4 squares on the wall.
Installing Wall Tile
Apply a 1/4 inch coat of thin set, which is a type of tile adhesive, to the center of the wall, do not cover the chalk lines.
Use the notched side of the trowel and drag it across the thin set to create ridges. Work in small sections, approximately 2 by 2 foot squares.
Place the first tile up next to where the chalk lines intersect with the side of the tile being directly next to the chalk line and the top edge of the tile being directly below the chalk line.
Press the tile firmly in place, use a spacer to keep an even space between the first and second tile. Continue to place tiles then spacers using the chalk line as a guide to ensure a straight line.
Work in a square pattern by placing tiles above, below and to the sides of the tiles.
After all whole tiles are in place make cuts for the end tiles and any cuts that need to be made around pipes using a wet saw.
Allow the thin set to dry for 24 to 48 hours before grouting the tile wall.