How to Tile a Kitchen Wall
This guide explains How to Tile a Kitchen Wall. Tiling your kitchen wall (or kitchen splashback as it is known in the industry) is a relatively easy project to undertake yourself. Just follow my simple step by step guide, and you will have your kitchen wall tiled to a professional standard in no time at all.
How to Tile a Kitchen Wall Step by Step
STEP 1 – Select your Tiles
First of all, multiply the width and height of the area to be tiled.
Width of tiled area = 2m
Height of tiled area = 0.5m
Total area of tiling = 2 x 0.5 = 1m2
Now go to a tiling shop and select wall tiles which will suit your kitchen. Tell them the total area of tiles you need, which you worked out above.
STEP 2 – Unscrew Wall Sockets
The first thing you must do before starting is to TURN OFF THE ELECTRIC SUPPLY to your kitchen plug sockets. This can be done by turning off the Miniture Circuit Breaker (MCB) switch on your electric fuse board (consumer unit). The switch should be labelled “kitchen sockets”, or something similar.
Once switched off, go back to the kitchen and test to make sure the electric supply to the sockets are off. For example, plug in the kettle, now turn it on. If the kettle does not work, the electrics to the kitchen are off.
Now unscrew all the sockets.
Step 3 – Ensure your Wall Surfaces are Flat
Your walls should be level a flat before you start. This means you need to scrape off any wall paper, and fill in any holes.
Step 4 – PVA Prime the Walls
Apply a PVA primer to the plaster, but only in the area you are going to tile. Do this using a sponge or a paint roller. I recommend a small roller for this. Only go up to, or in line with the underside of the wall units.
Step 5 – Setting Out
Mark out roughly where your tiles will go on your wall above your kitchen worktop. Start a full tile in line with the end of the kitchen worktop as shown in the diagram below. Having a full tile at the end of a counter always looks best. Do this at both ends of the work top meeting the tiles in the internal corner. You will notice that the tiles in the internal corner will not be a full tile. This is OK, as you will be cutting them to size in the next step.
Step 6 – Apply Tile Adhesive to the Wall
Using a 5mm or 6mm notched trowel, serrate the wall starting in line with the end of the kitchen worktop, serrate up to , and inline with the wall units.
Step 7 – Fix Tiles to the Wall
Place your first full tile on the wall inline with the end of the kitchen work top. Use a full tile off the work top, then work along with the full tiles. Place the second tile next to the first tile putting tile spacers in between the two tiles. Continue sticking the tiles along this course, always putting the tile spacers in between each of the tiles.
To start the next course, sit the tiles on top of the tiles already laid in your first course, and once again insert a tile spacer between the tiles. Repeat this until you reach the underside of the wall units.
Complete this wall into the corner. You will need to cut down the length of the tiles in the corner to fit.
As a side note, if at any stage the adhesive on the wall starts to form a skin, don’t panic. Just re-serrate over it. This will bring the adhesive back to life.
Now start again at the other end of the worktop, with a full tile in line with the end. And work back into the corner. This is where the tiles will meet.
Tile this wall using the same process you did tiling the first wall.
When you get to the cutting around the sockets you must cut the tile to line up with the back box. Not the socket face. Earlier when you unscrewed your plug sockets, you would have exposed the electrical back boxes to tile up against.
When doing the tiling, it’s a good idea to have a bucket of water and a sponge to hand. Use this to wash any excess adhesive from the tiles as you go.
Now leave the tiles to dry.
Step 8 – Grouting
Mix your grout to a uniform consistency. You don’t want the grout too sloppy, because when you wash it off holes will appear. You want to mix the grout so it’s fairly thick.
A good test to know the grout is the correct thickness is to lift some mixed grout from the bucket on the end of a trowel. Turn the trowel upside down over the bucket. If the grout falls from the trowel, it is not thick enough yet. To make your grout thicker, simply add more grout powder to the mix to thicken the mixture. Repeat the trowel test, until it sticks to the trowel when turned upside down. Now your grout mixture is ready to use.
Ensuring that the tiles are set first (you can’t move them), start grouting. This process is done using a grout float to push the grout into the gaps between the tiles. Cover an area of about 2m2, then start washing off.
To wash off, use water and a damp sponge to rub over the face of the tiles. Do this at a 45 degree angle to the joints. Rinse the sponge regularly. Once your grout joints all look same, rinse the sponge. And with one stroke, wipe to remove any excess grout from the face of the tiles. Then rinse the sponge, and again do just one stroke. Keep repeating until you have washed off the first 2m2 patch. Keep doing this in 2m2 patches till all your tiles are grouted.
Leave the grout to dry.
Once the grout is dry ,buff the tiles with a dry cloth.
Screw back the socket.
Now all that’s left to do is stand back and admire your handy work. You now know how to tile a kitchen wall.