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How to successfully install a wall tile? Steps photographed step-by-step and explained by System D.

Tips for laying a wall tile


For gluing, there is a choice between traditional tempering mortar and a ready-made paste glue that is spread directly on the wall. The latter is easier to use and cleaner. In any case, it must not slide on the wall and it must wait until the glue is dry (at least 12 hours) before grouting the tiles. The seal then seals the coating.

Supplies needed to install a wall tile

• Spirit level
• Cleats of 25 x 50 mm (+ concrete points and hammer to fix them)
• Ready-to-use tile adhesive or tempering mortar (+ trowel, spatula and trough)
• Notched spatula
• braces
• Rubber mallet
• Jointing mortar
• Plastic trough
• Cat tongue trowel and spatula
• Rubber squeegee
• Sponge and rags
Read also our article dedicated to the tools needed for laying tiles with photos.

More sealing for tile joints

Tiling is not completely waterproof.
In damp rooms, it is strongly recommended to apply a waterproofing coating (type Sikalastic 850 W) on the wall before starting the installation.
This product is applied to the roller and requires a drying time of 12 hours.

All stages of laying tiles

Spot the tile cut

  • With the ruler to tile, set the size of the bottom tile cut.
  • The ideal size being more or less half a square.

Tracing the baseline of a wall tile

  • Draw the baseline to the spirit level or rotating laser.
  • In case of occasional use, this tool can be rented for a small fee.

Fixing a cleat at the bottom of a wall to be tiled

  • Fix a perfectly level batten under this mark.
  • It will serve as support for the first row of tiles and will support all until drying.

Fixing a vertical cleat for laying a wall tile

  • Fix a vertical cleat if necessary.
  • It will serve as a rigid support in the case where the tiles do not go to the corner of the room.

Spread wall tile adhesive

  • Mix the glue until smooth.
  • With the notched spatula, spread it widely in regular layer.
  • Work in areas of about 50 cm2.

Laying the first tile of a wall tile

  • Lay the first tile by resting on the cleat.
  • Press the tile to crush the furrows, chase the air and promote adhesion.

Glue a wall tile

  • Regularly tap with a rubber mallet (possibly add a wooden block in the case of small tiles) to level and level the siding.

Laying braces between tiles in a wall tile

  • Place braces at the corners of each tile.
  • Some retire after use (as here), others drown in joint mortar.

Lay tiles on a wall

  • Place the top tile against the braces then push it into the glue.
  • Lay all the tiles next to each other on the glued surface.

Mortar preparation for tile joints

  • In the trough, thoroughly mix the joint mortar with water until smooth and homogeneous.
  • Mix with a spatula.

Fill tile joints with adhesive mortar

  • Generously deposit the mortar with a cat tongue trowel, long and slender.
  • Overflow the area to be grouted to fill the joints.

Filling of tile joints

  • Bring the mortar between the tiles with a rubber squeegee.
  • Be sure to fill the joints before removing the excess.

Cleaning the joints still fresh after installation

  • When the joint mortar begins to harden, clean the surface with a damp sponge that should be frequently rinsed with clean water.

Smoothing finger joints

  • Smooth the joints with your finger.
  • Finally, dry thoroughly with a dry cloth.
  • Clean again the next day with a damp sponge.

Video Instruction: Tommy's Trade Secrets - How To Tile A Wall