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Tiling a Splashback

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Tiling a Splashback

by Carol Staines

The more you practice the better you become. Don’t be afraid of making mistakes as tiles laid on the same day can be removed and repositioned using fresh adhesive. Tiling a splashback is an ideal starting project.

Measuring Up - Measure both the width and height of the area to be tiled. Most shops will, from the measurements supplied, work out the quantity required. Allow a few extras in case of breakages especially if some tiles need to be cut. Some tile shops will even cut tiles for you for a fee.

Materials and tools required - Tiles (body, corner and edge); tile adhesive; notched applicator; plastic spacers; sanitised compressible grout; rubber grouting squeegee; ceramic tile cutting stylus or scoring tool; pair of pincers or tile nippers and clean rags or a sponge.

Cutting Tiles

a) Mark in pencil the tile cut line;

b) Using a cutting stylus or scoring tool score a line through the glazed surface and following a rule or straightedge as a guide;

c) When the waste portion is only a narrow strip, use a pair of pincers or tile nippers. Should the waste be larger, lay the tile on a flat surface. Insert a matchstick beneath the cut at each end and apply a firm, even, downward pressure with one hand on each side of the scored line.

Laying Tiles

Plan for cut tile edges to be positioned in an inconspicuous place such as where the tiles meet the bench line or butt into corners for vertical cuts.

Remember benchtops and vertical corners are not always level or plumb. Take a level and check the back edge. Should they be out of level, pencil a level line on the wall one tile height plus the bottom joint above the bench surface commencing from the lowest point. The first row of tiles is then cut to the line.

Apply a small area of adhesive using a notched applicator. Lay the first tile. Apply plastic spacers at intersections. Lay the first row ensuring the top edges finish to the level line. Use matchsticks or spacers under the first row to provide the joint space. The last tile in corners may need to be cut to fit. The cut edge will be concealed by the first tile on the return.

If you are tiling a straight area with no return, you could terminate the tiles approximately 50mm from the corner of the wall to save cutting.

Lay the rest of the tiles, occasionally checking for level and plumb. Ensure the surfaces of all adjoining tiles are flush with one another. Be sure to remove any adhesive smears with a moist sponge. Clean out the joints sufficiently to receive the grout.

Allow overnight to dry. Then apply the grout.

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