The Wall: How to Install Decorative Mouldings

Upgrade the style and personality of your bathroom, kitchen, or entryway by installing a unique ceramic tile wall. Here’s how you can create one at home.

One Weekend

Before You Start

The tile you use for this project will not only impact the design, but also the type of mortar, tile spacers, and trowel size you should use. It is important to plan ahead and ask for advice in store if you need any help.
  1. 1

    Take Wall Measurements and Plan Your Purchases

  2. Steps:

  3. 1.1
    Ensure that the installation wall is sound and clean.
  4. 1.2
    Select your tiles and your tile pattern (e.g., vertical, horizontal, asymmetrical).
  5. 1.3
    Measure the surface area of the wall.
  6. 1.4
    Plan your list of materials to buy based on your chosen tiles.
  7. 1.5
    Sketch your tile pattern.
Sketch of a ceramic tile wall pattern

Pro Tip

After you calculate the number of tiles you need, add 10% to the number to account for breaks, losses, and tiles that need to be cut.

  1. 2

    Mark Your Wall Measurements

  2. Steps:

  3. 2.1
    Draw the starting points for the installation, beginning at the bottom left corner.
  4. 2.2
    Line your level up along the top of the markers to ensure that they are level and in the right place. Consider using a laser level for best results.
Man drawing starting points on a wall

Pro Tip

Before you start the installation, make sure you have your material ready.

  1. 3

    Install the First Row

  2. Steps:

  3. 3.1

    Follow the instructions on the package to prepare the mortar mix. Mix it thoroughly until the desired consistency is reached.

  4. 3.2
    Use a trowel to apply mortar to a small section of the wall. Hold the trowel at a 45° angle for best results.
  5. 3.3
    Place the first tile against the wall and press on it slightly to ensure adherence. Follow your markers and use a level to check that the tile is straight, adjusting if needed.
  6. 3.4
    Place the rest of the tiles in the first row, aligning the top of each with your guide line. Make any necessary adjustments to ensure that they are perfectly aligned, as the first few rows will form the base of the entire wall.
  7. 3.5
    Ensure consistent spacing by using spacers. We used 1/16 spacers for this project.
Man installing subway tiles on a wall

Pro Tip

When you begin, use as little water as possible and add more as you need it. We recommended adding water before the mortar as well. A good, consistent mix is important so that your tiles don’t slip.

  1. 4

    Continue the Installation

  2. Steps:

  3. 4.1
    Keep placing tiles while ensuring that every new row follows your plan.
  4. 4.2
    Remove any excess mortar from between the joints using a cloth or a sponge.
  1. 5

    Cut the Final Tiles

  2. Steps:

  3. 5.1
    Measure the space that is remaining.
  4. 5.2
    Use a tile cutter or saw to cut the last tiles.
  5. 5.3
    Let the mortar dry, following the instructions on the packaging.
  6. 5.4
    Remove all of the tile spacers.
  7. 5.5
    Use a taping knife to remove excess mortar from the joints to save yourself the trouble of scraping away excess before grouting.
Man using a tile saw

Pro Tip

If you can’t use a trowel in the limited space remaining, you can apply mortar directly to the tiles instead.

  1. 6

    Seal the Wall with Grout

  2. Steps:

  3. 6.1
    Prepare the grout mix according to the instructions on the package. Begin with as little water as necessary and add more if needed as you go.
  4. 6.2

    Use a damp sponge to clean up any surplus.

  5. 6.3
    Use a damp sponge to clean up any surplus.
  6. 6.4
    Fill up any gaps as you go.
  7. 6.5
    Allow the grout to set, then use a sponge and clean water to remove any residue from the tiles.
Man washing away wall grout with a sponge

Pro Tip

Apply the grout, working section by section. If you seal the whole wall in one go, it might dry too fast. Keep a few buckets of clean water nearby to help save time.

  1. 7

    Admire the Finished Project

  2. Steps:

  3. 7.1
    You’re all finished! After the wall is fully dry, you can move your furniture back.
White ceramic tile wall

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