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Getting handymen in to do small jobs around the house can be expensive and deter you from making welcome changes to your living space. At the same time, doing them yourself can seem like a daunting prospect. .

I was faced with just this dilemma recently when I decided the chipped and mucky paintwork around my downstairs toilet sink desperately needed some attention in the form of tiles and paint

Equipped with some tips from an array of articles, videos and chats with experts I decided to venture into the world of DIY. This was a complete first for me, so I thought you might find some of my learnings handy (excuse the pun). Give it a go — there is nothing more satisfying and rewarding than creating a beautiful space all by yourself!

There are three main parts to tiling:
1) Measuring and preparing the area to be tiled
2) Sticking the tiles to the wall
3) Filling in the gaps between the tiles. This is called grouting.

After tiling I painted my loo a lovely blue based on Farrow & Ball’s “Light Blue” colour. This offsets the white tiles perfectly and looks great in such a small space. If you plan on painting after tiling just make sure you stick some masking tape around those tiles — you don’t want to splodge paint on your beautiful new creation! Tip: Allow two days for tiling as you need to let things dry.

Ingredients:
For the measuring and preparing:
Spirit level
Pencil
Wooden battens i.e. thin rods of wood you temporarily attach to the wall during the tile laying
Hammer & nails

For sticking the tiles to the walls:
Tile adhesive
Tiles
Tile spacers (these are little plastic crosses you stick between the tiles to ensure they are evenly spaced). They vary in size according to the gap you want between the tiles — I went for 3mm.

For the grouting:
A tile trowel
A grout finisher
Grout mix — we used white grouting for the tiles shown in the photos.

Preparing, Measuring and Laying

1) Clean the area to be tiled and sand down any uneven patches.
2) Measure the area to be tiled and using a pencil draw horizontal and vertical lines on which the tiles are to be placed. It’s advisable to use a spirit level for this to ensure the tiles are placed evenly.
3) Hammer the battens around the edge of the area you want to tile. These ensure you tile in straight lines! Don’t forget to watch-out for pipes and cabling when you hammer these in.
4) Apply the tile adhesive to the wall using the tile trowel. Do this in sweeping motions ensuring that you create grooves in the adhesive. This ensures an even level of the tiles when you stick them on the wall.
5) Apply a tile to the bottom of the area against your battens, pressing it firmly against the wall. Apply a spacer at the top on the side where you are going to be placing your next tile.
6) Keep going until you have applied all the tiles, with spacers between each of them. As you go along, it’s worth double checking that the tiles are even using your spirit level.
7) Once you’ve placed all the tiles on the wall, wipe off any excess adhesive with a damp cloth and leave to dry. The length of drying time depends on the adhesive used, but for me this was 24 hours.

Grouting

1) Your grouting will either come ready prepared or it will need mixing with water.
2) Once your grouting is ready-to-go simply scoop it out using a trowel and apply it to fill the gaps between the tiles.
3) Finish the spaces using a grouting finisher which you can run along the spaces to tightly pack the grout in and create a smooth finish.
4) For any corner sections squeeze the grout into the gaps using a tube. For want of a better option I used a squeezy icing tube that I normally use to pipe icing onto cakes with! I wouldn’t recommend doing it this way, but it did finish the job well!
5) Allow the grout to dry for 30 minutes before wiping off any excess grout on the tiles with a sponge or a damp cloth.
6) Leave to dry according to the manufacturer’s instructions and hey presto — you’ve tiled yourself a wall!

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Check-out our Youtube channel to see how it looks in action!

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