The placing of the first few tiles is critical; if they are out of true the entire job will be affected. So temporarily position a few tiles, starting against your vertical line and batten, and check for a perfect right-angle. Only when you are satisfied all is correct should you begin. Starting from this right angle spread the tile adhesive with a broad knife or small round-edged trowel over about one square metre (or sq yd) of wall area.
Don’t use your notched spreader to lift the adhesive from the can as it will come through the notches onto your hands. Comb this area horizontally to leave a series of ridges. Cover with tiles, pressing them into place with a twisting movement – never slide them across the adhesive as it will squeeze up between the tiles – completing each horizontal row before starting the one above. Make sure each tile is butted squarely against its neighbours with spacer lugs touching. With RE and REX tiles, neither of which has spacer lugs, use matchsticks or pieces of cardboard to ensure equal spacing and remove after 24 hours.
As you complete each square metre of tiling be sure to check the tiles are correctly positioned vertically and horizontally by using your spirit level. Complete as many whole tiles as possible before tackling any cutting. When the area above the horizontal batten is complete, allow at least 12 hours’ drying time before removing the batten and tiling the bottom course (row). Allow another 24 hours before starting to grout. There are special water-resistant adhesives for tiled areas likely to be subjected to excessive splashing or heat, such as shower cubicles. You will need a trowel to spread this type in a thin layer and should allow at least 14 days before grouting or allowing the tiles to come into contact with water. There is a ‘fix and grout’ product that enables you to stick down your tiles and then grout them in a matter of hours.
Tiling round fitments
Treat the top edges of sinks, baths and cupboard units as the floor level and nail or screw a horizontal batten above them. This will support the tiles above it while the rest of the wall is being completed. After the adhesive has set, remove the batten and apply the bottom course of tiles, trimming where necessary.
Tiling round windows
The window is very often the focal point of any room so it is important to try to arrange the tiles to achieve a good visual balance, with equal size tiles on either side of the window. On horizontal sill surfaces fix whole tiles at the front, with any cut ones at the back nearest the window where they are not so obvious.