How to tile around wall sockets

Updated February 21, 2017

Rarely does a wall tile installation not include the presence of a few outlet boxes. While the good news for tilers and homeowners alike is that the cuts around the outlet box do not need to be perfect, because a cover will be placed over the cuts, there will be multiple cuts within each tile.

Tile around each outlet box as if you are cutting a cookie out of a piece of dough. Only in this case, it will be the centre that will be thrown away.

Lay out the wall tile in the pattern desired. When you get to the tiles that will be surrounding the wall outlet, trace the shape of the outlet onto the tile with a straight edge and pencil.

Make several parallel cuts into the side of the tile with the tile saw. These cuts will cross the entire area that will be removed to make room for the outlet. Use tile nippers to cut away the pieces of tile that will appear like the teeth of a comb, to reveal the cutout for the outlet.

Drill a hole in the centre of a tile using a diamond bit when the cutout for the outlet will be in the centre of the tile. Use tile nippers to cut away the opening for the outlet.

Slip the tile over or around the outlet to ensure that it fits properly and that when the cover is in place, the cutout is completely hidden.

Apply thinset mortar to the back of the tile going around the outlet cover using a trowel. Press the tile into place beside the other tiles and the outlet and wiggle it as much as possible before straightening it out to ensure a good bond between the tile and the adhesive.

Things You'll Need

  • Pencil
  • Straight edge
  • Tile saw
  • Drill with a diamond bit
  • Tile nippers
  • Thin set
  • Trowel
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About the Author

Sarabeth Asaff has worked in and has written about the home improvement industry since 1995. She has written numerous articles on art, interior design and home improvements, specializing in kitchen and bathroom design. A member in good standing with the National Kitchen and Bath Association, Asaff has working knowledge of all areas of home design.