How to install large wall tile

Written by sofia rodrigues
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How to install large wall tile
Large wall tiles can provide greater challenges than regular tiles (tile layer image by Greg Pickens from

Using large tile to cover a wall is an efficient way to update the look of your home. Large wall tiles are especially economical if you want to tile a large wall, especially one in a bathroom, sauna or basement, where there may be high humidity. Large wall tiles also work in outdoor areas, where rain, snow and humidity may discolour or damage regular walls. Large wall tiles are preferred because of their easier maintenance, as there are fewer joints to worry about. You can install large wall tiles in one session, or over a weekend.

Skill level:

Things you need

  • Measuring tape
  • Level
  • Chalk line
  • Thin-set mortar
  • Notched trowel
  • Large tiles
  • Safety gloves
  • Safety goggles
  • Wet saw
  • Grout
  • Rubber trowel
  • Damp sponge

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  1. 1

    Ensure the area you are about to tile is clean and dry.

  2. 2

    Measure the wall you will be tilling. Multiply the width by the height to attain the area of the wall.

  3. 3

    Purchase 10 per cent more tiles than your measurements indicate you will need, to account for any damage incurred during installation or shipping.

  4. 4

    Use the chalk line to snap a line one tile high from the bottom of the wall. Ensure it is level before continuing. This line will be your guide.

  5. 5

    Mix the thin-set mortar according to the instructions on the package. It is best to use a special non-sag thin-set mortar, which can be purchased at most home improvement stores.

  6. 6

    Use the notched trowel to spread a layer of thin-set mortar that will cover the space of several tiles, beginning at the bottom of the wall. The notched trowel is especially important with large tiles, as the spaces it makes in the mortar help the tile adhere to the wall using suction.

  7. 7

    Beginning at the bottom corner of the wall, lay the first tile. Apply firm pressure while wiggling the tile very slightly. This will help the tile adhere better, and remove any air pockets in the mortar.

  8. 8

    Add tile spacers on all sides of the large tiles.

  9. 9

    Continue spreading mortar and firmly pressing the large tiles into the wall until you are finished the bottom row.

  10. 10

    Use the wet saw to cut to size any large tiles that do not fit at the end of the row.

  11. 11

    Continue tiling in rows until you reach the top of the wall. Use the wet saw to cut the top tiles if they do not fit in the space left.

  12. 12

    Allow the large tiles to set in the mortar until it is cured. Check the package for exact drying times, but this will typically be between 24 and 36 hours.

  13. 13

    Mix the grout according to the instructions on the package.

  14. 14

    Use a rubber trowel to carefully spread the grout in the spaces between the tiles. Ensure a tight seal, as the grout will help the large tiles stay in place. Use a damp cloth to wipe away any excess grout from the tiles.

  15. 15

    Allow the grout to set. Check the package for exact curing times, but this will take anywhere between 24 and 72 hours.

  16. 16

    Use a damp cloth in a circular motion to wipe away any haze from the large tiles after the grout has cured.

Tips and warnings

  • Start from the bottom of the wall and work upwards. The weight of large tiles makes them more susceptible to sagging, and this will provide extra support.
  • Always wear protective safety gloves and goggles before using a wet-saw or cutting tiles in any way.

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