Before any tiling begins, any defects likely to affect the standard of the finished tiling should be rectified.
Any hollows should be filled with a suitable filler and then allowed to dry. Old adhesive must be removed. In severe cases, the wall finish may require total replacement. Walls should not deviate by +/–3mm along a two-metre straight edge.
Allow time to study the room and to plan your work – there will always be alternatives
and equally successful ways to tile the same area. Whenever possible, all furniture, basins and so on should
be removed prior to tiling, in order to achieve the best possible finish.
As a general guide, consider the natural focal point of the area to be tiled and plan the tile layout and the starting point with this in mind. You will require a measuring stick, some timber battens and a spirit level or a laser guide. The measuring stick can be made easily using a straight edged timber batten measuring approximately 1000 x 30 x 25 mm. Mark the width of a tile plus a grout joint along the length of the stick. For example, for a tile of 150mm and assuming a joint width of 3mm, mark off equal distances of 153mm.
Fix your straight length of timber batten to the wall you are going to tile. The batten should run the full length of the wall and be positioned with the top edge one tile width plus one grout joint width above the floor or work surface. Use a spirit level to check that the batten is absolutely horizontal. This batten will provide a level from which to start the tiling and will ensure that the tiling lines are straight, even though the floor or work surface may be uneven.
Hold the measuring stick vertically against the wall and check that you will not be left with a difficult row of very small cut tiles at the top. If necessary, reposition the timber batten further down the wall to even out the cut tiles at the top and bottom.
Measure and mark the midpoint of the wall. From this point use the measuring stick horizontally to determine where the last whole tile will finish. Mark this point with an X on the batten.
Drop a plumb line from the top of the wall to coincide with point ‘X’. Mark the position of the plumb line onto the wall and using the measuring stick as a ruler, draw in this line. Fix another timber batten alongside this line and check with a spirit level that it is absolutely vertical.