Top 10 Tiling Mistakes To Avoid

With tiling being one of the most cost effective ways to increase the value of your home. There has never been a better time than to pull on your DIY clothes and have a crack at tiling your own wall or floor. Here at Target Tiles, we are going to highlight, and hopefully help you avoid, a few common tiling mistakes. and explain how you can fix tiling mistakes.

1- Measuring Your Area

Now, this may seem like an easy first step, but many people can struggle to work out exactly how many tiles they need or how much adhesive to buy. To try and give a real world example lets work out the area of the room below –

line drawnig of a room measuring 3m by 2m

As you can see, one side of our room is 3m and the other is 2m. In order to work out the total square meterage, all you have to do is multiply one side by the other, so in this example 3m x 2m = 6m²

To do this for a wall is the exact same process, there is nothing different! But there is a little tip for after you’ve worked out your area, a good practice is to add on 10% for things like waste and cuts. 10% of 6m² would be 0.6 so we add this on to the total area and would order 6.6m² of tiles.

This will come in handy when ordering your tiles or working out how much adhesive you will need.

2- Choosing The Right Tile For The Job

This is where the fun begins! Now you know how many tiles you need you, can start looking at all the different materials, shapes and sizes of tiles that are out there. You will want to make sure that you choose the right tile for the area your planning on tiling. Ceramic tiles are a good starter tile if its your first time tiling. They are easy to cut and drill and are probably the most affordable tiles available today. When it comes to sizes of tiles many people ask if large tiles crack easier, this is simply isn’t true. When a tile cracks its almost always because of another cause such as movement beneath the tile or the wrong adhesive being used.

3- Choosing The Right Adhesive

Once you’ve found your perfect tile. You will need to start thinking about how your going to get them to stick to wall or floor. Choosing the right tile adhesive will stop your tiles coming loose or cracking! If your tiling onto a wooden background then its best to make sure to get a flexible tile adhesive. This will help absorb any movement. A perfect product is BAL Flex One, this adhesive is a slow setting, flexible adhesive, and is perfect for walls and floors.

Preparing Your Background

The key to getting a good finish in tiling, is preparing the background first, this could be using a levelling compound like BAL Level Max, this will give you a flat floor to tile onto which will in turn help your tile to lay flat and avoid lips. You can also use a Genesis Easy Level Kit when laying your tiles to help level them out. Or it could be using a priming agent like Ardex P4 Primer, this primer creates a rough texture perfect for tile adhesive to grab onto and is designed so you can tile over existing tile. Its also advisable to make sure that your background is strong and solid as well as dry. Best to give it a quick brush to remove any loose debris. This is often the easiest tiling mistakes to avoid. Just take your time and prepare well.

Setting Out

Before you finally get to mixing up any adhesive or getting dirty. It is best to get the lay out straight in your head, this will save time and stress later on, trust us! You can either use your tape measure to mark out the centre of your area. Then divide the distance to each edge by your chosen tile size, don’t forget to factor in your spacers. You want to make sure that you end up with equal cuts at all the edges. The other way is to just dry lay all your tiles in the area. That way you can slide them around and adjust them until you get the cuts just right.

Troweling Out Your Adhesive

One your happy with your setting out, its  time to trowel out your chosen tile adhesive from earlier. You’ll need to use a suitable notched trowel, as a rule of thumb you should use a 5mm notch trowel for wall tiles & 8mm notch trowel for floor tiles. Our Dual Notch Trowel has both of these sizes, perfect for almost any job! Once you’ve mixed your tile adhesive to the manufactures recommendations, you can start to trowel it out. Try and keep the trowel at a 45° angle, this helps to move the adhesive easier. Ensure that all your lines are going in the the same direction. This will help the adhesive dry evenly by letting moisture and air escape easily. If you tiling larger tiles or onto floors, we recommend you “back butter” all your tiles prior to laying them into your adhesive. Just put a thin, even layer on the back of each tile. Once your tile is down, give it a a quick twist to help it stay in place.

Cutting & Drilling Tiles

In almost every tiling job you undertake, you’ll eventually have to cut some tiles. Sometimes, you may even have to drill a hole for things like radiator pipes or shower valve pipes. Don’t worry though this is a lot easier than you may think! First of grab a tile cutter, either a manual tile cutter like our Sigma 3C3M Manual Tile Cutter or an electric tile saw like our Electric Wet Cutter & Carry Case. Then mark your tile where you want to cut it and DOUBLE check this measurement, its always best to measure twice & cut once! Then just line up your mark with the cutting wheel and push down and away from you to score the tile. Pull down on the handle to snap the tile cleanly along the line. If your using am electric cutter, simply line the mark up with the blade and feed in through slowly.

Now you can step back and admire the area you’ve just tiled! Now is a good time to clean up any adhesive that may have wondered away from you or the bucket! And throw any broken or off cuts of tile in the bin.


Now its time to fill in those gap between the tiles. This can be one of the easiest tiling mistakes to avoid. Choosing a grout can be the difference between your tiles looking OK or WOW. Make sure to choose a tile grout that is suitable for the area your tiling, so a wall grout for wall areas and floor grout for floor areas, some grouts like Mapei Ultracolour can be used for both with makes life easier! Its very important to mix the grout in accordance with the manufacturers guidelines. To little water will make it difficult to use. Too much water can make the colouring in the grout move around and give an uneven look.


No matter if your tiling a kitchen splash back, a bathroom floor or shower area. Sealing the joints between the walls and floors and around the edges is the most important step. Make sure you use a suitable silicone, some silicone like Ardex ST & Mapei Mapesil come in matching colours to the available grout, meaning you can get a matching, perfect finish! When siliconing make sure to use even pressure on the skeleton gun &  do it at a steady pace, this will make sure the bead is even, looking even better! Be sure to allow 24 hours for your silicone to cure completely before touching it.

Clean Up

Arguably the most important part of the job. Do not skip this step, it may be tempting to just tidy your tools away and call it a job well done. But there is still more work to do. Make sure that you have wiped down any excess grout with a damp sponge. Then go over the area again with a clean rag once its dried completely. This will take away the haze from the face of the tile that happens after grouting.

At the end of the day…

In Summary, no matter if your wall tiling or floor tiling it really isn’t difficult. Choose the right tile, adhesive, grout and silicone. Just take your time to prepare, set out the tiles properly and the rest will just fall into place. If your having trouble knowing where to start, why not drop us an email at or give us a call on 02392 372788 and we will be happy to talk you through your choices and make sure you get the right gear, on time, at an amazing price! Hopefully we have highlighted a few tiling mistakes to avoid. And how you can fix them.

Check out our easy to follow guides for floor tiling and wall tiling. Everything you need to know in one, handy leaflet.

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