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Tile Installation Tips From a Tile Expert

Take your tiling skills to the next level. Learn pro tricks for dealing with complicated diagonal layouts, extra-large tiles, uneven walls, dried mortar cleanup and other tiling problems.

By the DIY experts of The Family Handyman Magazine

Build a pyramid for diagonal tiles

Special mortar for big tiles

Size a niche to suit the tile

The finished niche!

The finished niche!

A Symmetrical Niche

By building features like this wall niche based on the size and layout of the tile, you can create designs that look balanced and symmetrical.

Eliminate lippage

Clean cuts in porcelain

Porcelain tile is incredibly hard—and incredibly brittle. So it often chips along cuts or cracks before the cut is complete. Here’s a three-step routine that eliminates those problems. The first step only works with saws that allow you to adjust the depth of cut. If yours doesn’t, you can still make the second and third cuts to avoid cracks.

Gentle smudge remover

Don’t trust this chart

Get a handle on tile

Big cuts without a big saw

Absolutely essential trowel

Built-out trim

A rag that’s always there

Tough scrubber for tools

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Required Tools for this Project

Have the necessary tools for this DIY project lined up before you start—you’ll save time and frustration.

    • Tape measure
    • Bucket
    • Nippers
    • Level
    • Grout float
    • Notched trowel
    • Rags
    • Safety glasses
    • Sanding block
    • Utility knife

You'll also need a tile saw, margin trowel, abrasive pads and a suction cup.

Required Materials for this Project

Avoid last-minute shopping trips by having all your materials ready ahead of time. Here's a list.

    • Thin-set mortar
    • Tile
    • Tile spacers
    • Alignment clips
    • Tile backer

Comments from DIY Community Members

Share what's on your mind and see what other DIYers are thinking about.

1 - 5 of 5 comments
Show per page: 20   All

July 26, 9:08 PM [GMT -5]

I see you used a 3-D accent tile. How do you grout this?

February 05, 6:46 PM [GMT -5]

This is wonderful information!

I'm wondering how to deal with butting up two tiles that aren't the same thickness. I've selected a porcelain wall tile that is 3/8" thick [it's a floor tile that I'm using on the wall]. I'm looking at floor tiles and like one that is 1/4" thick. How do you handle the butt when there's that much difference? Or should I only consider a floor tile that's much closer in thickness to the wall tile?

August 28, 2:15 AM [GMT -5]

Thanks for sharing these DIY Tips. Your tips are very comprehensive and helpful. It is cost effective and ill save to for my future needs.

October 11, 10:32 PM [GMT -5]

While installing 2" ceramic tile to our back splash in the kitchen, found out that I couldn't use the 1/8" spacers, all the time. The tile was glued to a fiberglass matt, and sometimes the spacers wouldn't line up properly. I just scored the fiber glass matt with a utility knife and then I could place the spacers properly

November 13, 1:28 PM [GMT -5]

I really like the entire design of this project. What tile did they use for the floor.

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Tile Installation Tips From a Tile Expert

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