How To Tile Around a Window

DISCLAIMER - This is a guide only and Tilesporcelain Ltd is not liable for the finished tiling project.

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Tiling around a window can be a difficult task. Measuring and cutting tiles accurately is very important in creating a smooth and even finish around the external edge of a window. The sides of the wall which surround the window often aren’t straight, which poses further problems during tiling. There are two popular methods of tiling around a window. Using trim is considered to be the easiest method but you can also tile without trim, it’s entirely up to you. For a specific look at how to tile around a window using one of these methods click on the appropriate link above. If you are keen on tiling a kitchen or bathroom wall then learning how to tile around a window will prove to be very important. Tiling around a window is invariably something that puts people off a DIY project, prompting them to call in the professionals. Learning how to carry out this task yourself will, therefore save you money. Even the slightest of inaccuracies are accentuated around a window. This means that meticulous planning and preparation is essential when it comes to tiling around a window. If you can master how to tile around a window then tiling around other wall features such as electrical sockets will inevitably prove a lot easier. Whether you tile around a window with a trim or with tiles is very much determined by the materials you use. When using a trim, choosing tiles which are thin is recommended. Ceramic or porcelain tiles are often preferred when using trim as heavier stone varieties often have a greater thickness and are therefore less practical. The edges of stone tiles fitted around a window often have a chamfered finish applied, creating a smooth, streamlined appearance.


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Measure the centre of the window recess in order to create a symmetrical tiling around the window recess. Depending upon your original starting point you can nail a horizontal wooden batten to the wall to act as a temporary support in order to get the tiles aligned with the window sill or edge of the lower recess. If there is no window sill, the lower edge of tiles will need to overlap the reveal by the thickness of a tile plus adhesive to allow the trim to finish square when fit.


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Fit whole wall tiles to the wall working out and around the window Use a suitable jig to make sure part tiles are cut accurately to fit around the window opening and provide a vertical edge overlapping the reveal by at least a tile+adhesive thickness Continue tiling around the widow opening


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Accurately measure the reveal opening and cut lengths of trim with a 45 degree mitred edge to fit the opening. Apply adhesive to the reveal and fit the trim in place, using the adhesive to hold it while fitting tiles into the reveal. Don’t assume the recess is the same all round but measure and cut each tile to fit individually, beginning at the sides and allow a 3mm gap between the tile and trim and also between the tile and window frame. Make sure the cut edge faces the window for a better finish Once the sides are complete, tile the top reveal The tiles can be held in place to set with a wood offcut and tightly fitting battens wedged against the window sill or lower reveal If needed, finish by tiling the lower reveal. Once the adhesive has dried, apply grout, making sure to grout around the tile trim too then wipe clean, Once the tiling and grouting is complete you can seal around the gap between window frame and tiles using a white or suitably coloured waterproof, mould resistant silicone sealant to complete the window recess.


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Walls are rarely perfectly square so spend some time planning and measuring the window opening then decide how best to lay out the tiles, especially if you are tiling more than 1 wall or tiling from floor to ceiling. Take more time working out where the tiles will be on feature walls and then it’s easier to correct for imperfections in hidden or less obvious areas.


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Take a look at this useful guide on how to tile around a window with stone tiles. Stone tiles are generally much thicker than ceramic wall tiles and tend to look out of place with plastic or metal trims hence stone tiles are normally installed with a polished, rounded or chamfered edge. This can be quite a difficult finish to get right as all exposed tile edges need to be finished in a consistent way. This can be achieved with minimal tools for the simpler butt joint with square or lightly chamfered edge. Rounded edges can also be achieved although they require more planning. Please note that plaster skim walls may not be strong enough to take the weight of granite, travertine, marble or other stone tiles and may need extra preparation to ensure they can hold the additional load. This article assumes that the surfaces to be tiled are suitable for a stone tile finish The reveal or recess around windows or inset wall areas is rarely square so the stone tiles will need to be adjusted to create a squared recess opening. Preparing tile edges takes time and needs to be completed accurately for the best finish. A polished edge is relatively easy to achieve on a standard butt joint while for a more professional finish the outer edge can be completed with a 45 degree 3mm chamfer. Chamfering can be completed by hand although a suitable cutting/grinding jig makes this job easier; especially with hard tiles like granite or porcelain.


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Measure the centre of the window or recess to ensure the tile layout creates a symmetrical arrangement. Plan the tiling with either a central grout joint or the centre-line of your tile aligning with the midpoint of the recess


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If you plan on using the lower recess as a window sill then you may prefer to have the sill tiles protruding by about 18-20 mm and they should be fitted in place before tiling the vertical recesses


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There are 2 trains of thought on this and both are equally valid: 1 Outer wall tiles provide the edge tile so that the joint is hidden 2 The tiles fitted to the recess have the edge exposed to form a natural frame Outer wall Tiles Provide The Finished Edge Fit whole tiles to the wall working out and around the window Use a suitable jig with a wet cutting diamond saw blade to make sure part tiles are cut accurately. They need to fit around the window opening and provide a vertical edge overlapping the reveal by at least a tile + adhesive thickness. IF the recess is not square; the smallest overlap needs to be a tile + adhesive thickness Smooth the exposed edge using various grades of abrasive from 50 to 150 Grit to ensure the edge is square without any protruding nibs Optional Apply a chamfered edge using a diamond wheel-jig angled at 45 degrees and set to form a 3mm chamfer Finish the edge using various grit carborundum papers from 50 to 1500 grit to get the level of polish you desire


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This is probably the easier option Tile the outer wall as above but the recess overlap only needs to be sufficient for the adhesive and to provide enough space for a grout line Measure and cut the tiles individually for the recess to ensure a 3mm gap between the tile and window frame for sealing later Polish the outer edge and chamfer using the guidelines above. Fix in place using adhesive and tile spacers making sure to leave a 3mm gap between the window frame and window facing edge of the tile


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When the adhesive and sealant have cured (up to 24hrs after last operation), apply grout, making sure to grout between the edging tiles. Once the tiling and grouting are complete you make a water resistant seal between the stone tiles and frame edge using a white or suitably coloured waterproof, mould resistant silicone sealant for a professional finish


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