The No-Nonsense DIY Guide: How To Tile A Hallway

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Showing your hallway some much-needed attention will ensure that the entrance to your home makes a good first impression. It can also be one of the more affordable home improvement ideas to undertake as areas are generally smaller and require fewer furnishings.

When it comes to choosing materials to use for hallway floors and walls, tiles can deliver a practical covering for this high-traffic area – giving your interior updates better longevity and style!

However, before you begin your hallway tiling project, it’s important to think about practical elements such as how to tile a hallway. This is a job you can do yourself to save money on labour costs, but there are a few pros and cons to consider before you embark on creating your own tiled hallway. 

Tiling a hallway: should you hire or DIY?

Inevitably, home improvement work requires you to spend some of your hard-earned cash. But taking on some of the work yourself can keep renovation costs down.

Tiling a hallway can be more challenging than tiling large areas, as they’re often small and narrow with awkward features and shapes to contend – take stairs, for example. This can mean negotiating more cuts and complicated layouts to ensure you get a professional-looking finish.

Another consideration is the disruption tiling can cause, making your hallway and other areas of your home difficult to access. If you’re doing it yourself, this will inevitably take longer, whereas a pro tiler can lay a floor from start to finish in 1-2 days. 

With this in mind, taking on hallway tiling as your first-ever DIY tiling job could be a baptism of fire. Weigh up whether it’s worth spending money on an experienced tiler to get the job done properly. 

What’s the cost of tiling a hallway?

The cost of tiling a hallway will obviously vary depending on the size of the area, the type of tile and whether you do the work yourself or hire a tradesperson.

For instance, pattern tiles can be more expensive to fit as they’ll require added care when laying to ensure the pattern continues around obstacles such as stairs and corners.

According to Checkatrade, most tiling quotes are calculated on m2 rates, but they can be higher if you’re installing expensive tiles or real stone. There’s often a lot of prep work required, too, like tile removal or levelling the surface before installation. 

If you do go down the route of employing a tradesperson for your hallway tiling, there are also a few other variables that can impact the cost of the quote. These include whether they charge an hourly rate, day rate or job rate, as well as your location. For example, tiling rates are generally more expensive in London and surrounding areas than they would be in other regions.

When you’re tiling a hallway yourself, there are also other cost considerations to factor in. This could include buying or hiring tiling accessories like electric tile cutters, trowels and other essential tiling tools, as well as the cost of tile adhesive and grout. 

How to tile a hallway: step-by-step guide

If you’re up to the challenge of tiling a hallway, take a read of our step-by-step guide before you start to get all the pointers you need.

Hallway tiling checklist

Let’s start with making sure you have all the hallway tiling essentials you need before starting the job:

  • Hallway tiles (suitable for the area you’re tiling)
  • Tile adhesive and grout
  • Tiling trowel with grooved edge for applying the adhesive
  • Grout float to apply grout between tile joints
  • Manual or electric tile cutter
  • Electric drill with mixing nozzle (for mixing powdered adhesive)
  • Electric grinder with diamond drill bits (disc and circular for smaller cuts)
  • Mixing buckets x 2
  • Clean sponges and cloths (for wiping excess adhesive and grout off tiles)
  • Measuring tape & pencil
  • Wooden batons and nails/screws (if tiling a wall)
  • Spirit level
  • Self-levelling screed (if required for floors)
  • Tile backer boards (if required for floors and walls)
  • Tile spacers

Installing your hallway tiles

When it comes to how to tile a hallway floor or wall, the steps are generally the same as other areas of the home. Be prepared to face a few more tile cuts and fiddly installation, though.

Below, you’ll find a step-by-step process to help you pull off a professional-looking hallway tiling job from start to finish.

  1. Measure the area: hallways are notoriously not uniform shapes. Find the total square metre measurement by multiplying the longest and widest parts of the room. This will give you a total figure so you know how many tiles you’ll need to cover the area, allowing at least an extra 10% for cuts and breakages 
  2. Prepare your hallway surfaces: all walls and floors to be tiled should be clean and dry before applying adhesive. However, you also need to make sure the surface is level, filling in any divots and cracks where needed. For floors, you may want to apply a self-levelling screed or tile backer boards if they’re very uneven or you’re tiling onto wooden floorboards. This will provide a more flexible substrate to prevent tiles from cracking if the wood expands or contracts. 
  3. Find your starting point: when tiling hallway floors, measure the farthest end of the room widthways and mark the central point with a pencil. This will be your starting point, working in rows towards the other end of the room (eg a doorway). With walls, you’ll need to attach vertical and horizontal wooden batons to the wall with nails or screws like a graph axis. Then measure the central point of the wall and mark it as your starting point. This will ensure your tile rows are straight and you have even cuts at either end.
  4. Dry layout your design: whether you’re laying plain or patterned tiles, it’s essential to do a dry run of your tile layout before fixing them in place. This allows you to plan the pattern and calculate cuts ahead of time. Your first tile should be positioned in the centre of your marked starting point – work outwards from this point for an even design
  5. Lay your tiles: to attach hallway tiles to floors and walls, mix up your adhesive in one of your buckets and spread it evenly over the surface with a tiling trowel (approximately 1 square metre at a time so it doesn’t dry out). Use the notched edge on the trowel to create a grooved effect that provides better suction between the tile and the substrate. Next, gently press your tile onto the adhesive, using a spirit level to make sure it’s straight. Lay your next tile with a small gap between, using tile spacers between each tile joint, then work your way outwards to each edge one row at a time
  6. Allow to dry: your adhesive must be fully set before you can walk on the tiles and begin grouting to fully seal them. This can take anything between 3 to 24 hours, so check the manufacturer instructions for guidance. Be sure to account for other factors like room temperature, too
  7. Seal your tiles: the final stage of tiling a hallway floor or wall is to seal your tiles from dirt and moisture using tile grout. This typically comes ready mixed and is applied using a rubber grout float. Before you begin, remove any tile spacers from the joints, then scoop a small amount of grout onto the tile joint. Using the grout float, push the grout down all the way into the joints. A diagonal motion can work best here. As you go, use a damp sponge to gently wipe over the joints to get a smooth finish and remove any excess grout from the tiles
  8. Clean your tiles: once the grout has dried (check the manufacturer’s instructions for guidance), you can then use a damp sponge and clean, cold water to wipe grout residue from the tiles. This may need to be done a few times. You can then seal any edges with silicone and give them a final mop with warm, soapy water

Tiling a hallway can be a great way to give your floors and walls a practical covering to cope with daily use and inevitable marks in this functional space. Hallway tiling doesn’t come without its challenges, but by following the above steps to the letter, you should have all the essential know-how needed to achieve your own beautifully tiled hallway. 

If you’re ready to get started, we have options galore for hallway floor tiles and wall tiles. We can even send you a sample tile cut if you’re struggling to decide which designs to go for – simply order online from just £1.99. And if you need any more inspiration for your hallway renovation, our blog is packed full of helpful articles on hallway colour schemes and hallway design ideas

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