Can You Tile Cinder Block Walls? [And How To]

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Cinder block walls might look rather plain when not painted or decorated in any way. To upgrade the look of your cinder block walls, you might be questioning if installing tiles is possible. We inquired from the experts, did some research, and here's what we found out.

Yes, you can put tiles on cinder block walls with no problem. Choose the tiles you want on your walls and use a good quality adhesive mortar for fixing them to the wall.

Tiling a cinder block wall is a relatively easy task that you could do over the weekend. Continue reading to see how to go about it and what you'll require for the project.

A corner of a cinder block wall, Can You Tile Cinder Block Walls? [And How To]

How To Put Tiles On Cinder Block Walls

Ensure that the cinder block wall has cured with no cracks. Before putting the tiles on, the cinder block wall should be thoroughly dry. Allowing the wall to cure will enable you to see any irregularities in the blockwork.

Collect and have all the tools ready for the job. Follow these steps for a quick and clean job:

  1. Put marks on the wall where you would like to have the tiles. If you want to put tiles on the entire wall, start at the bottom.
  2. Use a trowel to put the adhesive evenly on the wall and tiles.
  3. Apply just enough mortar or adhesive on each tile just before sticking it to the wall. This will ensure that the adhesive stays moist and will hold the tile.
  4. Once you have placed the tile on the cinder wall, put the plastic joint spacers. these spacers are available in 1/32 inches to 1/2 inches. Many DIYers prefer using the 1/4, 1/8, or 3/16 inch spacers.
  5. As you mount the tiles on the cinder block wall, level any uneven blockwork. The blocks might differ in size by a few milimeters.
  6. Finally, put the grout on the gaps or seams. Clean the wall thoroughly to remove any excess grout. Let the grout dry and then polish the tiles clean to remove any residue from the grout or adhesive.

Here's a video that demonstrates the process:

Tools For Tiling A Cinder Block Wall

To put tiles in your cinder wall, you will need some preparation. When you have assembled all the necessary tools, the job will go smoothly. Here are several important tools:

Spirit or Bubble Level

A worker using spirit to align the floor

The spirit level is used to check if the walls where you want to mount the tiles are level. A bubble or spirit level eliminates any doubts you might be having about the walls not being level. You will be aware of which parts need leveling out.

Chalk Line

Piled red bricks with a chalk line for masons to use as guide

Use a chalk line to mark straight lines on your cinder block wall. Mark the wall before mounting any tiles. Once you unreel and snap the chalk line, you'll get a straight line on the wall.

Notched Trowel

Trowels are what you use to spread the adhesive onto the wall. You could use V-notched trowels to spread the mastic or tile adhesive. Trowels come in different sizes. Therefore, use what is recommended by the manufacturer of the type of adhesive you are using.

Rubber Mallet

You will need a rubber mallet to tap lightly on the tiles as you put them in place. Any other hammer won't work because it'll break the tiles.

Check out this rubber mallet on Amazon.

Tile Cutter & Tile Nippers

Tiles will need to be cut to make them smaller to fit on the wall. The best machine for cutting tiles is a tile wet saw or a tile snap cutter. A tile wet saw is electricity-powered whilst a tile snap cutter is manual.

Check out this tile wet saw on Amazon

Purchase either of the two to cut straight lines on the tiles, and whichever is within your budget.

Tile nippers cut or snip small parts of the tile. They cut around edges to create curves. Tile nippers work just like nail clippers, they assist you to cut the tiles and create the necessary shape.

Check out how tile nippers work in this video below:

Grout Float

A grout float helps drive the grout deep into the seams or joints of the tiles while spreading it evenly. It smears, spreads, and removes excess grout from the tiles' surface.

Have a look at this grout float on Amazon.

Once the grout has dried, use a wet round-edged grout sponge to clean the tile surface. It will leave the tiled wall clean without scratching the tiles.

Tile Spacers

Tile spacers are necessary for ensuring that the spacing between tiles is even throughout the working surface. You can purchase different sizes of tile spacers in home improvement stores or online.

Others

Other necessary items are buckets, brooms, vacuum cleaners, mops, and protective gear.

Use the buckets to mix the tile adhesive. You might also put water in them for cleaning the excess grout on the wall. Use mops, vacuum cleaners, and brooms to clean the work area. Clean as soon as you finish tiling the walls before any adhesive dries and sticks to the floor.

Protective gear is a must when handling powered tools to protect yourself.

Tiles Well Suited For Cinder Block Walls

Tile setter using trowel to apply mortar on the bathroom tile wall

Tiles are decorative elements that need to be thought out well before installation. Depending on where you'll be installing them, pick the right type of tile with care. Tiles can make your bathroom, kitchen, basement apartment, or living room look magnificent.

Tiles come in a ray of materials, shapes, and sizes. When choosing tiles for any project, ensure that you consider the time, type of tile, and the size of the surface area.

Here are a few types of tiles and areas they are suited for:

  1. Porcelain Tiles: They are made to look like stone, wood, or brick, suitable for indoor as well as outdoor walls.
  2. Glass Tiles: They come in different colors and are easy to clean. Glass tiles are ideal for small areas. They are solely for decorative purposes.
  3. Cement Tiles: These tiles are practical and are durable. They can substitute cement and are decorative with versatile patterns. Cement tiles are well suited for indoors as well as outdoors.
  4. Ceramic Tiles: They are classic are durable, have different patterns, and colors. They are ideal for kitchens, bathrooms, and living rooms.
  5. Marble Tiles: Although expensive, they add elegance and chic to a room.

How To Decorate Cinder Block Walls

Worker applying mortar on the wall before placing a tile

Other than using tile for your cinder block walls, you can use the following methods to make them appealing. Ideally, you may decorate cinder block walls according to whether they are interior or exterior ones.

Interior Walls

Interior cinder walls can be decorated to match the interior or to stand out from the rest of the room. You can choose from these options:

  1. Cement the walls for a more even look.
  2. Paint the walls in bold colors and use the blockwork as a design.
  3. Place antique furniture along the wall. Use old wooden rustic tables, clocks, or cupboards.
  4. Hang paintings and large drawings with the cinder block wall acting as a background.
  5. Hang lights, lamps, and brass for a visual lighting effect.
  6. Mix cement and paint before applying the mixture to the wall. You'll get an interesting colorful wall texture.

Exterior Walls

Exterior walls might not need a lot of work on them, but here are a few suggestions:

  1. Use concrete or stucco for a better-finished look on your block walls.
  2. Hang climbing plants that will soften the rough look of the wall.
  3. Put vinyl siding to cover the wall and give your walls a different character.

Final Thoughts

A corner of a cinder block wall

Tiles are a beautiful element that will liven any boring cinder block walls in the home. They are easy to put on blockwork when you use the right tools.

The different types of tiles available in the market will let you decorate your wall within your budget. There are other ways to decorate cinder block walls without breaking a sweat.

Before you go, read the following posts on how to improve your home:

Pros And Cons Of Epoxy Floors Coating

What Color To Paint Exposed Basement Ceiling?

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