• In this video, This Old House tile contractor Joe Ferrante explains how to set ceramic tile in a subway pattern.


    1 Apply thin coat of tile mastic or thinset to cement backerboard with smooth edge of a notched trowel.
    2 Use the notched edge of trowel to apply thicker bed of mastic to wall.
    3 Start setting bullnose tile along edge of the wall.
    4 Press each tile firmly into the mastic to create a strong, lasting bond.
    5 Set the field tile alongside the bullnose, working your way across the wall.
    6 Maintain consistent spacing between tiles; if necessary, place tile spacers between the tiles.
    7 Allow mastic or thinset to cure before grouting the joints between the tile.
    • Difficulty: Easy to moderate
      depending on the complexity of the tile pattern
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      Video Directory

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      Tools List

      • notched trowel
        Notched trowel,
        used to apply tile mastic
      • tile cutter
        Tile cutter

      Shopping List

      1. Ceramic tile

      2. Tile mastic, used to adhere tile to wall

      3. Grout

      4. Grout sponge