Installing a Border and Mural Panel

Emphasize a floor design with a border or brighten a room with a tile wall mural.


Borders and murals solve design problems that might otherwise plague a tile installation.

A border emphasizes a floor design, setting off the field tiles from the rest of the floor. Installing a rectangular border around a layout of diagonal field tiles minimizes the effect of cut diagonals on a floor that's severely out of square. For a modest price, you can create a stunning floor design with mesh-backed border sheets and affordable field tile.

A tiled mural panel is common in kitchens, but it can brighten any room. Use an outdoor scene to complement a solid office wall. Cooking scenes or floral designs go well behind a countertop range or behind the food prep area on a kitchen backsplash.

Layout is crucial to both borders and murals. Draw a dimensional plan. When planning a border, be sure to allow for the likelihood that the room is not square.


About eight to ten hours for a border on an 8x10 floor, four to six hours for a mural

Tape measure, carbide scorer, chalkline, cordless drill, framing square, china marker, wet saw, beater block, rubber mallet, notched trowel, grout float

Measuring, attention to detail, setting tile, grouting

Repair and clean surface to be tiled

Backerboard, tile, mesh-backed border tile, mortar, grout, backerboard screws, joint tape

Step 1

Snap chalklines at the midpoints of opposite walls and square them. Dry-lay tiles on each axis. Insert a cardboard template as a placeholder for the border. Adjust the lines until you have space for a half-tile or more along the edges.

Step 2

Leave the dry-laid tiles in place, and if using mesh-backed border sheets, dry-lay the border. Adjust the border so any cuts you have to make will fall on a grout line, if possible. If using individual border tiles, measure the pattern and determine cut lines using the measurement.

Step 3

Using the quadrant method, set the tile in two adjacent quadrants, lining up the tiles in each section with a metal straightedge. This will complete the field tiles along one wall. You can lay the field tiles in the remaining quadrants or set the border on each wall separately.

Step 4

Spread mortar for the border and lay it, taking care to space all the pieces evenly, both along the edges and within the field of the border. Embed the tiles with a beater block as you would any mosaic tile. If you haven't done so already, measure, cut, and set the edge tiles.

Step 5

Let the mortar cure. Mix just enough grout that you can use before it sets up. Using a grout float, force the grout between the tiles, removing any excess from the surface of the tile as you go. When the grout has set, clean the tile with a dampened sponge and wipe off the remaining haze.

Comments (1)
richard_tyrrell wrote:

We are having a problem with diamond shapes tiles with larger diamond medalions. The smaller diamond tiles are 1" and the larger diamond medalions are 3", is there a way to make these work without having large uneven spaces between?

8/23/2010 10:12:19 AM Report Abuse
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