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Large Format Porcelain Tile Grill Wall Installation

I received a call from a customer in Bradenton, Florida who wanted to do tile on his lanai grill wall. The reason for this was his grill was leaving smoke stains on the stucco and there was also some splattering from grilling. He got the idea of doing tile to stop the splattering and grease stains and also ease of cleaning. He emailed me the measurements of the wall and also some pictures and I was able to give him an installation price that he later accepted. I then sent him to a couple of the tile store we use in the area. He found a nice tan rectified 20×20 and also a gray rectified 12 x24 as a border band behind the grill. I had him select a grout color while he was there. He selected a matching gray grout for the gray tile and a tan grout for the tan tile so they would blend nicely and not have a clashing grout line in either.

The tile came in at the warehouse and the customer picked it up a couple days before we started. We arrived at the job and the first thing we did was cover his lanai concrete with our drop clothes to protect the work area. We then put on some outlet box extender for him so they would sit out further on the finished tile. I got the tools out, set up the wet saw and then inspected the tile in the boxes to make sure they were all the same lot, size, color, etc.. After we were set up I did the layout on the grill wall. I found the center line and made the plumb mark and also made a horizontal line allowing for a full tile and the lowest part of the pitched lanai. The lanai is pitched away from the house for drainage so care was taken to make sure there would be no slithers of tile. I then proceeded to mark the tile on the needed angle and cut the first bottom row tile on my wet saw.

After they were cut I mixed up some modified thinset and started to install the bottom row. I use the TLS “Tuscan Leveling System” on installs like this to ensure the tile is set flat and smooth during the installation. The TLS system allows the installer to get a “lippage” free wall or floor by using the straps and caps. To me it makes it easier to get a smooth tile project rather then fighting with packing/adding thinset and having the tiles sag and drop when the thinset dries. You can see in the pictures the red caps that are being used with the white straps. They stop the tile from moving while holding the faces of the tile flush while drying. It also makes my job a little bit easier. I am using a tight joint with this tile, about a 1/16 of an inch and had my wedge spacers holding them up.

After the first row was installed level and side cuts were made I started on the second row. The second row went up nice and easy since the bottom row was perfectly level and the faces locked in flat from the TLS. That first day I worked my way up to  the gray accent band tile and finished. We let it dry and came back the next day and started on the area above the accent band. Once we completed setting all of the tile on the top area we popped the Tuscan caps and prepped the lower area for grouting. We grouted the lower area and accent band and then got the top area ready to grout. Once everything was grouted we caulked the perimeter joints with a matching caulk to allow for movement. Then we did one final wash to clean the wall of any haze and rolled the grill back in place for the homeowner.

He loves it !

{ 5 comments… read them below or add one }

Christopher Kufner June 29, 2012 at 3:32 am

Brian,
I like the way you discribe and also show the progression using the Tuscan Leveling System. Great job!
Thank you,
Christopher

Ceramictec June 30, 2012 at 7:15 pm

Thanks Christopher,

my works has went up a notch since using the TLS and also
the jobs have gone a lot easier.

mbt rocker July 25, 2012 at 7:20 am

I have been examining some of your posts and it’s pretty good stuff.
I will surely bookmark your website.

April S. August 29, 2012 at 8:37 pm

Thank you for sharing this, you really know what you’re talking about!

Jennifer in Calgary May 6, 2013 at 7:22 am

You are doing a really nice job, That’s why you are getting calls from your customers. Thanks for sharing your experience with us.

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