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September 21, 2019 – Published in Design & Decor Autumn 2019 issue

Tiling our outside walls

Words Stephanie Falzon

In the last three articles, we have gone through individual rooms and discussed and planned how best to tile our walls. We started with the Bedroom walls, then entered the Living Rooms and in the last edition, we discussed the Kitchens. However, our homes are not only viewed from the inside. The first impression we give of our home, is from the outside.

Our outside walls need as much maintenance and designing as our indoor walls. If we have any humidity problems that need solving on the inside, then, if this is a common, external wall, the chances are that you have the same problem that needs fixing on the outside. For example, if we live anywhere where sea winds and sea sprays are a regular thing, then we need to protect our walls from this weathering. Wall cladding on the outside can protect, solve problems as well as decorate our external walls. So, which are the walls that can be tiled? Actually, any wall can be tiled. It can be a particular wall near the front or back garden. Or it can be the entire back terrace. Or even the garage at the end of the drive way that needs a little pick-me-up. And what about commercial premises? These are all walls or places that can be clad with tiles.

But now, let’s talk about which individual walls we can cover with tiles. In reality, you can cover any of the outside walls with tiles. However, as with all forms of design, we must do it with style and planning. We first need to study which wall or at least which part of a wall we want to cover. Are we tiling our walls because we like the idea of cladding, because we would like to prevent the weathering of our walls or because we have a problem and we need to solve it?

At this point it is very important to book our tiler. We rarely mention this point, but we need to understand that tilers are not waiting for us to call them - especially the good ones. We need to book them – sometimes months ahead. It is nearly unheard of, for a good tiler to tell you: Of course Madam, when do you want me to start? So plan ahead.

Then we need to identify the colour scheme we are going to go for. So now we can have a good look at any fixed apertures and doors we may have. Are we keeping these? Or giving the whole thing a face lift? Either way, everything must match and blend together. When we have decided whether we are going for shades of beiges, greys or any other colours, then we think about whether we are going for plain tiles or for decorated tiles. Remember that sometimes less is more. If the façade or the area you are planning to tile is already extremely well planned and the architect did a wonderful job with the design, then we should go for a plainer tile. If the area we have is fairly unadorned, then we can afford to go for a decorated tile. But with a plain tile, you are always safer.

Now we can begin to shop around. If you are still unsure of what you want, now is the time to talk to someone. It can be the architect, designer, sales person or the tiler himself. These people will all have loads of experience in this and will be able to guide you more. And whilst from the internet we can get a lot of ideas, people with experience can guide you better as to what is best for your area.

After we buy the tiles, we need to get good quality glue and grouting. What is the use of buying the best tile around and then attaching them with inferior quality glue? The same goes for the grouting. Go for quality. Ask around. There are products around which are specifically produced for the hot weather like we have in Malta. These are products, specifically manufactured, that do not dry up quickly in buckets while the tiler is working. The worse thing that you can do is top up the glue or grout mixtures that are beginning to dry up in the bucket, with water.

So let us re-cap on our to-do list:

  1. We first identify the wall or area we need to cover

  2. We measure the width of the area so we can shop around for a size that will fit in the space we have

  3. We book a tiler

  4. We decide on a colour scheme

  5. We decide whether we are going for plain tiles or decorated ones.

  6. We start shopping around

  7. We discuss with the sales person/designer/tiler what best to choose

  8. After we have chosen our tiles, we buy good ceramic or gres glue (which ever one we might need) and colour of the grouting

  9. Let the work begin

The first impressions we give of our homes, are always from the outside. While driving through any town or village, how many times have we stopped to say: ‘What a lovely house/façade!’ or ‘Look at that! What on earth were they thinking?’ We cannot afford any mistakes. Blunders and gaffes to the outside of our properties are on display for everyone to see. So let us plan well.

Falzon’s Bathrooms & Ceramics, Psaila Street, Sta Venera.
Tel: 2148 2860 / 2148 5536


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