How to Install Tile on an Internal Corner

A tiled surfaced utilizing small, square, multi-colored tiles.
  • 1 hours
  • Beginner
  • 100-150
What You'll Need
Plastic trim
Chalk lines
Tape measure
Felt tip pen
Tile cutter
Wet saw
Notched trowel

There are many things to consider when determining how to install tile, especially on the inside corner of a wall. Luckily, tile installation is not a difficult skill to master, and you can easily do it yourself just as well as a professional if you plan carefully and follow these simple steps.

Step 1 - Plan of Attack

Do a dry layout of your tiles to get an idea for what will work best and where your cuts will need to be. For DIYers who may not have a lot of tile cutting experience, plastic trim might be helpful to use at the corners. This trim can hide the rough edges of bad cuts a lot better than just using grout, so consider this option if you aren’t confident in how polished your cuts will be.

Snap chalk lines to mark your first row of tiles and the perimeter of your corner piece. Measure a 1/8-inch line from the wall and the corner to accommodate grout, or measure the width of your plastic trim, halve it, and use that measurement instead.

Step 2 - Determine Your Starting Point

Whether you plan to start with your internal corner, finish with it, or do it somewhere in between, figure ahead of time when you will be ready for this task. Because fitting tile into a corner requires some extra work and planning, it is wise to start in a corner, setting this tile before you continue with any pieces around it. That way you can use it as a guide for tiles that do not run along walls, and ensure, if your cut is off, that you have extra tiles to work with.

Step 3 - Cutting Corner Pieces

Mark your cut lines on the top of the tile with a felt tip pen when you are ready to fit your tile to your inside corner. Use your tile cutter to score the lines and carefully tap the corner tile or use a wet saw to cut it out. Then, do a dry fit to the corner, making sure you leave.

Step 4 - Applying Adhesive

Depending on the type of tile you are using, check with the manufacturer’s instructions for how to apply the thin set and set the tile. They will direct you to the type of notched trowel to use and whether to apply the adhesive to the back of the tile or to the surface you are tiling. Do not apply too thick a coat, but make sure trowel well to allow space for the tile to settle. You will want to use your chalkline as a guide but to be extra careful, you should try using a spirit level before setting each new tile.

Step 5 – Laying the Tile

Start where you previously planned to, laying tiles as you spread adhesive and checking them with your spirit level as you go. If you need to make adjustments, you can lightly tap on the tile edges as needed to ensure they’re laid properly.

If you’re using a plastic trim in the corners, be sure the tile edges will fit underneath the trim, leaving a 1/10-inch gap for expansion. If not, just use spacers between your tiles to ensure even gaps for grouting as you set them, starting with your perimeter and corner tiles. These spacers can be removed once your thinset has started to dry.

Allow several days for your thinset to dry and do not use your tiled surfaces until it has. Once it has dried, apply your grout, making sure to get it on the inside edge of your corner tiles. You can also consider using caulking to the spacing is a bit more flexible with the tile expansion. Grout can crack when placed under too much movement.

With proper planning, good measurements and cuts, you should have clean corners and a beautiful tiled surface.