How Do You Tile Around a Wall Outlet

The simplicity of installing wall tiles does not have to come to a halt when your encounter a wall outlet. While it may seem like a challenge, with a few simple cuts you can continue installing your beautiful wall tile.

Difficulty: Moderate


things you’ll need:

  • Wall tiles
  • Tile saw
  • Pencil
  • Straight edge
  • Thin set
  • Grout
  • Grout blade
  • Rubber float
  • Tile sponges

1 Tile your wall up to the outlet. If you’re using 1-inch tiles, you may not even have to make any cuts. You can simply remove a few tiles from the backing to make the opening for the wall outlet and continue to tile the rest of the wall. If your only option is to cut the tiles, do not worry. Line up your tile to where it will be on the wall and mark the width and length of the outlet opening onto the tile. You will have to cut into the tile to make your outlet opening.

2 Set up your tile saw, making sure there is enough water in it to keep the blade cool during the cutting. Lay your tile onto the tile saw table and line up your mark to the blade. You will be making two or three cuts perpendicular to each other, depending on if you’re cutting from the tile’s corner with two cuts, or if you’re cutting into the tile with three cuts.

From the underside, the tile saw actually cuts further than it appears on the top, so keep that in mind and remember to not go over your mark. Make your first cut straight to the line for your second cut. Remove the tile or turn the saw off before removing. Line up the next cutting line to the blade and make the next cut into the tile.

Making a third cut into a tile is a little more challenging. After making your two spaced cuts from the edge of the tile, to make a cut across to box out your opening, you will have to cut away, a little at a time, from the part of the tile you’re removing. As you near the cut line that is perpendicular to your first lines, you will use the blade to shave away the tile with left-to-right strokes until you have an even line. This technique requires a lot of patience, precision and steady hands.

3 Apply the thinset to the wall using your grooved tile blade, and then set the tile over the outlet opening. Use spaces if necessary to keep the tiles evenly spaced and level. Once the thinset dries, apply the grout into the tile grooves with a rubber float, and wipe away the excess using diagonal strokes with a damp tile sponge. Allow to set and dry before cleaning up your newly installed tiles.

Tips & Warnings

Follow all of the instructions carefully for the tile saw, the thinset, grout and tools.

Wear safety goggles, gloves and a face mask when operating the tile saw.