Things You'll Need
Barker tile panels
Circular saw or hand saw
Wooden paint stir sticks
Waterproof construction adhesive (formulated for tubs)
Silicone caulking sealant
Non-caustic spray cleaner
Barker tile is not the traditional tile squares you might think of that must be adhered to a surface by adhesive and grout. Rather, it is a sheet of thin, sturdy hardwood encased in a waterproof coating called "Ceramilite," which is molded during manufacturing to resemble a tiled surface. Barker tile is heat, moisture, chemical and steam resistant, making it a great alternative to ceramic and stone tile in applications such as tub and shower walls, laundry rooms, kitchens and other high humidity areas. You can learn how to install Barker tile, even over existing tile surfaces, for a virtually maintenance-free surface.
Use the tape measure to measure your prepped surface area for the first panel of Barker tile. Transfer those measurements onto the Barker tile, using the pencil to draw cut marks lightly for the saw.
Using the circular saw or even a hand saw, cut the Barker tile following the penciled cut marks. If using a circular saw, install a carbide-tipped blade for a smoother cut.
Set the cut tile panel onto the wall to test for a proper fitting, using painter's tape to hold it into place temporarily. Draw a reference line on the wall at chest height, using a horizontal tile line on the positioned Barker tile panel as a guide. Use the level to ensure the drawn line on the wall is straight. This reference line can be used to line up future cut Barker tile panels.
Cut additional Barker tile panels. Use the reference line in Step 3 until all pieces are cut and positioned for proper fit. Use a hole saw to cut openings in the Barker tile to fit around fixtures on the walls, such as tub or shower faucets.
Ensure there is a 1/8-inch gap between each Barker panel tile as well as a 1/8-inch gap along the top and bottom of the tile panels as well. Wood paint stirring sticks can be used as spacers for the bottom of the tile panels. Place the stir sticks in a single file along the floor or the rim of a bathtub, depending on where the bottom of the tile panels should line up.
Install the tube of waterproof construction adhesive into the caulk gun, according to manufacturer's instructions, prepping it for adhesive application. Remove the painter's tape from the first Barker tile panel and apply the adhesive to the back of the panel. Squeeze the caulk gun trigger to apply a 1/4-inch bead of adhesive in a line around the perimeter of the panel, 1-inch away from the edges. Next, apply the adhesive in an "S" pattern, leaving 4 inches between each line.
Place the cut Barker tile panel on the wall, adhesive side back, taking care to line up the horizontal tile lines with the other panels temporarily positioned on the wall by painter's tape. Apply pressure, using your hands, to adhere the panel to the wall.
Repeat Step 8 and Step 9 with the remaining Barker tile panels. Test each panel's adhesiveness, smoothing the panels against the wall with the palm of your hands. Press firmly against any areas not totally adhered to the wall. The adhesive must cure for at least 12 hours before sealing the panel seams. Replace the adhesive tube from the caulk gun with a tube of silicone caulking sealant.
Remove the wooden stir sticks serving as the 1/8-inch gap markers. Next, place painter's tape on each seams, between panels as well as the seams formed at the top and bottom. The painter's tape will protect the Barker tile surface from silicone sealant. Squeeze the caulk gun trigger to release the silicone sealant caulking, placing the nozzle in the gaps and seams to apply the silicone sealant. Use the caulking tool along the filled-in gaps and seams to create a smooth silicone sealant appearance. This tool will also remove excess sealant and should be used one seam at a time. Wipe excess caulk off the tool with a rag after each pass along the seams. Next, use a damp rag to wipe away any excess sealant on the tile panel surface not removed by the caulking tool.
Remove the painter's tape once the silicone sealant application is complete. Allow the sealant to cure and dry for at least 24 hours. Clean your new Barker tile surface with the non-caustic spray cleaner and a clean rag.
Use plastic corner protectors for those outside corners where two Barker tile panels meet to eliminate sharp edges. Apply silicone sealant in the inside bend of the plastic protector before installing it on the outside corner. Consider wearing rubber gloves when applying the waterproof construction sealant and silicone sealant to avoid skin irritation. Buffing a quality automotive wax onto the surface of the Barker tile will help it retain its luster and repel hard water stains and buildup.
Do not use any nails or screws in the Barker tile panels, as this will break the waterproof Ceramilite coating and invite rot, mold and mildew to grow. It will also void any warranties on the material. Do not install Barker tile as a counter top or flooring material. While it is waterproof and durable, it cannot withstand the abuse of regular foot traffic and dropping accidents that inevitably happen on counter tops. Barker tile is best used for walls and sometimes even ceilings.
Tiana Mortimer has been Executive Director for a nonprofit boychoir organization since 1999 and a freelance writer since 2004. Her nonprofit work has been published in a variety of regional publications and she has ghostwritten hundred of articles for the internet. She holds a Bachelor of Business Administration degree in Operations Management and Marketing from the University of Houston.