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How To Tile A Bathroom

Who doesn’t want a beautiful bathroom? If yours requires a bit of upkeep and you need some help with tiling your bathroom walls and laying bathroom floor tiles, this guide is for you.

Tiling a bathroom can be intimidating for some, but as long as you have both the time and the patience to get the job done, we are here to help alleviate your worries. Here we will show you things to consider, all the equipment you will need to do the job right, and a complete step-by-step guide to completing the venture perfectly.

How Difficult Is It To Tile Bathroom?

Tile Bathroom

Concerned about how to tile a bathroom correctly? The good news is tiling a bathroom probably isn’t going to be as hard as you think. In fact, the entire process can even bring a newfound appreciation for your home and might even give you the bug to try other projects throughout your home. In no time at all, you could be a dab hand at DIY!

There’s no getting around it, however, it’s going to take quite a bit of work to complete. Some bathrooms are more difficult to tile than others, depending on what you have in them - but it’s nothing that can’t be done successfully and to a high standard. What’s more, many people enjoy the experience, and you can too.

Things To Remember Before Starting

One of the most important things before starting any DIY job is to ensure you are fully prepared. Before attempting to tile your bathroom, calculate how many square metres of tiles you will need for your bathroom and add 10-15% to this figure. If and when breakages happen, you will still have more than enough tiles to continue the job.

One overlooked aspect when purchasing tiling is how many tiles do not colour match. Even buying the same tiles brand is not enough to prevent poorly matched tiles, so always buy from the same batch. The batch number will be clearly stated on the packaging.

The difference between tiles for your bathroom wall and floor

By their very nature, bathrooms are a wet environment, often becoming very hot and therefore having a lot of moisture and humidity to withstand.

For this reason, tiles for the floor feature raised and grooved patterns to help prevent accidents or falls. They are most commonly made from natural stone (which is becoming an increasingly popular choice), porcelain, or ceramic and are small in size to allow for an amount of drainage.

On the other hand, a tile designed for bathroom walls is generally bigger and comes in various patterns, colours, and designs.

Removing old tiles

Removing Tiles

If you have old tiles to remove, remember your safety goggles; tile chips and splints have a habit of flying around.

But, before you do begin, seal up any air vents that you have in your bathroom.

You will require the following pieces of kit:

  • Hammer
  • Pry bar
  • Floor scraper (long-handled)
  • Chisel
  • Scraper

If you have successfully removed the tiles or have a brand new bathroom and therefore no tiling to take off, it’s almost time to begin!

Equipment Required

There’s nothing worse than getting halfway through tiling a bathroom only to suddenly realise that the one tool you very much need is missing.

So, before you do anything, ensure you have everything required to get the job done smoothly - this often means a trip to your local DIY store to buy some additional materials.

You will need the following equipment before commencing the job:

  • Tiles
  • Spacers
  • Adhesive
  • Grout Float
  • Bucket trowel
  • Tile cutter
  • Tile saw
  • Pencil
  • Tape measure
  • Sponge
  • Spirit level
  • Tile trim
  • Grout
  • Grout squeegee
  • Mixing bucket
  • Wood/Timber

Once you have all your materials ready, you are good to go!

A Step-By-Step Guide: How To Tile A Bathroom

We’ve broken down how to tile your bathroom into two sections:

  • Tiling your bathroom wall
  • Tiling your bathroom floor

Which should I tile first, walls or floor?

In most cases, tiles should be installed on the wall before doing the floor. The main reasons for this are:

If the floor is completed first, there will likely be cement falling to the floor on occasion, which can cause damage - the very last thing you want!

Secondly, laying tiles on the wall first saves you from waiting until the tiles on the floor are completely dry and fixed. If you were to step on the tiles that weren’t completely dry, this could cause a range of problems, such as loosening the tiling, chipping or breaking the tiles, and potentially making the floor unlevel.

For these aforementioned reasons, it’s usually best to start from the floor up.

How to tile a bathroom wall

Bathroom Wall

When tiling a wall in your bathroom, you will have to tile around some potentially difficult-shaped objects, such as baths and showers.

As long as you follow the instructions, you shouldn’t have any problems. Being as precise as possible with your measuring and templates is key, so ensure you check, double-check, and triple-check your measurements, if necessary.

You may even consider investing in a tile template tool that can be purchased online or at your local DIY store that may help with those more difficult shapes and areas.

Step 1: prepare your wall

Prepare your wall space, making sure it is not only well-sanded and as level as possible but it is also clean. It’s sometimes necessary to mark the plaster to enable your adhesive to stick strongly.

Step 2: position your first tile

Now you need to understand where you need to place your tiles. To do this, use a piece of wood or timber which will be your gauge and place it on the ground. Put one tile on it lengthways, ensuring that it is level with the very end of your gauging stick.

Using tile spacers to separate the tile, put another tile alongside the first and mark where this new tile ends. You will continue to do this until you have no more available space left on the stick.

Step 3: find the centre line

Have another piece of wood handy. Now you can measure the width of the wall you plan to tile with this wood. Then halve this figure to find the centre line of the wall - use a calculator if you aren’t sure.

Using a spirit level, clearly mark both a horizontal and vertical line on the wall.

Step 4: mark out your tiles

Mark out where you want your tiles to go after using a gauging stick against the lines you have drawn on the wall. Mark alongside any cuts with a pencil.

Beginning from the ground up, place your first tile and tile spacers (this allows for grouting later on). Holding your tile against the line on the wall will allow you to see where you need to cut. Using the tile cutters, now you are ready to cut tiles.

(When cutting tiles, ALWAYS wear goggles)

Step 5: adhesive the wall

Next, place adhesive on the tile, and press it firmly to the wall.

Step 6: plan for baths and showers

You will most likely need to tile around your bath or shower. Using a spirit level, draw a line horizontally above them. Those tiles marked below this line of reference will need to be cut to size in order for a proper fit.

Step 7: create a template for awkward tiles

Where the tiles lead to the end of the shower or bath, a cut that is awkwardly shaped will likely be necessary to execute. Place a tile up to the side of whatever you are tiling, marking the exact location of the edge and how deep the cut needs to be. Then create a template of the precise cut.

Step 8: cut your tiles

Use tile cutters to cut down either side of the edge or curve. Very carefully, manoeuvre around the section and file down the edges until smooth.

Step 9: place your tiles

Place the tile into position after putting adhesive on it, and ensure you continue to use tile spacers. Continue to cut the remaining tiles to size as mentioned in Steps 7 and 8.

Step 10: tile the rest of your wall

You’ll be glad to know that was the hardest part. Next, place adhesive to the wall directly and continue to place your tiles using spacers both vertically and horizontally. Leave the tiles to dry before attempting to grout.

Step 11: mix your grout

It’s time to mix your grout. Add some water and slowly mix in the grout into a bucket - you are looking for a creamy consistency. Leave for a few minutes to settle before using.

Step 12: grout the tiles

Use your notch trowel to add some grout onto a squeegee. Work the grout over the tiles rubbing well, which will help you avoid air bubbles; it will ensure that you get into all the spaces evenly. Wipe off the excess grout and continue the process until the wall is complete.

Step 13: leave to settle

Leave to settle for at least 10 minutes and thoroughly clean with a damp towel or sponge, ensuring you don’t unsettle any grout between each tile.

Step 14: polish and you’re done

Polish wall with a soft, dry cloth.

How to tile a bathroom floor

Once you have tiled your wall, you’ll likely find the process of completing the floor much easier now you are used to it. And, even better news, it’s also usually a quicker job.

Step 1: clean your space

Similarly to tiling a wall in a bathroom, the first step is to make sure the floor is clean, completely dry and as level as possible.

Step 2: prime a wooden floor

If your floor is made of wood, cover it with primed plywood. If your floor is concrete, you can skip this step as it’s possible to tile directly onto concrete. You will now need to calculate your midpoints in the same way as with the wall.

Step 3: mark out your tiles

Lay down your tile with tile spacers, moving towards the first item in your bathroom that you come to, whether it be the bath, shower, sink, heated towel rails, or toilet.

Step 4: mark the last whole tile

It’s now important to mark where the very last whole tile will be placed.

Step 5: lay out your tiles

Next, work perpendicularly to where you had previously been working and repeat the above step. This will create a whole space where nothing but whole tiles are required. Lay them as you would on the tiled wall.

Step 6: fix yout tiles to the floor

Using adhesive, fix each tile to the floor, ensuring that each of them is level and straight.

Step 7: create a template for awkward shapes

As before with the wall, create templates to fit around the objects in your bathroom. Using a tile cutter to match the template, sand and fix to the floor using adhesive.

Step 8: grout your floor

Once you have finished this, grout again as you did with your wall - ensure grout is a creamy consistency before using.

Step 9: polish

Polish and you’re done!

Aftercare For Your Floor Tiles Or Wall Tiles

Aftercare

Aftercare is an important but often unappreciated aspect of tile care. It can be easy to assume the job is done once you have downed tools, but if you want your tiling job to go the distance, it’s important to look after your walls and floors.

In order to get the very best longevity from your tiles, not to mention keeping them both looking nice and hygienic, it’s important that you at least conduct a weekly clean, whether it’s mopping/steaming your tiles or giving wall tiles a good old-fashioned scrub by hand with a disinfectant cleaner.

Ideally, you should be looking to adopt a daily cleaning routine. A quick check for any marks will suffice - it only takes a minute to do. If your grout becomes too dirty, you might decide that you want to change the entire grout.

You know that old saying, “prevention is better than a cure?” When it comes to your tiles, this is certainly true. Spotting any patches that require cleaning early means your tiles will be much less likely to get permanently stained or damaged.