Tiling a bathroom can be easily accomplished if the correct steps are followed. Whether tiling a new bathroom or renovating an old bathroom, the steps below will help you to complete this task. For the sake of this article, we will assume that all waterproofing has been installed and allowed to dry for the recommended amount of time.
Before beginning to tile you bathroom, envision how you want the final outcome to look. Plan ahead for any features you want to stand out and what you want to hide.
Step 1 – Where to Start
When tiling a bathroom, the easiest method is to install the floor tiles first. When deciding the layout for the tiles, plan ahead by measuring the floor. It is best to centre the tiles so that the cuts on the perimeter are even. This can be achieved by measuring the total distance from one wall to the opposite wall at one end of the room, halve this figure then mark the centre point on the floor. Repeat this process again at the other end of the room. You will now have 2 centre points which will enable you to mark a line between the 2 and give you a straight starting line. Repeat this process on the opposite 2 walls giving you a square cross line. Where the 2 lines meet in the middle is where you will begin tiling your bathroom floor.
Step 2 – Mixing Tile Adhesive
Mix up the floor tile adhesive as per the manufacturer’s instructions. Place a small amount of the adhesive on the floor at your starting point. Use a 10mm notched trowel to spread the adhesive evenly and consistently. Be careful not to cover your marked lines. It is important to only spread about 1 square metre of adhesive at a time to avoid it skinning over and becoming ineffective.
Step 3 – Tiling the Floor
Begin laying your tiles, being sure to follow your centre guide lines you have marked as per step 1. As you place the tiles along the marked line, push firmly on each tile to achieve consistent adhesive coverage. Insert tile spacers into the joints between each tile laid. It is recommended to clean the joints of any excess adhesive as you go in order to make grouting easier. When you reach the edges, measure and cut your tiles accordingly. Allow bathroom floor tiles to dry completely before moving on to tiling the walls.
Step 4 – Tiling Bathroom Walls
When tiling the bathroom walls, calculate and mark the height you would like the tiles to finish at. The standard height for tiling in most bathrooms is 2.1 metres. Measure down from the mark at the top of the wall to where the bottom of the last full tile will sit. Using a spirit level, run a level line around the room from this mark. Next, pick the edge of one of your full floor tiles and mark this line plumb up the wall. You now have your level line and plumb line to begin tiling your bathroom walls.
Step 5 – Cut First Row of Tiles
Measure the space between the level line and the floor tile and cut the first row of tiles accordingly. Make sure to measure each space individually as the size can differ slightly due to inconsistent floor height. For the best results, line up your floor tile joints with your wall tile joints.
Step 6 – Tiling the Walls
Using your wall tile adhesive, begin tiling your bathroom walls by placing the adhesive on the back of each tile using a 10mm notched trowel. Best results will be achieved by having the adhesive strokes running horizontally and having full coverage of the tile. Push your tile firmly onto the wall ensuring you have maximum adhesive coverage between wall and tile. Begin at the plumb line previously drawn. Use tile spacers and/or wedges to make sure that the top of the first row of tiles matches perfectly with your level line. Continue row by row up the bathroom wall, until your desired height is reached. Using your spirit level, check each row to make sure it is level and plumb.
Step 7 – Grouting
After leaving your bathroom tiles for 24 hours to set, carefully remove all tile spacers and wedges. Clean any excess adhesive from tiles and joints. Mix your desired colour of grout according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Using your grout float, push your grout evenly and firmly into each joint ensuring that the grout is flush with the tile. After 5 – 10 minutes of setting time, wipe the completed section with a wrung out wet sponge, rinsing the sponge regularly as you go. To achieve the best results, don’t wipe too vigorously as this will wash out the grout.
Step 8 – Cleaning and Applying a Silicone Sealant
24 hours after grouting the bathroom, a clean, damp cloth can be used to remove any excess grout haze. Internal tile joints between wall and wall or wall and floor should be finished with a kitchen and bathroom silicone sealant.
Congratulations! You have completed tiling your bathroom.