A Beginners Guide to Tiling a Bathroom


Tiling is easy, right? Many people certainly think so and the results of their efforts can be seen on bathroom walls and floors up and down the country. The tiling is uneven, poorly cut, has huge grout lines and just looks amateurish. Nothing looks worse than shiny new bathroom accessories fixed to an uneven tiled wall! We give you a perfect guide to tiling a bathroom.

The last thing you want to do is do an awful tiling job when you have invested in quality bathroom products such as a new bath, sink or toilet. We all know that installing a new bathroom can be a long term investment and that purchasing a bathroom suite which looks the part is important. But letting down your bathroom by doing a bad tiling job will mean that this investment will never allow you to see the returns you want.

The following steps will take you through basic tile laying and hopefully will allow you to avoid some of the pitfalls which many first-time tilers fall into.

  1. Work out how many tiles you will need by measuring the area which needs tiling in square metres and and then work out how many tiles are required to cover each square metre. Most tiles come in boxes with this information already printed on it.
  2. Always buy your tiles with matching batch numbers. This means all tiles will look the same. There is often variation in colour and texture, even within the same type of tile.
  3. Choose your grout and adhesive. Never use grout to apply your tiles to the wall or floor. The type you choose will depend on the type of tile, so do some research first. You may also need to buy some sealant if you are using a natural stone tile. Always seal before laying the tile and especially before grouting.
  4. Prepare your walls by making sure they are as flat as possible. You may need to put up new boards. Make sure these are water resistant if they are behind a shower or bath. Leave new plaster for a few weeks before tiling onto it.
  5. Plan carefully. Set out your tiles, thinking about where the eye is drawn, where the centre line should be and how many cuts you will need to make. Taking plenty of time to do this now, will save you time later and will give better visual results.
  6. Use a spirit or laser level to find a level point which runs all the way around the room. This should be one tile or less from your baseboard. This line will be your starting point and will ensure all tiles are straight with cut tiles being used close to the floor.
  7. Draw a vertical line as well so that you know your tiles are straight both up and down as well as across.
  8. Spread your adhesive on the wall, working in small areas at a time. Press and twist the tile into place making sure it is fixed to the wall and even. Use your spirit level to check this and keep using it throughout. Using spacers, add another tile to the wall. Keep going until you have completed all of the full tiles. Remove excess adhesive as you go. In tight spaces like behind the toilet or sink you may prefer to apply the grout to the tile instead.
  9. Choose a cutter which suits the tile you have chosen. You may want to hire a a large electric one if you will need to make several cuts or your tiles are very thick or hard.
  10. Always place the cut side of your tile towards the wall or floor. The best way to measure where to cut is to place the tile against the wall or floor and mark where the full tile meets with the already laid tile. You may also want to use some heavy sandpaper to remove any sharp edges. Cutting can involve some trial and error so expect some mistakes until you get used to the way your cutter works.
  11. Finally you can grout your tiles after a day or so. Simply spread the grout and push it into the spaces using a grouting float or squeegee. Use your finger to even out and neaten the grout line. Wash the tiles down once the grout has hardened and you are complete!