How to tile a bathroom

Written by april kohl
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How to tile a bathroom
Bathroom tiles are waterproof, durable and available in styles to suit every home. (tiles image by Gina Smith from

Tiling a bathroom is an excellent way to create a stylish and durable finish to a room that will see regularly high amounts of moisture. Tiles are durable, stylish and come in a variety of finishes to suit all tastes. Although good tiling can appear difficult, with careful planning and preparation, anyone can learn how to tile a bathroom to a high standard.

Skill level:

Things you need

  • Waterproof tile adhesive
  • Tiles
  • Adhesive spreader
  • Waterproof grout
  • Tile clipper
  • Pencil
  • Ruler
  • Tape measure
  • Spirit level
  • Waterproof sealant

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  1. 1

    Prepare the walls to be tiled by removing any existing tiles or wallpaper. Clean the walls with warm water and a sponge and allow them to dry. If the walls are not flat, plaster them to give a regular surface. Determine your starting line by measuring the height and width of a flat wall and marking off its midpoint.

  2. 2

    Measure the height and width of your tiles and check how many you can fit above, below, left and right of the midpoint. If you will have less than half a tile at any edge of the wall, adjust the midpoint so you are left with at least half a tile. Do this on each wall.

  3. 3

    Draw a horizontal line around the bathroom from this midpoint using the spirit level to ensure it stays horizontal. Hold a tile up at regular points along the line to check that it can be tiled without clipping to get around fixtures. Adjust the height of the line if it can't.

  4. 4

    Mix your adhesive and spread enough so that you can tile the line, placing several tiles at a time. Tile the lower half of the bathroom and then the upper half. Where tiles need to be clipped, mark the portion to be clipped using a pencil, so you don't clip away too much.

  5. 5

    Wait 24 hours for the adhesive to harden. Apply the grout between the tiles using the adhesive spreader. Wipe away any excess from the surface of the tiles while the grout is still wet, as it will not be possible to do it properly after it sets. Allow a week for the grouting to fully set. Seal the join between the tiles and fixtures with waterproof sealant. Allow 24 hours for this to set.

Tips and warnings

  • If it is not possible to end up with at least a half tile at the top or bottom of a wall, ensure the rows are aligned so the tile fraction is at the bottom of the wall. This is the best way to hide it from view. Similarly, any tile fractions on walls with windows should be aligned at the window edge, as these will be hidden by curtains or the windowsill.
  • When arranging your tiles, be sure to use tile pegs to keep the tiles in position. Tile pegs stop slippage, which will otherwise cause your tiles to sit on top of one another without adhering to the wall correctly. Do not worry about the pegs showing between the tiles, as they will be covered up during grouting.

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