How to Tile a Bathroom Wall

Updated February 21, 2017

Tiling your bathroom can add a clean, professional look that your family and guests can enjoy. Wall tile is also an extremely durable material for walls, allowing your work to last years after you finish your project. Tiling your bathroom walls requires extensive preparation, however, to make your project go smoothly. Without the proper steps, you may find your bathroom looking uneven. Lack of planning and incorrect handling of the tiles may even lead to a few of them falling off the wall and breaking.

Prepare your surface. Make sure all holes and imperfections get patched. Locate all the studs in the wall while cleaning and repairing the surface as well.

Measure the area where you will place the tiles. Use those measurements when cutting your backerboard (backerboard is a rigid board used beneath tile). Drill small holes into the backerboard to help mark where your studs are.

Apply adhesive to the wall you will be tiling. Add adhesive with a trowel or a brush. Press the backerboard to the wall and secure it to the wall studs using galvanised screws. Let the adhesive dry thoroughly before attempting any more steps.

Create a layout tool by taking a thin piece of unmarked wood or stiff cardboard and laying it next to some tiles you will use. Separate the tiles slightly as if there were already grout between them, and mark your wood or cardboard with their locations. Say you have three tiles laid next to your piece of wood; create a mark for the top and bottom of each tile on the wood (your piece of wood will come out looking like an incomplete ruler). This gives you an idea of how much room your tiles will take and works as a custom ruler for this particular project.

Find the centre of your backerboard. From this point, take your homemade layout tool and lightly trace mock tiles onto the backerboard. By the time you are finished, you should have a checkerboard design across your backerboard that accurately represents the size and necessary placement of tiles.

Spread adhesive across your backerboard with a brush or towel. Work your adhesive in an upward motion. Press the tiles to the adhesive with a twisting motion. Follow the checkerboard lines you created earlier on the backerboard. Tap the tiles lightly with a small block of wood covered in a towel to make sure tiles are secure on the backerboard. Use a tile cutter if necessary to cut tiles to fit at the ends of rows. Allow adhesive to set.

Prepare the grout according to the manufacturer's instructions, and smooth it across the tiles. Some grout may get on the tile faces, but ignore that for the time being. After about five minutes, take a wet cloth and gently wipe away the grout on the faces of the tiles. You do not want to accidentally remove grout from between the tiles, so make sure to wipe gently and avoid scrubbing. Allow the grout to dry thoroughly, and apply a grout sealer.

Things You'll Need

  • Tile adhesive
  • Level
  • Tape measure
  • Gloves
  • Paintbrush
  • Towel
  • Carpenter's pencil
  • Galvanised screws
  • Power drill
  • Tile cutter
  • Tile
  • Grout
  • Grout sealer
  • Backerboard
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About the Author

Shae Hazelton is a professional writer whose articles are published on various websites. Her topics of expertise include art history, auto repair, computer science, journalism, home economics, woodworking, financial management, medical pathology and creative crafts. Hazelton is working on her own novel and comic strip while she works as a part-time writer and full time Medical Coding student.