Tiling a bathroom is one of those jobs that, while not necessarily being all that difficult, is very easy to make a mess of. The difference between a well-tiled bathroom and a badly tiled one is immediately obvious, so it pays to do the job properly, and not to cut corners. The good news is that even those with only minimal DIY experience can take this job on with confidence, providing they’ve got the right tools and are fully prepared. Our guide explains how to tile a bathroom, and introduces some information for bathroom tiles ideas.
Tiling a Bathroom
If you’ve decided to tile your bathroom, the first thing to think about is the final look you are hoping to achieve. Whether you want plain and traditional tile designs or eye-catching modern bathroom tiles, there are plenty of designs and sizes to choose from.
Another thing worth thinking about this stage is whether you will also be adding shower wall panel, plus any other tiling ideas that you may have. Think about the size of bathroom wall tiles you would like, and their specific shape. This will have an impact on both the overall look you will achieve and the length and complexity of the job you have ahead of you.
If you are planning to use rectangular bath tiles, for example, it is better to place them in a brick-like pattern where one tile is not placed directly above another, but halfway along it. For smaller square tiles, many prefer a simple grid-like pattern.
Tiling Tools Required
When buying your bath or shower tiles, it is a good idea to take careful measurements of the bathroom tiling area, so that you can make the calculations necessary to get the right amount of tiles.
Remember, always count a half tile as one full tile and add on an extra ten per cent for breakages and replacements.
Apart from tiles, you will need waterproof adhesive, grouting and tile spacers. Ready-made spacers are cheap and plentiful, so there’s no need to try and fashion your own with matchsticks or cardboard.
For adding the adhesive to the wall, you will need a notched trowel (the notches on the spreader help to ensure that the adhesive is spread on the wall at a consistent depth), and for the grout you will need a grout float.
For making sure that your tiles are level and always positioned correctly, you will need a spirit level and a plumb bob and line.
For cutting tiles, a tile cutter is essential. Try and get the best one that you can afford, as a good tile cutter can help to make the job a lot easier. Other essentials are dust sheets, sealant and sponges.
Tile Layout and Preparation
Learning how to tile a wall, and creating seamless bathroom tile designs, is all about preparation. Make a mistake at this stage, and you run a very real risk of making life more difficult. One very important thing is to always make sure that the surface you are tiling from is perfectly level. Use your spirit level, of course, and also a plumb bob and line to make sure of the vertical lines as well.
Line up the dry tiles on the wall and mark their position in pencil – allowing about 2 mm between each tile for the grouting. Try and arrange the tiles so that you will not be left with less than half a tile at either end of the wall. At this stage you can take note of any fixtures and fittings you will need to tile around, and learn how many tiles you will need to cut.
When cutting tiles, make a mark of what you need to cut and then set the blade of the cutter directly on the mark line. Press the blade down firmly and then push it forwards across the tile in a smooth motion.
Prepare the wall by scoring it with a notch trowel with multiple marks in random directions – this helps to increase the potential for adhesion. Then you can use the trowel to spread the adhesive to the wall. So that the adhesive doesn’t get too dry, it’s best to work in manageable areas no bigger than one metre squared.
When it comes to wall tiling, start in the bottom corner and then work your way across the row. Add spacers to the corner of each tile, and when you come to the second row, work in same direction as the first. Use a sliding movement to get each tile in the correct position, always adding spacers as you go. Keep adding adhesive to the wall, and then the tiles, in one-metre square areas at a time. Use a damp sponge to remove any mess from the adhesive from the tiles.
When all of the tiles are in place, leave them to dry for as long as it recommends on the adhesive’s instructions. When this time has elapsed, you can start work on the grouting. First, remove all of the spacers and then fill in the gaps with grouting, using the grout float. Again, use a damp sponge to remove any excess grouting from the tiles, and then leave to dry.
The next thing you want to ensure is that the area is completely waterproof. To do this, use a sealant across any edges and internal corners. Finally, polish the tiles with a dry cloth, and the job is done!