Tiling a Bathroom

Tiling a Bathroom

Tiling is a particularly good solution for bathroom surfaces. However, most bathrooms present a number of challenges such as recesses, sills, ledges and pipework. The first step is to decide where you want to tile. In a small room, it often looks better to extend the tiling all the way up to the wall rather than stop at half or three-quarter height.


For method, see below.


Preparation for Tiling

Before you start, make sure all the surfaces are sound, level and dry. Small cracks and irregularities can be filled with a commercially available filler; a really bad surface will need replastering or lining with plasterboard (drywall). 1f the walls are papered, you will have to strip them; a painted finish can be simply sanded down to give a key.

Tiles can easily be laid over existing tiles as long as these are sound and firmly fixed.

Making a Tile Gauge

The next step is to plan the position of the tiles. The best way to start is to make a tile gauge: mark tile-widths along a length of wooden batten and use this to judge where tiles are going to have to be cut to fit around a window, sink or other obstruction. Try to avoid gaps that are less than half a tile wide.

Starting Position

Using a spirit level, establish a horizontal line no more than one tile width up from the floor, and temporarily nail a wooden batten below it. Work out how many tiles will fit along the wall, leaving large enough gaps at either end. Using a plumb line, draw a vertical line down the wall to mark where the first whole tile will go. Fix the whole tiles first; when the adhesive has dried, the gaps can be filled with cut pieces.

Materials and Equipment

• tiles — most straight-edged, some with rounded edges

• combined adhesive and grout (water-resistant if necessary)

• notched spreader or trowel for applying adhesive

• tile gauge, made from length of wooden batten

• battens (furring strips)

• pencil, metal rule and spirit level (carpenter’s level)

• spacers, if tiles are not bevelled or have no spacing lugs (pegs)

• pincer-action tile cutter

• tile saw

• pincers or pliers

• tile file, sandpaper or carborundum stone

• grout, coloured if desired

• squeegee or sponge

• rubber latex sealant



1. Use a small trowel to apply adhesive. Work at an angle of about 45 degrees and in patches 1 m/ 3ft square. Using a notched spreader pull the adhesive into ridges to ensure good suction. Do not cover your pencilled line. Place the bottom edge of the tile against the wooden batten and lower into place ensuring that its vertical edge is aligned with the vertical line marked on the wall. Press firmly. Position next tile. If tiles have no lugs, insert spacers. Finish one horizontal row before starting on the next. When the whole area of adhesive is covered, check straightness with a spirit level. Sponge off excess adhesive. Allow to dry.

2. To fill gaps, measure the area to be filled with a metal rule. Draw line on tile to mark where it should be cut, and score through glaze using the wheel on a pincer-action cutter.

3. Break the tiles using the pincer-action cutter. When handles are brought together over the scored mark, the tile breaks cleanly.

4. To cut awkward shapes, score a line deeply through the glaze. Then cut the tile with a tile saw. Work slowly and gently. Alternatively, use pliers or pincers to ‘nibble’ the shape away bit by bit.

5. Smooth the rough edge of a cut tile with a suitable file held at an angle of 45 degrees. Work downwards, away from the glaze. Alternatively, use a small carborundum stone.

6. For joints between surfaces, such as at ledges or sills, fix tiles on vertical surfaces first and then lay tiles with rounded edges along the horizontal surface to create a finished joint. Many tiles have squared, glazed edges which form an equally finished joint. Special edging strips (plastic beading, or moulding) are also available.

7. Allow 12 hours for adhesive to dry before removing the batten and tiling the bottom row. Allow a further 24 hours before removing the spacers and beginning to grout. Mix grout with water to a creamy consistency. Rub into joints using a squeegee or damp sponge and wipe off surplus with a damp cloth. For a really professional look, run a rounded stick along the grout lines to point up.

03. June 2011 by admin
Categories: Decorating, Tiling | Tags: , , | Comments Off on Tiling a Bathroom


Get every new post delivered to your Inbox

Join other followers: