To tile your bathroom, follow these key steps:
- Work out how many tiles you need and add a 10% margin for error.
- Start tiling from the centre of the wall or floor and work symmetrically outwards.
- Be careful when cutting tiles if you need smaller pieces and curved edges.
- Always make sure the grouting is dry before using the bathroom again.
Tiles are an attractive and very practical approach for bathroom walls. They're waterproof, easy to clean, and can be used to create different colour and pattern effects. Even better, they're easy to install through DIY. To help you do just that we’ve got a step-by-step guide to laying tiles in all areas of the bathroom – read on for tips on how to tile a shower, how to tile around a bath, and even how to tile around a toilet.
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How to tile a bathroom: instructions for showers, baths, and toilets
The process you follow when tiling your bathroom will vary a little based on what you’re tiling (wall, floor) and any features you need to work around (shower, bath, toilet). We’ve given instructions for each below but before you begin there’s some basic prep to do first:
- Prepare the surface. Remove any existing tiles and clean and dry the area thoroughly. Read our article on removing wall tiles and wallpaper for more tips.
- Wear protective clothing. Always protect your hands when tiling as the friction and grout can prove irritable to skin.
- Buy enough tiles. Measure the square footage of the surface you’re tiling and add 10% to allow for cutting tiles and any mistakes or breakages.
Now, let’s look at the tiling process itself.
How to tile a shower
- Make sure the surface is level and completely clean before you start and work from the ground up, starting at the centre of the wall.
- Apply tile adhesive to the wall and the back of the first tile. Use the notched edge of your trowel to create a textured surface in the adhesive. This will help it stick.
- Press the tile firmly to the wall. Add plastic tile spacers at the corners.
- Wipe any excess adhesive from the front of the tile – it’ll be harder to remove if you let it dry.
- Keep working in this way to tile the whole area.
- In corners, measure and cut the tiles carefully to fit the space.
- Wait for the tile adhesive to dry completely before beginning the grouting process.
- Remove the plastic tile spacers and spread grout across the tile surface so it fills the gaps. Use a damp sponge to wipe any excess off of the tiles.
- Seal the grout to ensure it is waterproof once it is dry. You should also use water resistant tile adhesive where possible and anti-slip tiles.
- Make sure the grout is completely dry before starting to use the shower again.
The edges of tiles will be sharp if broken to be sure to only handle when wearing protective gloves.
How to tile around a bath
- Follow the same basic process for how to tile a shower.
- Make sure the surrounding wall is clean with no loose plaster before you start.
- If you’re installing a shower and bath you may need to place a water-resistant layer around the shower wall area to prevent leaks.
- Measure the space you want to tile carefully – starting at the lip of the bath and going all the way to the ceiling or wherever you want the tiles to stop.
- When you’re ready to apply the tiles, start from the centre and work outwards.
- Always use a water-resistant tile adhesive and seal your grout after it’s dried.
- Make sure no one uses the bath until the tiling is complete.
How to tile around a toilet
- Follow the same basic process for how to tile around a bath and a shower.
- Tiling around a toilet is particularly tricky so get someone to help you.
- Decide if you’re tiling the floor and walls or just one. Start with the floor first.
- Work form the centre of the floor and tile the rest of the floor first – leave a small rectangle around the base of the toilet until last.
- To work out how to cut tiles around your toilet, you’ll need to trace around the cistern and use this as your guide or template for cutting the tiles.
- Cut tiles carefully using an electric saw. Always cut less than you think you need to – it’s easier to take more off than add some back on!
- Remove your cistern to tile around it if you can.
Final tiling tips
Got a few more questions about tiling or looking for extra guidance on how to choose the right tiles? Here are our top lessons:
- Always clean the tiles once they’ve been fitted to ensure they look their best. Maintain regular bathroom cleaning so they always look great.
- Not sure what types of tiles to use for smaller bathrooms? You may be surprised to learn large tiles can still look good as their grout lines are less crowded and cleaner.
- Try different coloured or textured grouting for a different look if you’re nervous about choosing something too bold with the tiles themselves.