Quick Tip: Laying Bathroom Tile

Successfully laying bathroom tile requires careful planning.

By Bob Vila | Updated Jul 28, 2020 8:41 PM

We may earn revenue from the products available on this page and participate in affiliate programs.

How to Tile a Bathroom, Laying Bathroom Tile

Photo: Flickr

While many people consider laying bathroom tile a do-it-yourself project for money-saving reasons, there are many factors that can make or break the job. This quick guide shows you how to tile a bathroom correctly.

Bathroom Tile Installation
Once you’ve determined the type of tile you need, think about how it will be installed. The substrate, or what tile is installed on top of, is just as important as the tile itself. A flexing floor or a wall that is uneven can lead to broken tiles and failed grout.

Water-resistant backer board, not drywall, should be used under the tile that will get wet. Whether it’s backer board, plywood or concrete, the substrate needs to be sound, clean and dimensionally stable. Surfaces need to be level or plumb and true to plane, as the pros say. That means no bumps.

Any cracks or voids can compromise even the best tile job. The only way to be sure the tile sticks fast is to use a notched trowel to apply adhesive to the substrate.

Create Space
The space between the tiles should be uniform, so use spacers if your tiles don’t come on mesh sheets. The larger the tile, the larger the space should be between them. Some do-it-yourselfers will make the mistake of pushing tiles too close together to reduce grout lines. Without enough surface area, grout won’t bond well and can fail prematurely, leaving room for leaks and water damage. It’s also very important to let the adhesive cure fully.

Follow Instructions
Follow the manufacturer’s instructions and stay off the installation the required amount of time before you grout the tile.