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How to Tile Your Bathroom

Last Updated on February 6, 2012

Many homeowners who have an older bathroom desire something more modern and appealing; however, a complete renovation may not be practical or affordable. Installing new tile in a bathroom is a project that most homeowners can do themselves and it does not have to be as costly as they may think.

Installing New Bathroom Tile

The most time consuming part of the project must be tackled first, which is the removal of the bathroom fixtures, large and small. This includes the shower stall, vanity, light fixtures, sink and commode. Upon removal of the shower stall, it may be necessary to repair the wall after installing the new shower base. This should be accomplished through the use of water resistant sheet rock. The new shower base should then be installed and the plumbing reconnected.

Preparing the Sub Floor

Removing the existing floor covering is the next step. Depending on the type of floor being removed, it may be necessary to install cement board over the old sub floor, and its surface must be clean before beginning the installation of the new floor. Cement board can be installed over the old flooring, but if one chooses this route, he or she must keep in mind that this will raise the height of the floor by an inch or more, making it necessary to plane the bottom of the bathroom door.

Laying the New Tiles

It is necessary to mark the starting point prior to laying the new tiles, which should be made with a pencil precisely in the middle of the room. Next, one must use a trowel to spread a generous layer of glue on the sub floor. As a general rule, the area covered with glue should be equal in size to the amount one can tile in a half hour or less. This ensures that the glue will not dry out before the tiles are put in place. Grooves should be made in the glue by holding the notched side of the trowel toward the outside of the area where the glue was placed.

One should begin by positioning the first two tiles, which should be installed on either side of the pencil mark. A spacer tile down should then be positioned in the corner where the first two tiles meet, and the tiles should be pressed together firmly in the direction of the spacer and towards the floor at the same time. Completing this step correctly is essential, as this will determine how snugly the tiles fit together. An adequate amount of time should be allowed for this step, as it does little or no good to finish the task quickly, but end up with loose fitting tiles that look sloppy and unattractive. It is also imperative to start in the middle and work outwards to avoid becoming “tiled into a corner.”

When all of the tiles have been installed, the grout should be added. When the grouting has dried, the bathroom fixtures should be carefully reinstalled, and any excess glue or grout should be wiped up with a wet sponge. The tiles should be allowed to set for 48 hours, and the grout should be polished with a damp cloth or according to the directions on the container of sealant.

Tracey Roper is a content contributor for, an electric underfloor heating company based in the UK

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