A Beginners Guide to Tiling a Bathroom

Safety is the first thing you should do before you begin.

Although tile is relatively easy, it is important to be safe. Make sure to wear proper eye protection if you are going to be cutting or chipping old tiles. You may also want to use safety gloves if you are going to handle tools like trowels. A face mask is also an option.

It is also worth knowing the location of hot water pipes within your bathroom walls. This is true for electrical connections as well. To locate any pipes, you can use a pipe locator if you are unsure.

Before you begin work, it is a good idea to turn off the water and electric supply to your bathroom.

What tools are needed for tiling

It’s not easy to complete a task when you don’t have the right tools. Before you begin tiling your bathroom, ensure you have the following tools.

Tape measure

The most important thing about tiling your bathroom is accurately measuring up. If you don’t measure accurately, it will be a nightmare. You should invest in a high-quality tape measure with clear markings.


It is important to mark your tiles before you start tiling your bathroom. If you don’t know where to cut, you will end up with lots of messed-up tiles and off-centre pipes. A chinagraph is the best type of pencil for marking tiles – it’s ideal for marking hard, glossy surfaces like tiles.

Tile cutter

Here is where things get more serious. We recommend that you invest in a tile cutter if you plan to tile your bathroom. The railed version of tile cutters is our favorite (they look a lot like the guillotines used at school to cut cardboard and paper).

The majority of tile cutters have a scribe wheel or a breaking arm. There are many sizes of rail cutters. You may need a wet-wheel cutter if you plan to tile your bathroom with extremely hard tiles like Quartz tiles. Standard tile cutters are not able to do the job.

Tile nipper

Although not essential for tile-laying in your bathroom, tile nippers are useful if you need to cut a particular tile. A tile nipper is a useful tool if you need to cut a tile to fit around pipes, sanitary ware, or light fittings.

Tile spacers

It doesn’t make sense to waste time measuring and cutting tiles only to discover that the grouting spacing is incorrect. This DIY nightmare can be avoided by using tile spacers. Tile spacers, as the name implies, allow you to evenly space tiles while fixing them in place. Tile spacers come in many sizes to allow you to achieve the grouting look you want.


Mixing adhesive and grout is a part of bathroom tile installation. You will need something to mix them. While an old washing-up bowl may work, it will quickly become messy. It’s better to buy a sturdy bucket. The amount of grout you will be mixing determines the size you need. However, most people choose either a 10 litre or 25-litre bucket.

Mixing paddle

It’s possible to mix grout with an old stick, but that is not the point. You can mix your grout with an old stick, but if it’s not too difficult for you (and who wouldn’t?), then a mixing paddle is a great tool to have. A mixing paddle is an excellent tool.

Trowel with notch

A notched trowel is required to spread adhesive on the substrate, the part that tiles stick to. This tool is essential. Most notched trowels made of steel have notches embedded into the leading edge. There are many sizes of trowels available. If you plan to tile a wall, you can get a trowel with curved notches. If you plan to tile or lay a floor, you will need a trowel that has square notches.

Grout float

Grout floats are used to apply grout between tiles. These floats are typically made from a flat rubber base and a handle at the top. You won’t cause damage to the tiles when you grout the gaps.

Spirit level

A spirit level is an invaluable tool in the planning of your tile layout. There are many types of spirit levels, including laser ones.


It is a small investment but it is well worth it. A fresh sponge will be able to finish your tiling in auckland and remove any grout that has gotten onto your tiles. A dual-purpose sponge is a good idea as it will remove stubborn grout.

Now that you have made safety precautions and have all the tools at your disposal, let’s look at how to tile your bathroom.

How to tile a bathroom

Now you are ready to tile your bathroom. Below are the steps to follow.


You’ve heard it all about the best laid plans, but when it is time to tile your bathroom, you should have a plan!

Consider which walls you would like to tile. Consider the size of tiles that you would like. Are you looking for bathroom walls that are fully tiled, or just partially tiled? These factors will impact the type of tiles and how many you need. These factors can also impact the size of your job.

Before you move on to the next step, make sure that you have considered all of these points.

Choose your tiles and design your pattern

Once you have a plan, it is time to choose your tiles and decide where they will be placed. It will depend on the style and design of your bathroom. You might want the tiles to match your bathroom flooring, furniture or even your shower colour.

It is important that you select the right amount of tiles to cover your walls when choosing your tiles. Measure the area to be covered in square metres and calculate how many tiles you will need. Measure the wall’s length and width. Add these numbers. Divide the area by the size of your chosen tiles. This will give you an estimate of how many tiles you’ll need.

If you are measuring tiles, round up to the nearest whole number. Remember to add 15% for cutting and wastage.

Many tiles come in boxes that are clearly labeled with sizing information.

Different types of tiles

There are many options for tiles on the market. It is up to you to decide which one is best. There are patterned, white or classic grey tiles as well as black or coloured tiles. Certain types of tiles may be more suitable for specific applications.

Let us explain. Below is a table that lists the various types of tiles as well as their common uses (and limitations).

Types of tiles Application

Terracotta Only in dry areas (except where glazed).

Porcelain or ceramic Bathrooms (when glazed).

Slate Walls, floors, countertops

Glass Within mosaics, feature walls

Natural stone Bathrooms with a waterproof layer

Limestone Flooring

Granite Flooring

Travertine Walls and flooring

You can see that certain tile types are better suited for bathrooms than others. This should be taken into consideration when making a purchase.

Tile patterns

There are many options when it comes to the design of your tiled walls. Personal preference is the most important factor. You can either stick to a linear grid pattern or get creative.

Some of the most popular tile patterns in recent years are:

  • Diamond.
  • Linear.
  • Brick bond.
  • Herringbone.
  • 3/4 Brick Bond
  • Hexagon.
  • Mixed Linear.
  • Arabesque.

It is important to buy tiles with the same batch numbers. It will ensure that they look identical. Due to the manufacturing process of tiles you will end up with a wall that looks ‘not right’ if you purchase sets with different batch numbers.

Get ready to build the wall

Now that you have your tiles ready to go, it is time for the wall(s).

Start by making sure the wall is dry, clean, and flat. You can then tile it if it has been previously. Give it a few hours to dry before you start to restore it to its original condition. It’s not a good idea to set tiles on top of grout leftovers, etc.

Fill in any cracks in the plaster. It can take plaster up to a month to dry depending on the plaster type you use. This is something to consider when doing any repairs to the wall.

After your wall has been prepared, you can start thinking about adhesives or grout.

Adhesive & Grout

It is important to distinguish between adhesives from grout. Sometimes you’ll hear these words used interchangeably. However, they are very different.


Adhesive will be what you use to attach your tiles to the wall. There are many types of adhesive. A class D2 T E adhesive is required for tiling a bathroom wall or power shower. The majority of adhesives that you can buy at DIY stores will clearly indicate where they can be used.

A ready-mixed adhesive is sufficient for most domestic bathrooms. There are many brands to choose from, including Mapei and BAL as well as Dulux.

To properly tile your bathroom, you will need both grout and adhesive. If you don’t want the tiles falling off later, never use grout to attach tiles to walls.


After your tiles have been attached to the wall, you will use grout to fill in any gaps. Grout is used to seal the tiles and keep water from getting into the wall.

Grout is also available in different grades, just like adhesives. There are three types of grout available: cementitious grouts made with Portland cement; epoxy grouts made of epoxy resins; furan grouts made from furan resin and a mix of a filler and an acid catalyst.

The type of tile you use will determine the type of grout you should use. If you use natural stone tiles, for example, you might need to seal the grout to prevent staining.

Epoxy grout is a popular choice for grouting wet areas such as bathrooms and showers. Epoxy grout sets up faster than other grouts so it can be challenging for DIYers to use.

Setting out your tiles

Set up your tiles by calculating where the eye should be drawn, the centre line and the number of cuts that you will make. You should take enough time to do this, and double-check everything.

Laying your tiles on the floor can be simpler if you use tile spacers. After the tiles are laid, measure each tile and mark their points with a measuring tape. These measurements should be copied onto the wall. Start at the center of the wall, and then work your way outwards. Make sure to use your spirit level when marking the wall using your tape measure or pencil.

You should now have your bathroom wall’s position marked.

Cutting your tiles

You’ll likely find that tiles around the edges of your wall need to be removed once you have it marked. You can use your tape measure to determine the size of the tile. Measure against the wall to find the appropriate wall markings.

Next, measure the tile and then apply it. Use your chinagraph pencil to mark the spot where the tile should be cut. This will give you a starting point for your tile cutter.

It’s now time to get the tile cutter out. Before you proceed, make sure that you are wearing safety gloves. Cutting tiles can result in sharp, flying fragments so ensure that you are not surrounded by family or friends.

After you have cut all the tiles required, it is time to attach them to the wall.

Applying your tiles

Here is where the adhesive comes in. Start small when applying the adhesive. Do not go beyond a metre square at a time. This will allow you to focus on placing the tile correctly. Too much adhesive can cause it to dry before you are able to place your tiles.

Spread the adhesive with your notched trowel. Use the trowel to apply the adhesive at a 45-degree angle. This will ensure a uniform spread of adhesive.

It is easy to place the tiles. Simply line them up with wall markings, and then press them onto the adhesive. Place one tile at a time. This will ensure that you have a consistent spacing between them. Place the spacers so they don’t stick out above the tile’s surface. The spacers will be grouted over, so they shouldn’t stick out or look unattractive.

After you have finished applying adhesive and placing your tiles, it is time to take a break!

It takes adhesive around 24 hours for it to dry completely. Now is the time to relax, finish your day and let the adhesive dry. You’re a hero if you made it this far!


After at least 24 hours have passed, you can start grouting.

Start by making your grout. Mix the grout by adding water to your bucket. Continue mixing until it becomes thick. Most grouts include instructions on the packet. These instructions will usually indicate how much water and how much grout to add to the mixture.

You may be asking how many grout you will need. The size and thickness of your tile will determine how much grout you need.

A formula can make it easier to do your calculations:

  1. Add the width and the length of each tile.
  2. Multiply the resultant number by the width you’ve chosen for the tile.
  3. Multiply this figure by the thickness of your tile.
  4. Add 1.8 to that number, and you will get the standard kg/metre coverage.
  5. Multiplying the tile’s width by its length will give you the following: Take the number from 4 and divide it by 4.

This will give you an estimate of how much grout you will need to grout your bathroom walls. Don’t be alarmed if you find this complicated. You can find information on how much grout you can use in many packets.

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