Tiling made easy

Slippery when wet: How to tile a bathroom floor

Tiling a bathroom floor may seem like a daunting job. But with a little planning and preparation, it can become both cost-effective and the most satisfying DIY project you’ll ever undertake. Read on to find out how to tile a bathroom floor!

Tiling a bathroom floor: What you need

Here’s a handy list with all the tools you’ll need! While planning and preparing, have these items ready: 

  • Spirit level
  • Pencil
  • Chalk
  • Straight edge
  • Tape measure
  • Square

 

The following tools are recommended for the actual tiling of the floor:

  • Gauging trowel
  • Notched floor trowel
  • Adhesive mixer (cement based only)
  • Rubber mallet
  • Floor tile spacers
  • Bucket of clean water and a sponge
  • Clean, dry cloth
  • Tile cutter
  • Tile nibblers
  • Tile file
  • Gloves and goggles
  • Grout float
  • Grout finishing tool  

How to tile a bathroom floor: Planning and preparing

You will need to choose the correct adhesive for the tiles that are being laid. There are different adhesives for different tile types and floors, so it is important to choose the correct product in order to ensure a good bond. Always check the instructions on the adhesive pack.

Floors must be flat, clean and dry. Repair any holes or cracks in the surface with an appropriate filler. Prepare the floor in accordance with the instructions on the adhesive. Measure the length and width of the space you wish to tile to work out the total area. Divide this number by the pack coverage of your tiles. This will tell you how many tiles you need. Add an extra 10% to allow for cuts and breakages.

Buy all of your tiles from the same batch to avoid color variations. You should also mix all of your tiles up before you start so there aren’t any blocks of different shades. It is also recommended to buy the grout from one batch to avoid color variations.

You need to be able to exit the bathroom without walking on freshly laid tiles. Tile the section directly in front of the door last.

How to install bathroom floor tiles

  1.  Before you start, familiarize yourself by reading the instructions on the adhesive.
  2. Lay out a row of dry tiles near the center of the room. Adjust the position to avoid cutting very thin sections or awkward shapes.
  3. Lay out a second row at right angles to the first row. Again, adjust the position of the rows to avoid difficult cuts. This process should identify a suitable starting point near the center of the room. 
  4. Use a square and a straight edge, chalk mark two lines along the tile edges to ensure that the lines are laid straight. 
  5. Before starting, inspect the tiles and remove any that are damaged or chipped.
  6. Plastic or rubber gloves should be worn when applying adhesive.
  7. Starting at the intersection of the two lines, use a suitable notched floor trowel to spread the adhesive onto the floor. Only work on a small area at a time. 
  8. Firmly bed the tiles into the adhesive with a slight twisting action to ensure good contact. Remove any excess adhesive from the surface of the tiles immediately with a damp sponge. 
  9. Work out from this tile in a fan pattern towards the wall until a quarter of the room is complete. Insert tile spacers as you go to ensure consistency.
  10. Check that each tile is laid flat and square by using a spirit level. If they are not level, tap them with a rubber mallet to correct.
  11. When you reach the wall, some tiles may need to be cut. Measure the distance between the wall and the last tile, allowing for the grout line. Mark the tile with a marker pen, and score the surface with a tile cutter. Smooth any rough edges with a tile file.
  12. Always finish tiling with the quarter nearest the door.
  13. When you have finished, do not walk on the tiles for the length of time advised on the adhesive pack.
  14. Remove the tile spacers from the grout joints when the adhesive has dried.

How to install bathroom tiles: Grouting the tiles

 

Once the tile adhesive has set, it’s time to start grouting. Read the pack instructions to make sure that the grout is suitable for your application.

  1. Remove portion of grout from the bucket using a gauging trowel, work the grout into the joints with a grout float ensuring joints are firmly packed with grout. Tip: Work across the joints at an angle to avoid dragging the grout out.
  2. Only work in small areas at a time, and when each area has been filled, use a curved finishing tool to smooth the grout and create a neat finish. Wipe any excess grout on the tile surfaces away with a damp cloth.
  3. Repeat this process until finished, then leave the grout to dry.
  4. Wipe the tiles over with a damp cloth and then a dry cloth, to remove any traces of grout.
  5. Using a flexible sealant such as Loctite Polyseamseal Tub & Tile Adhesive Caulk, seal the edges of the floor. Covering each side of the joint with masking tape, use a caulking gun to apply a continuous bead from one corner to another.
  6. Once in place, use a smoothing tool to create full stop.