How to Tile a Bathroom: A Step-by-Step Tutorial

Ollie Lyon posted on Tuesday, May 31, 2022, and updated on Tuesday, May 31, 2022.

Tiling is a task that is frequently dreaded. Especially if you're not an expert at DIY. However, it does not have to be a dreadful task. If you want to tile your bathroom correctly, use Plumbworld's beginner's guide to tiling a bathroom to learn everything you need to know.

Before you begin, consider safety.

Tiling is a relatively safe task, but as with any type of DIY, precautions should be taken. If you're going to be chipping away at old tiles or cutting new ones, make sure you're wearing proper eye protection. Similarly, if you'll be handling tools like trowels, you should wear appropriate safety gloves. You could also use a face mask.

It is also beneficial to be aware of the location of any hot water pipes within your bathroom walls. The same is true for all electrical connections. If you're not sure where the pipes are, you can use a pipe locator to quickly locate any pipes.  

You should also turn off the water and electricity to your bathroom before beginning work.  

What do I need for tiling?


Nothing is more frustrating than attempting to complete a task without the necessary tools. So, before you begin tiling your bathroom, make sure you have the following tools on hand.  

A measuring tape

The most important aspect of tiling a bathroom is measuring accurately. If your measurements are incorrect, you will have a nightmare of a job. Make sure you buy a high-quality tape measure with clear markings.  


Marking up your tiles is also an important step in the process of tiling your bathroom. After all, if you can't see where you're supposed to be cutting, you'll end up with a bunch of crookedly cut tiles and off-center holes for pipes and other things. A chinagraph pencil is the best type to buy for marking up tiles because it is ideal for marking up hard, glossy surfaces like tiles.  

The tile cutter

This is where things become more serious. If you intend to tile your own bathroom, we strongly advise you to purchase a tile cutter. We've found that railed tile cutters work best (they're similar to the guillotines you'd use in school to cut paper and cardboard).  

A scribe wheel and a breaking arm are common features of tile cutters. Rail cutters come in a variety of sizes. If you're tiling your bathroom with extremely hard tiles, such as Quartz tiles, you may need to use a wet wheel cutter instead, as standard tile cutters won't be able to handle the job.

Tile cutter

Tile nippers are not required for tiling your bathroom, but they can come in handy if you have a particularly difficult or small tile cut to make. For example, if you're trying to shape a tile to fit around a pipe, a piece of sanitary ware, or a light fitting, a tile nipper will come in handy.

Tile separators

You don't want to spend hours measuring and cutting tiles only to discover that the spacing between them is incorrect when grouting. Tile spacers will assist you in avoiding this DIY nightmare. Tile spacers, as the name implies, allow you to evenly space tiles while fixing them in place. You can purchase tile spacers in a variety of sizes to achieve the desired grouting finish.  


You'll be mixing adhesive and grout while tiling your bathroom, so you'll need something to do so. While an old washing up bowl will suffice, things will quickly become very messy. Instead, it is prudent to purchase a sturdy bucket. The size you should buy depends on how much grout you'll be mixing, but most people use 10 litre or 25 litre buckets.

The mixing paddle

Can't you just mix your grout with an old stick? You can, but if you want to make your life easier (and who doesn't? ), ), then a mixing paddle is an excellent tool to have on hand.

Trowel with a notch

A notched trowel is required to effectively spread the adhesive on your substrate (the part of the wall to which the tiles actually adhere). This is a must-have piece of equipment. Steel notched trowels are typically made with notches set into the leading edge. You can buy different sized trowels with various shaped notches (if you're tiling a wall, get a trowel with curved notches). If you're tiling or laying a floor, invest in a trowel with square notches.)  

Floating grout

A grout float will assist you in pressing grout into the gaps between newly laid tiles. They are typically constructed with a flat rubber base and a handle on top. The rubber base prevents damage to the tiles while working the grout into the gaps.

The level of spirit

A spirit level will be extremely useful as part of the planning process for your tile layout. There are numerous types of spirit levels available, including laser models.  


A small but worthwhile investment Having a fresh sponge on hand will assist you in completing your tiling project and removing any excess grout that may have made its way onto the surface of your tiles. The dense cell construction of a dual-purpose sponge will be tough enough to remove any stubborn grout.

With all of these tools and safety precautions in place, it's time to look at the steps involved in tiling your bathroom.

Bathroom Tile Installation

You are now ready to tile your bathroom. We've broken down the entire procedure into simple steps below.  


Make a strategy.

We've all heard the expression "best laid plans," but when it comes to tiling your bathroom, you should really have a plan in place.

Determine which walls you want to tile. Consider the size of the tiles you want. Do you want your bathroom walls to be completely or partially tiled? All of these factors will influence the type and quantity of tiles you require. These factors will also have an impact on the size of the job.  

Before proceeding to the next step, ensure that you have considered all of these factors.

Choose your tiles and design your pattern

Once you've decided on a design, it's time to choose your tiles and decide on a pattern for them to sit in. This can be determined by the rest of your bathroom's design and style. Maybe you want your tiles to match your bathroom's flooring, furniture, or even the color of your shower.


When choosing your tiles, make sure you get enough to cover your walls. You calculate how many you'll need by measuring the area to be covered in square metres. Take measurements of the wall's length and width. Then add these two numbers together. Take the area and divide it by the tile size that you've chosen. This final figure will give you an idea of how many tiles you'll need to purchase.

If your calculations result in a decimal point, always round up to the nearest whole number when measuring for tiles. Remember to add about 15% to account for cuts and waste.

Many tiles are sold in boxes that include detailed sizing information.

Tile varieties


There are many different types of tiles on the market, and deciding which one is best for you is usually a matter of personal preference. With patterned, traditional grey or white tiles, as well as colored or black tiles Certain types of tiles, however, may be better suited to specific applications or environments.

Allow us to explain. In the table below, we've listed the various types of tiles as well as their typical applications (and limitations):

Tile style Application Terracotta Only dry areas (unless glazed) Porcelain or ceramic Bathrooms (when they are glazed) Slate Floors, counters, and walls Glass Within mosaics, feature walls Stone that is natural Bathrooms (when equipped with a waterproof layer) Limestone Flooring Granite Flooring Travertine The flooring and the walls

As you can see, certain types of tile work better in bathrooms than others. Consider this when making your purchase.

Tile designs

There are numerous options for the pattern of your tiled wall. It all comes down to personal preference. You can use a simple linear grid pattern or get more creative.  

Some tile patterns that have become popular in recent years are:

  • Diamond  
  • Linear
  • Brick bond
  • Herringbone
  • 34 Brick Bonding
  • Hexagon  
  • Linear Mixed
  • Arabesque

It is critical that you purchase tiles with matching batch numbers. This will ensure that they all have the same appearance. Given the manufacturing process of tiles, purchasing sets of tiles with different batch numbers increases the likelihood of having a tiled wall that does not look 'quite right.'  

Get the wall ready.

After you've purchased and prepared your tiles, it's time to prepare the wall(s).  

Begin by making sure the wall is clean, dry, and flat. Set aside a few hours if it has previously been tiled so that you can truly restore it to pristine condition. You don't want to be laying tiles on top of bits of leftover grout, for example.

Fill in any holes in the plaster that you find. Keep in mind that plaster can take months to dry (depending on the type of plaster used), so keep this in mind when performing any wall repairs.  

When your wall is ready, it's time to think about adhesives and grout...

Grouting & Adhesive

It is critical to distinguish between adhesives and grout. The terms are sometimes used interchangeably, but they are not interchangeable.


Adhesive will be used to adhere your tiles to the wall. There are various types of adhesive that are classified. A class D 2 T E adhesive (don't worry if this sounds complicated) is typically used for tiling a power shower or bathroom wall. Most adhesives sold in DIY stores will clearly state where they can be used on the packaging).  

A ready-mixed adhesive will suffice for the average domestic bathroom. There are numerous brands available, including Mapei, BAL, Dulux, and many others.  

Remember that you'll need both adhesive and grout to tile your bathroom properly. Never use grout to attach tiles to a wall (unless you want them to fall off later).


Grout will be used to fill in the gaps between your tiles after they've been installed on the wall. Grout helps to'seal' the tiles and prevent water from entering the wall behind them.  

Grout, like adhesives, comes in a variety of grades. There are three types of grout: cementitious grouts made of Portland cement, epoxy grouts made of epoxy resins, and furan grouts made of a furan resin and a filler powder with an acid catalyst.

The type of grout that is best for you will frequently be determined by the type of tiles you are using. If you are using natural stone tiles, for example, you may need to use a sealant to prevent staining.  

One of the most popular grouts for wet areas such as bathrooms and showers is epoxy grout. However, because epoxy grout sets faster than other grouts, it can be difficult for inexperienced DIYers to use.

Arranging your tiles

Set out your tiles, keeping in mind where the eye is drawn, where the center line should be, and how many cuts you will need to make. Make sure to take your time with this and double-check everything.  

Tile spacers can make it easier to lay out your tiles on the floor. Mark the points of each tile with your measuring tape once they've been laid out. Then, trace these dimensions onto your wall. It is best to begin in the center of the wall and work your way outwards. When marking the wall with a tape measure and pencil, use a spirit level to ensure that all of the markings are level.  

By the end of this, you should have all of your tiles positioned on your bathroom wall.

Tiles should be cut

After you've marked your wall, you'll probably discover that the tiles at the edges will need to be cut down. Calculate the tile size using your tape measure (measure against the edge of the wall and the relevant wall marking).  

Then, using that measurement, apply it to your tile. Using your chinagraph pencil, mark the point where the tile will need to be cut. This will provide you with a target to aim for when using your tile cutter.  

The tile cutter will then make an appearance. Before continuing, make sure you're wearing safety gloves and goggles. Cutting tiles can result in sharp flying fragments, so make sure no friends or family members are nearby.  

After you've cut all of the required tiles, it's time to mount them on the wall.  

Using your tiles

This is where your adhesive will come in handy. Begin slowly when implementing it. Try not to go more than one metre square at a time. This will give you more time to focus on placing your tile correctly. Applying too much adhesive increases the likelihood of it drying before you can apply your tiles.  

You should use your notched trowel to spread the adhesive. Using a trowel, apply the adhesive in 45-degree strokes. This will assist you in achieving a consistent adhesive spread.  

It is as simple as aligning the tiles with the appropriate wall markings and pressing them onto the adhesive. Do this one at a time, remembering to insert tile spacers between each one (this will help you achieve nice even spacing between each tile). Make sure the spacers are firmly seated so that they do not protrude above the tile's surface. You don't want the spacers sticking out and being unsightly because you'll be grouting over them.  

It's time to take a break after you've finished applying adhesive and placing all of your tiles.

Adhesive typically takes 24 hours to dry completely, so now is the time to finish your work for the day, kick back, and relax. You've earned it if you've made it this far.


After (at least) 24 hours, it's time to start grouting.  

Begin by getting your grout ready. Fill your bucket halfway with water, then gradually add the grout and mix until it reaches a thick consistency. Many grouts include instructions on the package, usually detailing how many parts water to how many parts grout to add to the mix.

You might be wondering how much grout you'll need at this point. The amount of grout required is usually determined by the size and thickness of the tile.  

There is a formula that can help you with your calculations:

  1. Add the tile's width and length together.  
  2. Divide the result by the width of the tile you've chosen.  
  3. Multiply that figure by the tile's depth.
  4. Then divide that figure by one. 8, which will provide you with the standard kg/metre coverage.  
  5. Multiply the width of the tile by the length of the tile, then divide this figure by the figure from number 4 above.  

The resulting number will give you an idea of how much grout you'll need to grout your bathroom wall successfully. Again, don't be concerned if this appears complicated. Many grout packets will tell you how much wall space they can cover.

Anyway, after you've mixed your grout to a thick consistency, set it aside for five minutes. This allows oxygen bubbles to escape and your grout to settle.

The next step is to begin applying grout to the gaps between your tiles. Use your grout float to accomplish this. Hold it at a 45-degree angle and work the grout into the gaps between the tiles. Remember that the grout helps seal your bathroom wall, so make sure you get consistent coverage.  

It's a good idea to stop after about 2-3 metres of grouting and clean up any excess that has made its way onto your tiles. Make use of your sponge for this. Cleaning as you go keeps excess grout from drying and becoming more difficult to remove later.  

After you've finished applying the grout to the wall, let it dry for about an hour. When you're sure it's dry, use a soft dry cloth to gently polish the entire wall.  

That's all there is to it. The Plumbworld beginner's guide to bathroom tiling We hope you found it helpful. If you're looking for bathroom tiles, look no further than our extensive selection.  

Ollie Lyon

Ollie is a self-taught DIY expert who specializes in kitchen and bathroom renovations. Ollie enjoys cycling and hiking in his spare time.

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