10 Simple Steps to Stunning Bathroom Tiles

By George

20th Mar 2019

7 mins read

DIY & Technical

We've all been there. You've gutted your mouldy old bathroom and are now staring at a fresh wall; a daunting blank canvas.

grey bathroom tiles in minimalist bathroom

If the thought of a bit of DIY is enough to make you tremble this handy tiling guide should help ease those concerns. With just ten simple steps (and good concentration) you can learn how to tile a bathroom wall and get the job done yourself to a professional standard!

10 Steps to Stunnung Bathroom Tiles

● A clean, dry and paint-free bathroom wall.
● Enough tiles & tile spacers to cover your big blank wall - plus a minimum 10% extra for any errors. Just tell us the size of the wall and we’ll work it out for you. Our tile calculators are on every tile page!
● A spirit level - for obvious reasons; say no to wonky tiles.
● Two lengths of timber - each about a metre long should do for an average sized bathroom.
● A clean mixing bucket.
● A quality anti-mould tile grout - pay that little bit extra and you won’t have to re-do the job every couple of years.
● Tile trim (optional) - to give external edges some striking definition.
● A clean sponge.
● A pencil.
● A waterproof tile-adhesive.
● A trowel.
● A notched trowel.
● A grout spreader.
● A grout finishing tool.
● A soft cloth


1. Preparation is Key

It’s absolutely crucial that you don’t start until the surface you’re tiling is adequately prepared. You must be certain that your bathroom wall is waterproof, clean and capable of taking the weight of your chosen tiles. If you want to be on the safe side we suggest using a BOND IT Primer beforehand to make those pesky tiles really stay put!

Bond-it Primer

2. Make some gauge sticks

Don’t panic! It’s simpler than it sounds. Place one of your lengths of timber horizontally on a flat surface. Grab one of your fancy new tiles and align it widthways with the left hand edge of the stick. Make a mark on the stick at the point where this tile ends. Add another tile where the previous one ended and continue along until you can’t fit any more full tiles; be sure to make room for a tile spacer between each tile. Now take your second stick and repeat the procedure but this time placing the tiles lengthways.

3. Making Maps

Here’s where you really need to pay attention. Now you’ve got your gauge sticks you’ll need to work out some guidelines to ensure your tiles fit the wall perfectly. Take your spirit level and mark along the width of the wall in pencil. Then do the same vertically. These markings will cross at a centre point and will help keep your tiles level. Now take the widthways gauge stick and place it at one end of your wall. Draw the tile marks you made on the stick directly onto the wall. Continue this along the entire width of the wall. Once you reach the end of the wall you will more than likely need to trim some tiles down to fit the smaller gap left; make sure to mark these down on the wall for reference later. Now you should have a helpful map. It’s time to get tiling!

4. Placement

Here’s where things really start to take shape! Starting at the bottom, place your first row of tiles along the wall. It’s essential that you use tile spacers between each tile - to the side and above - to ensure a neat, consistent trough for grouting later. We recommend the Tile Rite range! When you get to the fiddly corner tile, just transfer the markings you made earlier onto the back of a tile and use a tile cutter to cut to the required size. Now, I bet you’re wondering how we make them stick?

5. Mix Your Adhesive

We can't stress enough how important it is to check that you have a waterproof adhesive before you begin. Without this, bathroom tiles will quickly grow mould and could even start falling down; not the best addition to your haircare routine! Mix your adhesive with the specified amount of water (or go for a posh premixed one) until it is smooth. This BOND IT adhesive should do the trick!

Bond-it rapid flex

6. Application

When the adhesive is ready, grab a notched trowel. We stock a range of quality ones here. We recommend beginners apply adhesive one row at a time, just don’t take too long as the adhesive mix could start to set.

6mm trowel

Add a healthy dollop of the mixture to your trowel and whack it onto a small area you wish to tile. First, use the smooth surface of the trowel to evenly distribute the adhesive. Then, in a vertical motion, use the notched edge of the trowel to create tidy rows of ridges in the adhesive. Gently place the first row of tiles onto the wall being sure to keep the tile spacers between them. Repeat this row by row until complete!

7. Tile Trim (Optional)

If your tiling job features any outer wall edges or corners (i.e. around a window or a near a door frame), you may want to consider applying some tile trim. Tile trim, while not essential, will add extra waterproofing to those hard to seal corners and can enhance the overall look of any tiled area. To apply, simply cut your tile trim to size and use some leftover tile adhesive to carefully mount it. Be sure to use a sponge to wipe off any residue, it can be tricky to get rid of once dry! This Tile Right Grouting Sponge is ideal for the job!

grouting and cleaning sponge

8. Grouting Time

After allowing your tiles to set for at least 24 hrs, it’s time to remove the tile spacers and fill those perfectly spaced gaps. You can opt for a premixed option here but if you’ve gone for the traditional kind be sure to use a clean bucket and sponge. Mix the grout until it is lump-free and resembles toothpaste in consistency; add more water if necessary. Leave it to settle for a couple of minutes before we begin.

9. Fill Those Gaps!

This step can make or break your tiling job so work cautiously and efficiently. Dip your grout spreader (use a trowel if you haven’t got one) into the grout and apply it directly to a small area of tile gaps. From here work it into the gaps using lots of upward and diagonal strokes to force it deep into the crevices. Time is of the essence yet again here as the grout will become difficult to work with as it dries. Use the sponge as you go to tidy up any messy patches and keep the tiles clear of residue. Once you’ve finished the entire wall, wait 15 minutes before sponging down the surface and repeating the process.

10. Finishing Touches

After the final coat, let the grout harden for a few minutes then take your grout finishing tool (or a small wooden dowel) and easily score along all of the joints.

red Tile Rite Grout Finisher

This will work to remove any surplus grout while also giving an even, professional looking finish to your beautiful newly tiled wall. Once dry, polish up with a dry cloth. Don’t be scared to use a bit of elbow grease to loosen any residue. We hope you took a shower before starting the job because you won’t be able to use this one for at least 24 hrs! Though it may feel dry, grout can take up to 72 hours to properly settle in. Check your specific grout manufacturer’s recommended wait time before getting anything wet!

If everything has gone swimmingly, you should now be admiring a spectacularly tiled wall. You’ve done us all proud. The boasting rights are all yours. Now what are you doing still reading this? Go and enjoy it!



George is one of our interior experts. He loves to write about the latest bathroom trends and he's a dab hand with bathroom DIY too.

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