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How to Tile a Bathroom Wall

By Trinity

11th Aug 2022

5 mins read

DIY & Technical

Tiling a bathroom wall can seem daunting. If you're in need of a simple breakdown, follow our easy step by step guide on how to tile a bathroom wall.

gloss navy and white tiles in bathroom

Step By Step Guide: Tiling a Bathroom Wall

If you’re in the process of redecorating and have been putting off tiling your bathroom wall, we get it! It can be overwhelming thinking about where to start with tiling a bathroom wall and can be a big job. However, if you’re feeling up to the task (or can’t put it off any longer!), we have a simple breakdown of the process from start to finish.

Before you begin

Unfortunately, tiling a bathroom isn’t one of those jobs where you can go straight at it and hope for the best. Tiling bathroom walls does require some preparation before you can actually begin putting tiles to the wall.

Firstly, you need to work out just how many tiles you’ll actually be using. However many tiles you think you’ll need, add an extra 10% in case any of them get damaged. If this is your first time tiling you might need them!

Equipment Needed:

Prepping

    • Spirit Level
    • Tape Measure
    • Pencil
    • Tile Cutter
    • Two gauge sticks


Tiling

    • Notched Trowel
    • Tile Adhesive
    • Tile Spacers


Grouting

  • Anti-Mould Grout
  • Grout Spreader
  • Mixing Bucket
  • Sponge/Microfiber Cloth and Water

Step One: Make sure your walls are ready

You’ll want to make sure that the wall you’ll be tiling is clean, flat and dry. This will be the foundation for where you set your tiles and if this isn’t as flat as it needs to be, your tiles will end up uneven.

step 1 tiling bathroom

Step Two: Make your gauge sticks

Here’s where things get a little complicated but the payoff will be worth it. Grab your two gauge sticks, these can just be two long pieces of wood. As long as it’s straight and flat any kind of wood will do. Take one of your tiles and line it up widthways against the left hand side of one of the sticks. Then mark where the tile ends. Carry this on across the length of the entire stick. Repeat this process on your other gauge stick but measuring the tile lengthways. When you do this be sure to leave some room for the tile spacers also.

step 2 tiling bathroom

Step Three : Map your tiles

Using your spirit level, mark the centre of your wall with a pencil across its entire width. Then you’ll want to draw a vertical line through the centre of your wall too. This should create a cross section in the very centre of the wall you’re tiling. Next you’ll be taking your gauge sticks and placing them against the lines you’ve just drawn on your wall. Put your widthways gauge stick against one end of the wall. Copy the tile markings you’ve made on the gauge stick onto the wall, all the way across. Repeat this with your other gauge stick for the height of your wall. These guidelines will help you lay your tiles straight.

step 3 tiling bathroom

Step Four: Cut your tiles

It’s unlikely that once you’ve marked out your tiles that they’ll line up perfectly from one end of the wall to the other. If this happens, don’t panic. Take your tile cutter, and cut your end tile to size. If you can, try and see if you can cut your tiles to size in the least wasteful way possible. If one half fits one end of the wall and the other half fits the other, that’s an ideal situation.

step 4 tiling bathroom

Step Five : Apply your adhesive

The most important step here is to make sure your adhesive is waterproof. This is because your tiles and grout might not completely prevent water from making its way to the adhesive. If you’re new to the tiling trade then we’d recommend you apply your adhesive one row at a time. If you take too long to lay your tiles the adhesive could start to dry out and it won’t grip your tiles as well as it should. Add some adhesive to your trowel and spread it across the area you’re tiling. You may also want to take the notched edge of your trowel and create some rows of ridges to help the tiles stick even better.

step 5 tiling bathroom

Step Six: Lay your tiles

Once you’ve applied adhesive to a small area, place one tile at a time against the adhesive, paying close attention to the markings you’ve made along your wall. When you place your next tile, remember to place tile spacers in between each one so that you will have space to apply the grout. Repeat this process until your entire wall is complete!

Tile Adhesive will likely take at least 24 hours to dry so once this is done leave adequate time for it to dry.

step 6 tiling bathroom

Step Seven: Mix your grout

Depending on which grout you’ve purchased, the measurements needed for your grout mix may vary. So, paying close attention to the instructions on the packaging of your selected grout, mix your grout in a bucket. Once mixed let it sit for about 15 minutes. Whilst your grout mix is sitting, you might want to spend this time carefully pulling out your tile spacers.

step 7 tiling bathroom

Step Eight: Apply your grout

There’s a certain knack to applying grout that will ensure there’s no spaces or air pockets left in between your tiles. We’d recommended applying the grout by scooping some onto your grout spreader and then working it into the gaps. Be sure to use lots of upward and diagonal strokes to force it deep into the crevices. Similar to applying the adhesive, you’ll want to focus on small areas at a time because the grout can prove difficult to work with once it starts drying. Once you’ve completed a small area, be sure to take a damp cloth or sponge and just give your tiles a little tidy up as you go.

Once the whole wall is covered, leave the grout to dry for about an hour.

step 8 tiling bathroom

Step Nine: Finishing Touches

After giving the grout some time to start setting, take your damp cloth or sponge and give the tiles one last wipe down. If you start to see any gaps in your grout it means you haven’t worked it in hard enough, so feel free to give those areas a touch up. Once your wall is completely wiped down, leave your grout to dry for at least 24 hours.

step 9 tiling bathroom

And that's how to tile a bathroom wall! With patience and some strong preparation, tiling your bathroom wall should be an easy process if you follow the steps of our guide.

Trinity

Trinity

Trinity is one of our expert bloggers in bathroom design and DIYs. Read her blog posts for the latest coverage of style trends and easy-to-follow guides.

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