How to tile a bathroom floor
Laying floor tiles
Installing tiling in your bathroom is a wonderful way to make a statement which reflects your individual tastes. Although tiling a bathroom has traditionally been thought of as a complex DIY task, it’s perfectly possible to achieve a professional finish with thorough planning and by carefully working your way through the steps we provide in this guide.
Bathroom tiles are durable and easy to clean, meaning that in the long term they’re very cost effective to install. Other than regular cleaning and occasional replacement of sealant or grouting, bathroom tiles are also low maintenance.
In this guide, we’ll take you through the whole process of fitting bathroom tiles, from planning, to cutting and laying tiles, and finishing off with sealant and grouting.
How do I prepare a bathroom floor for tiling?
Thorough preparation is crucial if you want your tiles to be laid properly and last a long time. Before you start laying tiles your floor needs to be solid, level, clean and dry.
If you’re thinking about tiling over existing floor coverings – the general rule is don’t! Durable tiling relies on perfect adhesion to the floor. Your new tile floor may be secure, but the old floor beneath probably won’t be, and this will only lead to long term issues.
Depending on the type of floor you have, you may need to install a sub-floor – a good exterior-grade plywood is ideal for this. Plywood floors are usually installed on top of old or uneven timber floors. Use large sheets of 18mm ply fixed with countersunk screws, and remember to prime the plywood before you start tiling.
Some existing surfaces, such as a level concrete floor, don’t require a sub-floor, and you can lay tiles straight on top as long as the surface is level and completely clean and free from old adhesive.
The surface you are laying tiles onto will determine the type of adhesive you use. Usually a flexible adhesive is suitable for plywood, and a strong high bond adhesive is best for concrete floors. Be sure to check the manufacturer’s instructions first.
In addition, natural stone tiles such as limestone, marble & slate will need sealing first. This is usually done after laying the tiles but before grouting. Most ceramic and glazed porcelain tiles don’t need sealing.
How many tiles will I need?
To establish how many packs of tiles you will need, calculate your surface area in m2 (length x width), and check against the coverage of the pack. Add at least 10% for inevitable wastage and offcuts.
Tiles are usually given batch numbers, so to ensure proper colour matching try to buy all your required tiles from the same batch.
Where do I start when tiling a bathroom floor?
How do I lay bathroom floor tiles?
How do I cut bathroom tiles?
How do I tile round an obstacle?
Bathroom furniture such as bathtubs, sink pedestals and cabinets need to be accounted for, so you’ll have to cut any tiles specifically to shape. It’s best to start this when the rest of your tile adhesive is fully dry, otherwise you risk moving already laid tiles.