How to Tile a Bathroom Floor

How to Tile a Bathroom Floor Right

Tile is one of the most durable flooring options available. It also looks gorgeous and offers great water resistance.

Before you lay your tiles, measure the length and width of your bathroom floor to ensure that each tile will fit properly.

Start by making a square at the center of your bathroom with chalk lines or a laser level. Then, mark a line at each wall’s midpoint.

Installation Basics and Safety Tips to Lay Tile Like the Pros

Tile has long been a favorite for homeowners and designers alike, offering hundreds of design options and durable construction. But if you’re planning to tackle a bathroom tile installation on your own, it’s important to know how to do the job right.

Before laying tile, you’ll need to do some preparations and ensure that your walls are level and plumb. These steps will make it much easier for you to put down your tiles.

Start by determining the center point of your tiling area, using a level and tape measure to get a straight line. You can also use fixtures, countertops or other objects in your room to help you find the middle point.

Once you’ve determined the midpoint, adjust your measurements to ensure that they are plumb and level (see Figure 1). Next, use a chalk line to mark the center of each wall, making sure to align the lines with your A-to-B and C-to-D chalk lines.

Now that your guidelines are in place, it’s time to lay your first tile. This is a good opportunity to practice getting your tiles lined up properly and to get used to working with thinset mortar.

After laying the first tile, place two spacers on each side of it and carefully place the next tile along its edge. Continue laying tiles two or three at a time, checking to ensure that they are all lining up correctly and not crooked.

The key to a successful bathroom tile installation is to lay each row of tiles evenly. It’s also essential to check your work and remove any excess thinset mortar as you go. If you find that a tile is crooked, pick it up and realign it.


Whether you’re tiling a bathroom floor for the first time or are re-doing the entire room, preparing it properly is crucial to the overall success of your project. If not, your tiling might end up buckling or cracking.

The most important preparation for tiling is the subfloor. It needs to be solid, level and dry before you begin laying tile. You may also need to remove existing flooring if it’s too uneven or damaged for tiling to be safe.

If the old floor has been damaged or needs to be removed, consider using a poured self-leveling underlayment (SLU). These underlayments are made from various grades of gypsum and mixed with a variety of chemicals that control the setting time. They may be sanded or unsanded, depending on the manufacturer’s recommendations.

Another option for a level and waterproof subfloor is to use 1/4-inch cement board screwed to the subfloor with mortared seams. A liquid waterproofing membrane can be applied over the board to further strengthen it and protect against moisture.

Before tiling, check the subfloor for dips and uneven spots by sliding a 4-foot to 6-foot straight edge in different directions throughout the room. If there are any, fill them with caulk and tape off any vents that might be affected by the seam.

Once the subfloor is solid, you’re ready to start tiling your bathroom floor! Depending on the size of the room and its complexity, tiling your bathroom can take a weekend or several days.

Laying a tiled bathroom floor is a time-consuming process that requires attention to detail. However, with proper planning and some DIY experience, most homeowners can easily complete this project on their own.

Laying the First Tile

Bathroom tile is one of the best types of floor coverings you can use in a small room. It offers superior moisture resistance and durability, and it comes in a wide range of colors and patterns.

Before you begin laying the first tile, you must establish straight vertical and horizontal reference lines in the room. The easiest way to do this is by using a mason’s chalk line, which you can snap into place.

Then, establish a layout grid by measuring and marking the length of each wall in the room. This will help you lay out a square pattern along the walls, which avoids odd-shaped tiles that are difficult to remove later.

Next, spread a thin layer of thinset mortar on the floor, then set your first tile into it. Press the thinset down firm, making sure the surface is flat and level. If the tile is crooked, pick it up and shift it around until it is level and aligned with the rest of the floor.

Once the first tile is in place, continue setting tiles two or three at a time and working from the center of the room outward. Be sure to insert spacers between the tiles to keep them aligned and make for a smooth grout line.

When you reach the end of a row, check to ensure there is enough space to place a full tile at the end. If not, adjust your tiles to account for sliver cuts (where less than half of a tile will be exposed at the end of each row).

Once all the tiles are laid and the thinset is set, you can start glopping on the grout. This is the most time-consuming part of the process, but it can make or break the finished look of your bathroom floor.

Cutting the Tiles

Whether you’re tiling a bathroom floor, kitchen backsplash or some other area, tiles will need to be cut to fit. This could be to fit around furniture or to make space for a toilet drain, wall outlet or other protrusion.

There are a number of different ways to cut tiles to suit your needs and budget. You can use hand tools or power tools to do the job. You should wear protective gloves and safety goggles when working with cutting tools to avoid generating tile shards, which can be very dangerous.

If you’re going to be making a lot of cuts, or are planning to make them regularly in the future, consider investing in a wet saw. These power tools use a water-cooled diamond blade to cut tile quickly and safely.

To cut a circular hole in tile, start by marking a circle on the back of the tile and a larger one on the front (Photos 1 and 2). Then plunge the saw blade down through the circle on the front of the tile, keeping the diamond blade centered on the circle marks on the back.

Continue making deeper and deeper plunge cuts until you’re through the entire surface of the tile. This will take a bit of patience, but it can be done.

When you’re done cutting, remove the waste material from the top of the circle on the front of the tile. Then repeat the process with the other side of the circle to make a complete circular cut out.

Once you’ve finished cutting out your flange, it’s time to lay the tile over it. To help reduce the number of cuts you need to make, draw out a grid pattern on paper first. This will also help you plan where to make the final cuts on the subfloor.


Grouting is one of the final steps in tiling, and it’s a necessary part of the process to achieve a beautiful finish. It also fills narrow gaps between the tiles and protects them from dirt and water damage.

There are many different types of grout to choose from, depending on the type of tile you’re installing. Some are cement-based and help protect the tiles from stains and scratches. Others are non-cement and allow the tiles to stand out more.

To determine which type of grout is best for your project, consult the manufacturer’s instructions. Then, mix the grout powder with water until it reaches the correct consistency.

Apply the prepared grout to your wall or floor with a grout float. Start by spreading it diagonally across the tiles, then press it into the joints and push it down hard. You can use a grout trowel for this, but the float is much easier to control and you won’t end up with an uneven floor.

When you’re done, wipe away excess grout from the face of the tile and from the joints. This leaves a slight haze, which you can remove later with a damp sponge.

If the grout has a mildew or hard water stain, bleach it first before applying a sealer to keep it white. This will help to prevent mildew and stains from showing up on your new tile.

Then, once the grout is dry, apply a grout sealer to your tile to both protect and enhance it. You can buy sealers in a variety of colors, and most are flexible and easy to use.

If you’re tiling an area that gets a lot of traffic, consider using a dark grout color to contrast with the tiles. If you’re tiling a more private area, a light or neutral color might be better.


Q: What should I consider before tiling a bathroom floor?

A: Before beginning your tile installation project, it’s important to consider the size and shape of your bathroom floor in order to accurately estimate how much material you will need and determine the layout for the tiles. Additionally, it’s beneficial to think about what type of materials are best for your space in terms of durability, waterproof properties, aesthetic appeal, and cost. Finally, take into account any potential challenges that could arise such as tight spaces between fixtures or sloping floors.

Q: How do I prepare my bathroom floor for tiling?

A: The first step in preparing your bathroom floor for tiling is to clean the surface thoroughly to remove any dirt, dust or debris that may interfere with achieving a consistent bond with the tiles. Next, inspect the existing substrate and make any necessary repairs in order to create a level surface. Finally, apply a coating of cement backer board over the substrate if needed in order to provide additional support for the tiles.

Q: What type of tile is best for bathroom floors?

A: When choosing tiles for bathroom floors durability is key as bathrooms tend to see high levels of moisture which can cause standard ceramic or porcelain tiles to crack or warp over time. As such, higher-grade options such as glazed ceramic or porcelain tile are recommended as they are better equipped to withstand moisture over long periods of time without fading or discoloration. Additionally, natural stone such as marble or granite can also be used as they are resilient against water damage with proper sealing and maintenance.

Q: What tools do I need when laying tiles on a bathroom floor?

A: In order to lay tile on a bathroom floor you will need some basic tools such as measuring tape, tile spacers, trowels, notched spreaders (for large format tiles), grout float(s), rubber mallet(s), caulk gun(s), sponge(s) and bucket(s). Additionally you will also need protective gear such as safety glasses and dust masks during installation processes involving cutting or grinding of tiles.

Q: What are some safety tips when laying tile like the pros?

A: It is important to take necessary precautions when laying tile in order to ensure your safety and the quality of your project. Wear protective gear such as safety glasses and dust masks, use correct lifting techniques to lift heavy materials such as tiles or thinset mortar, focus on keeping yourself stable while working with a level or saw, and never rush when completing delicate tasks such as cutting tiles or grouting. Additionally, plan ahead in order to prevent any unnecessary mistakes and double-check measurements before beginning any installation process.

Q: What are some installation basics of tile?

A: Before beginning any tile installation project it’s important to familiarize yourself with the basics of proper technique including ensuring that your substrate is flat and level, measuring each wall for the most accurate cuts possible, using notched spreaders for large format tiles, correctly spacing tiles for an even finish without lippage, applying thinset mortar correctly for a strong bond between tiles and substrate, and properly sealing both grout joints and natural stone surfaces once tiling is complete.

Q: What type of sealer should I use for my bathroom tile?

A: When selecting a sealer for bathroom tile it’s important to choose one that is specifically designed for use on ceramic or porcelain tiles as they require different types of sealers than natural stones such as marble or granite. Generally speaking, water-based sealers are recommended due to their low odor levels however oil-based varieties may be used depending on the material being sealed. Additionally, make sure to check labels carefully before purchasing in order to determine if a specific sealant is suitable for wet areas such as bathrooms.

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