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How to Tile a Bathroom

Learn how to tile a bathroom from floor to ceiling - plus learn a few tips to help with other home tiling projects. Doing-it-yourself for your next bathroom renovation will be a breeze when you follow the steps and tricks in our how to tile a bathroom video series.

Whether you want to learn to tile a sprawling main bathroom for a whole family to use or just a small bathroom, you'll still need to know the same tricks and techniques.

Watch the DIY bathroom tiling videos below and read through our guides before tackling your project.

How to Tile a Bathroom: DIY Tiling Made Easy

Tiling a Bathroom: What You'll Need

Before you start tiling your bathroom, there's a few things (besides the tiles!) you'll need. First of all, you'll need to gear up with the right tools and equipment,

Besides the tools, you also need the right glues, grouts, sealers and waterproofers and levelling systems for the job. Use the link below to download the full list of products we recommend for a DIY bathroom. Feel free to ask the tiling experts at your local Beaumonts store if you have any questions.

Prepare Your Bathroom for Tiling

The quality of your bathroom tiling is strongly influenced by the state of the surface you tile over, so it's important to ensure that your bathroom walls and floor are sound, level and clean of dust and debris before you start tiling.

Most bathroom floor surfaces are likely to be concrete or timber. Plasterboard is common for walls.

Concrete

If the concrete is new, it must be allowed to cure for at least 28 days before it's tiled over. If the concrete is steel-trowelled, it will need to be mechanically roughened (and then thoroughly cleaned) prior to tiling. Otherwise, you will not get enough adhesion.

Any concrete release agents and curing compounds should be removed by mechanical means. If the concrete has cracks larger than 1.5mm, consult your local suppliers for advice before proceeding.

Timber

Because timber naturally expands and contracts, we don't recommend adhering tiles directly onto timber floors. Untreated floors should be primed and allowed to dry before tiling.

Plasterboard

Plasterboard is a very common indoor wall surface, but it needs to be waterproofed before being tiled over. Tiling over plasterboard involved adhering tiles to a paper surface. Although this will cause no issues in dry areas, without waterproofing moisture can cause it to deteriorate.

See our guide on wall and floor surfaces for information about tiling over different surfaces.

Prime the Surface for Tiling

Before you start tiling, prepare the surfaces to be tiled by applying a primer using a roller or sponge. We recommend using a water-based primer like Ardex MultiPrime.

Creating a Shower Hob

If you're planning to build a new shower hob for your bathroom, after you prime but before you waterproof is the best time to do it. While 900x900mm is standard size for a shower hob, many people are opting for bigger or even double showers. Follow the steps below to create your shower hob.

  • Step 1: Start by measuring from the walls then out onto the floor, and create a line using a straight edge. Make sure the measurements are parallel and square to the walls. To check you have got it square, measure from corner to corner.
  • Step 2: Build the hob with hebel blocks. You can pick these up from most Beaumont Tile stores. Cut the hebel in half with a handyman saw.
  • Step 3: Stick down the hebel blocks with Abascreed. Pour in the water first to create a sloppy mix. Add the mix along the lines that were drawn earlier and push the hebel down into the cement. Add cement on the ends of the hebel blocks to bind them together. Once this is done, check the levels and remove any excess cement before it dries.
  • Step 4: Before you make the screed, it's important to mark the fall towards the grate drain. Australian standards state that you have to have at least a 10mm fall every 600mm.
  • Step 5: To pour the screed, tip the pre-mixed bag into the shower area and create a well. Pour in the water and mix it in. A good way to test the consistency is to grab a bit with your hand and let it go - it should stay together.
  • Step 6: Repeat this process untill the base is full, and use a level to even out the surface. Don’t forget to ensure the screed lines up with the marks of the fall that were created earlier.
  • Step 7: Once the screed is dry, sweep the area and prime it once more. Then use a Neutral Core Silicone Sealer in all of the internal corners of the shower including the walls, the floor and the hebel.

Waterproofing Your Bathroom

Waterproofing is a vital step before you tile a bathroom, so it can pay to have a professional do it. But if you want to take a crack and do it yourself, just follow the steps below.

  • Step 1: Once your surfaces are primed, use Neutral Core Silicone Sealer to run a generous bead along all internal corners. Use your finger to finish off the bead.
  • Step 2: Apply Ardex STB Butynol Tape along each corner of your shower, shower hob and along the flushing to ensure no water gets behind the grate drain.
  • Step 3: Use a paint roller to cover the entire wall and floor with waterproofer. Make sure the entire wet area is well waterproofed.
  • Step 4: Wait for the first coat of waterproof membrane to completely dry and apply a second coat. A good tip is to apply the second coat in a 90 degree angle to the first.
  • Step 5: Allow the membrane to dry for at least 24 hours before you start tiling.

How to Waterproof: DIY Tiling Made Easy

Laying Bathroom Tiles

Tiling a bathroom is no more difficult than any other room. Whether you're tiling a sprawling family bathroom or working within the tighter confines of an ensuite or smaller bathroom, the steps to tile your floor and walls are straightforward.

Unlike floors in other rooms, your bathroom floor may include some "falls" - very slight slopes that allow water to flow towards drains and prevent your bathroom from flooding. These may already be built into the surface you're tiling over, but if you need to create a fall (like in a shower hob), jump back up to the section on creating a shower hob for the steps.

Follow the link below to learn how to tile your bathroom floor.

Tiling your bathroom walls is also a straightforward affair. The only difference between a bathroom and most other rooms is that you'll probably need to make a few extra cuts to your tiles to make holes for your tapware and plumbing. If you do it yourself rather than getting some help, cutting tiles like this can take a little practice - one of the reasons we recommend getting a few spares when you order your tiles.

Follow the link below to learn how to tile a bathroom wall. To learn how to cut tiles for your bathroom, read on.

Cutting Holes in Tiles for Taps & Fittings

Almost every tiling job will involve cutting tiles at some point: it's very rare that any wall or floor is just the right size that tiles fit perfectly without the tiles at some edges being cut to fit.

You can learn how to cut tiles to fit a surface here, but when you're tiling a bathroom you also need to make some extra cuts for your bathroom fittings like taps and plumbing.

Cutting Holes for Taps

There's two important things you need to know about cutting holes in tiles for taps. The first is that you'll need to use a tradesman or handyman hole cutter. The second is that you must cut the tiles before you lay the tiles.

  • Step 1: Use a pencil to mark where the tile needs to be cut, making a mark at the centre of the hole to guide the hole cutter.
  • Step 2: Place the tile over a suitable, stable work surface and score the marks with a grinder.
  • Step 3: Drill the hole using a hole cutter.

Drilling Holes for Fittings

Unlike taps, you only need to drill a hole for fittings. You can also do this after the tiles have been laid.

  • Step 1: Use a pencil to mark the spot where you need to drill. Place some tape on the centre mark to prevent the drill bit from slipping on the surface of the tile once you start drilling.
  • Step 2: Use another piece of tape to make a small "well" to catch the dust when you drill. This simple step can save a lot of cleaning up!
  • Step 3: Drill the hole. Make sure you do not use the hammer function of your drill until you have drilled all the way through the glazed surface of the tile.

How to Tile a Shower Floor: DIY Tiling Made Easy

Grouting a Bathroom

Grout - those thin lines that fill in the space between tiles - plays an important role in bathrooms. While tiles themselves are impervious to water, grouting them is a vital part of waterproofing and finishing the tiling job. To learn how to grout the tiles on your bathroom floor and walls, check out our guide by following the link below.

Tiling a Bathroom