How To Tile A Bathroom Floor

Neutral bathroom with large floor tiles

How to tile a bathroom floor can seem overwhelming if it is your first time, and most homeowners may avoid it. However, if you follow this comprehensive guide and my suggested next steps, you’ll have the tile bathroom replacement job done in no time! Of course, the key thing to ensuring the success of your tilling of the bathroom floor is to make sure you’re prepared with the right tools and materials before you begin any sort of DIY bathroom tile floor installation. But tile floors needn’t be scary, and you can become a DIY pro in no time. So here are our steps on how to tile a bathroom floor!

Considerations tiling bathroom floors

Laying your bathroom floor tiles can seem daunting. But luckily, you don’t need to spend a fortune; you can do it yourself. However, preparation is vital, so measure your bathroom first and purchase the necessary tile based on your needs.

If you’re ready to start your project, here are some critical steps to ensure you get the perfect finish on your bathroom floor tiles.

Plan To Your Budget

The best place to start when thinking about your bathroom floor tiles is to consider your budget. That will determine the quality of the tile you pick and give you an idea of how much you can spend depending on the size of the project. There are many different bathroom floor tiles available with varying price points—the average floor tiles cost around $4 per square foot.

Choose The Right Bathroom Floor Tile Materials

Many bathroom tile options are available, and each has advantages and disadvantages. Some popular tile materials are:

Ceramic – Ceramic tiles are the least expensive option and come in an array of size options and colors.

Porcelain – Porcelain tiles are more expensive but are more durable and have a nice variety of sizes and colors.

Glass – You usually see Glass tiles in splashback areas or accent walls, and they can be great if you want mosaic tiles; they can be a bit slippery when wet, and you may need to invest in a bathroom mat to avoid any falls.

Natural Stone – Probably the most expensive option on this list, but Natural Stone is great if you are looking for a more rustic aesthetic. They need to be sealed but are usually textured and less slippery underfoot.

Pick The Correct Tile Size

For larger bathrooms, you can usually get away with smaller tiles; if you have a smaller bathroom, you may want to use larger tiles to create the illusion of space.

Design A Bathroom Floor Plan

Creating a bathroom layout is an essential step in your project that will ensure success. The overall size of your bathroom determines your bathroom floor size. To do this, you will need to calculate the length and width of the bathroom floor and then multiply those measurements to give you the square foot of the area. For example, if you have a room that measures 2m x 2.5m, you would have a 5m2 square feet area to cover.

Consider The Tile Surface

The tile surface for your bathroom floor is an essential consideration as, typically, the bathroom can get wet from splashes. Some tiles have anti-slip coatings, and some are textured, making them safer. It is worth doing your homework to ensure you pick the best bathroom floor tile for you.

Materials You Will Need For Your Bathroom Tile Floor

Before you start your project, you will need to get together the correct mediums for tiling your bathroom floor. We have put together a list of some of the essentials you will need below.

  • Bathroom Floor Tiles
  • Tile Membrane
  • Tile Cutter
  • Wet Tile Saw
  • Tile Nipper
  • Tile Spacers
  • Tile Grout
  • Grout Sealer
  • Thinset Mortar
  • Rubber Grout Float
  • Notched Trowel
  • Chalk Line
  • Spirit Level
  • Level
  • Measuring Tape
  • Bucket
  • Sponge

10 Steps To Tile A Bathroom Floor

Now you have done your homework; it is time to install the bathroom floor tiles. You can follow these 10 steps to installing tile floors to achieve a beautiful and updated look.

Step 1 – Prep The SubFloor

You want the subfloor to be level and clean. If there is any water damage when you lift the old tiles, you will need to restore the entire subfloor. Plywood is a cheap and effective way to do this, or you can use a backer board: secure backer board and use mesh tape on the seams. If the subfloor is already sound, use your level to ensure it is a flat surface for installing the tiles. You can add leveling compound to the subfloor to guarantee a completely level subfloor if there are any areas for concern.

Step 2 – Install A Tile Membrane

Plywood on its own isn’t enough, so you will want to add a tile membrane before replacing the tiles. The tile membrane on your subfloor will absorb any movement preventing cracking of your tiles. You can measure the size required and then cut the tile membrane to size. Next, prepare the subfloor and spread thinset mortar onto it with a trowel. Press the membrane down onto the subfloor and allow it to dry for 24 hours. A membrane is an important step; you can get a waterproof membrane to enhance the tiling process further if you want.

Step 3 – Measure Your Starting Point

First, you have to find the center of the room. To do this, you can take a measurement from one wall to its parallel counterpart and draw a chalk line to act as a guide. Next, take a measurement tape, do the same for the other two walls and snap chalk lines there. Now you can find the center point between the chalk lines. Use a pencil to mark the center point.

Step 4 – Create Your Tile Layout

You will need to consider if your tile floor needs to be in a specific pattern or style. For example, your tile layout may be in a grid, diagonal or brickwork style, so it is best to figure this out before commencing.

Step 5 – Dry Fit Your Tiles

Starting from your center position, you can now lay down the tile adding spacers in between. This will help you understand how many whole tiles you will be able to lay. You can then take a measurement from the edge of the room and your last whole tile to determine how much you need to cut off. It is best to do any cutting in this step and continue to lay the tiles to guarantee they all fit perfectly, do not assume all the spaces will be the same. Cut tiles as you go, and score the tile with a guideline. You can use a wet tile saw or tile cutter to do this.

Step 6 – Mix Up Your Thinset Mortar

Now you have dry fit you are ready to install tile to the floor. The next important step is to mix up your thin set mortar in a bucket, be careful not to add too much water as it can make the mortar runny. Follow the instructions on the back of the packet to get the mix right and get a damp sponge ready to deal with pills or unwanted mortar on the tile floors.

Step 7 – Lay The Tile

To make certain your bathroom floors are perfect, start from the center point. Using your tile spacers and your first tile, use the notched side of the trowel to spread the thin set mortar on the floor and another thin layer of the thin set mortar to the back of the tile with your trowel. Mortar dries quite quickly to be sure of where you want to lay the tile onto the floor. To install the tile down, press it firmly, and give it a slight twist to remove any air bubbles.

Repeat the steps for the other tiles, moving out toward the edge of the wall. Use your level as you go to guarantee the tile floors are flush and flat. If they are not, you can make them level by tapping with a rubber mallet. If needs be, you can remove a bit of the mortar with a trowel if you added too much.

Installing around the toilet can be trickier:

  1. Use a piece of paper cut to the tile area, place the paper on the subfloor and mark it around the toilet edge.
  2. Use your paper tile as a template and score the tile.
  3. Use tile nippers to cut the shape.

These steps make tiling around a toilet easy and straightforward. You can use the same method for around door jambs.

Step 8 – Apply The Tile Grout

You should leave at least 24 hours after tiling before applying the grout. Remove any spacers before you apply the grout. Get rid of any remaining debris and dust with a sponge. Prepare the grout mix in your bucket and use a rubber grout float to spread at a 45-degree angle into the tile joints.

Step 9 – Remove The Grout Haze

Grout will harden quite quickly, so wipe the area down to remove any additional grout haze. Grout haze can be challenging to remove once it has dried so do this as you go. Then use a grout finishing tool along the grout lines for a smooth finish. Finally, apply a grout sealer, and your grouting project is complete.

Step 10 – Seal The Edges Of The Room

Apply a silicone sealant to the joint in between your floor and walls. This will prevent any water from getting under the tile floor. Leave that to dry for 24 hours, and your project is complete!

FAQS – How to Tile A Bathroom Floor

Do I Need Tile Spacers For My Bathroom Floor Tiles?

When tiling, it is essential to note that a tile can expand, so tile spacers are a must. It will also mean you have equal space between each tile.

What Is A Tile Membrane?

There are many membrane products available for your tile project. It is installed between the tile and floor and prevents any cracking or movement in your tile. Installing it is easy and beneficial.

What Floor Tile Should I Use In A Shower?

The type of tile you use for a shower floor may differ slightly from the rest of the bathroom. Water in the shower can make things slippy, so your primary concern is safety. Look for a matte or textured tile that will make it safe underfoot. In addition, the shower should be a relaxing place where you feel at ease.

Which Tiles Are Best For Bathroom Floors?

One thing you know for sure is that you will get a wet tile in a bathroom. Safety is a concern, so you will want to invest in something with an anti-slip coating or buy some bathroom mats. Also, the larger the tile, the bigger the room will look, so if you have a smaller area, you are working with, going for something bigger and neutral will help.

Should I Buy Extra Tiles?

A good idea is to buy around 10% more than you think you need. This will account for any breakages when tiling. Also, if you have extra, it means you can replace any if they get chipped or cracked.

Can I Use The Same Bathroom Tile For My Floor As My Walls?

This will very much depend on the look you are going for. Using the same tile can look beautiful, and the design effect creates consistency. Equally, using a different tilling pattern can be just as interesting. It is worth noting that a more durable tile may be needed for the floor.

How Often Do I Have To Replace Grout?

On average replacing grout, every year is a good idea. You don’t have to remove all of the grout thoroughly. You can use a removal tool to remove a layer and add a thin coat to the top. Grouted areas can get moldy, so regular cleaning and maintenance are required.

What Can I Do With Leftover Tile?

For you DIY enthusiasts out there, there are many things you can do with your leftovers from tiling. Keeping a few in case of any cracks or chips that may occur over time is always handy. Many DIY projects like coasters, tiled table tops, plant pots and tiles along your backyard path are great for using any you have.

Is A Wet Tile Saw Better Than A Tile Cutter?

A tile cutter is inexpensive and works best when cutting straight lines. They are powered manually, and you score and then snap off the tile. A wet tile saw is a powered tool that works best when cutting through thicker substances. Both have their place, and it very much depends on the thickness.

Other Related Bathroom Articles:

The Best Shower Wall Materials for your bathroom

101 Shower Tile Ideas for The Bathroom

Best Luxury Shower Systems


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