• Paul

Tips and advice on tiling a bathroom

When it comes to tiling a bathroom, as you might expect there are several things to consider. The bathroom suite - obviously, towel rail, brassware and shower designs, an extractor fan maybe and yes, then there are the tiles. Would you prefer tiles on the walls and the floor? What about tiles half way up the walls with a painted top half? Would you prefer tiles floor to ceiling or vinyl floor covering? Let’s take a closer look at the options and hopefully by the end of this article you’ll have some fixed ideas for your own bathroom design.

Bathroom tiles come in various colours, shapes and sizes. Larger tiles are more expensive however you need less of them to cover an area. Floor tiles are usually thicker than wall tiles and they can all be laid with straight joints or in a staggered brickwork design.

If you are responsible for buying the tiles yourself try to buy enough to start with. It can be difficult to colour match if you buy a second batch several weeks later. It’s also worth noting, especially if you’re trying to save money by buying low value materials, sizes between wall and floor tiles can differ by a few millimetres even if purchased at the same time and from the same retailer. Why does this matter? The average grout joint is just 2mm. So for example if your wall tiles differ in width by 1mm then you’ll see a gradual increase across all of your grout joints, which may not match the joints on say, your floor. Add a 1mm difference affecting the tile length too and it becomes quite a challenge trying to line everything up.

It’s also a good idea to check your walls and floor using a level before you start too. The amount of tile adhesive required will depend on how level and how flat your surfaces are. Again, for example, we recently completed a bathroom where the floor slopped from the back wall to the bathroom door by 15mm. We also had to allow for a huge dip in the middle where the toilet pan had been. Ideally we might have replaced the floor first. However, who’s to say the floor joists were truly level anyway. Allow for these imperfections during your calculations for materials and you’ll purchase the right quantities.

We use tile spacers and tile levellers when laying both floor and wall tiles. The spacers create a consistent grout line, whilst the levellers pull the tiles together to create a flat surface. You can see both being used in the photo.

Typically floor tiles are laid on a membrane which helps fix those creaking wooden floorboards. If you’ve decided on a wet room style bathroom with a walk-in shower then a thin waterproof membrane is used first to seal both the floor and the walls. Drainage is also a factor and as well as the traditional plug hole there is also a gutter design option available.

You can purchase strips of tile edging to finish the wall tiles up against or, if you prefer, you can finish the edge of the tiles around a window or along boxing in with the tiles themselves. It all depends on what sort of finish you’re going for.

Silicone is then used to seal joints, corners and edges to prevent water leaking behind the tiles, bath, toilet and basin. It can also be used to fix shower screens and bath panels too. It’s a tricky job but very necessary. Otherwise there will be no end of issues later on.

There are other considerations such as replacing a standard radiator with a new towel rail, moving pipe work and other plumbing. Extractor fans too are a subject all of their own and one we’ll come back to at a later date.

For now though, hopefully we’ve given you a better understanding of what’s involved when choosing and laying tiles in a bathroom. If you would like to know more or would like a quotation from us for your own bathroom project then please get in touch.

Here’s some useful links:

Topps Tiles

Porcelanosa (Watford)


Tile Giant

Ceramic tile

Tile Mountain

Home Tiles

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