Installing Bathroom Tiles

15 Materials
1 Day

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Before you learn how to tile a floor the space needs to be prepped so you aren’t dreading the entire process. Since you probably already decided to tile your floor, you’ll need to get all the proper materials for the bathroom floor tiles you selected.

1. Before you get started, remove any debris and dust. You need to make sure your floor is absolutely level.

2. The bottom layer when laying bathroom floor tiles is concrete backer. Use 1/4" WonderBoard laid directly onto the subfloors to providea stable surface for installing tile floor. Secure with cement board screws drilled into the joists.

3. Measure the middle between two walls and make a mark. Repeat for the other two walls. This will get you a mid point that you’ll want to start your tiles from.

Tile looks best with long and straight runs. So measure the distance from the mid point to the longest wall. Take that measurement and make marks on opposite sides of the longest wall and snap a chalk line. Repeat with a perpendicular wall so you make a cross on your floor with chalk lines.

4. Lay out your bathroom floor tiles along this line starting at the cross you made with the chalk lines. Go from one end of the room to the other. Make any adjustments based on potential traffic on grout lines and to ensure you don’t have small tiles cuts on either end. We recommend you do dry fitting first. Don’t forget to use spacers when you are dry fitting the bathroom floor tiles.

Cut any edge pieces as necessary with a tile saw.

5. Mix up thin set mortar. It should be the same consistency as the the peanut butter. Follow the instructions on your mortar to get it mixed properly. Clean the mortar and bathroom floor tiles as you go.

6. Start laying bathroom floor tiles. Start by removing tile where your chalk cross is, lay down your mortar with a grooved trowel held at 45 degrees. Make sure your first piece on the floor absolutely square by using your chalk lines. Any flaw here is going to show up in the rest of your design.

Mortar dries pretty quickly so only lay enough for about 2-4 feet of one row at a time.

Gently set the floor tile down on top of the mortar and with even pressure, push down the tile with an ever so slight twist to work out any air bubbles.

When setting your bathroom floor tiles try to get them as close to the other tiles as possible, then add tile spacers and adjust for a tight fit.

7. Wait for 24 hours before grouting bathroom floor tiles.

8. Mix up your grout and start glopping it onto the tiles. Work in small sections and spread grout over tiles with a rubber gloat held at 45 degrees.

9. Wait about 20-30 minutes and then use a damp sponge to rinse away any “haze” left on the grout. Be sure the sponge is well squeezed so you don’t get too much water on the tile. Repeat until the tile is clean.

10. Once all your tiles are laid, spaced, level, and grouted….you can celebrate! You did it!

Hopefully this step by step tutorial for how to tile a floor was helpful for you to learn everything you need to know if you’re going to do it yourself.

If you love this floor tile installation and want to learn more like it, be sure to check out all of my DIY tutorials in the archives here!

Resources for this project:
1/4” WonderBoard
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Chelsea @ Making Manzanita
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Frequently asked questions
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  1 question
  • Ellen Ellen on Jul 29, 2020

    I’ve never understood how to use a chalk line as a marker once you’ve put mortar on top of it. What am I missing?

Join the conversation
  • William William on Aug 13, 2019

    Great tutorial on doing it right the first time so there isn't a second time for several years. Job well done. Love the oversize hexagon tiles.

  • Ellen Bertelsen Ellen Bertelsen on Aug 17, 2019

    I usually put the spacers in while I’m laying the tile instead of waiting til the end. Much easier and you don’t have to move the tiles on the mortar. And easy to use them as excess mortar removers when you are taking them out (which I do before the mortar sets). And there is a product available to use as a cover between the tile and wood floor edges which will give protection for those open edges and avoid chipping. Nice job on the tile and I like the hexagon ones as well. Now to find a relatively easy way to remove the dark, dark gray tiles that the previous owner put in a small, dark bathroom. ICK!