7 Steps to Install Bathroom Wall Tiles
– Step 1: Prepare the Substrate
– Step 2: Apply Primer
– Step 3: Install the cleats before proceeding with the bathroom tile installation
– Step 4: Glue and install the first tiles
– Step 5: Install the next rows of bathroom tiles
– Step 6: Make your tile cuts
– Step 7: Grout your bathroom tiles
Tiles are a typical bathroom wall covering: they protect against water splashes and are easy to maintain.
The installation of tiles is not very complicated to achieve. It is possible to obtain a more than the satisfactory result with healthy walls and suitable material even for a non-initiated.
Here is a step-by-step guide on how to install bathroom tiles.
1. Prepare the surface
The preparation of the substrate depends on its initial state. In the case of a bathroom wall tile installation, the first enemy is moisture.
Perfectly sound and smooth walls
In this case, the preparation is quite simple.
– Sand the walls with fine grain.
– Remove dust to obtain a clean surface.
Good to know: install waterproof plasterboard before tiling the wall area inside the shower or bathtub, even if the walls are fine.
Porous or uneven walls
If the walls are porous due to moisture or uneven, levelling with an insulating plaster is necessary.
– If the walls have mould, eliminate it with a solution designed for this purpose.
Good to know: a pair of gloves and a mask are necessary to apply the cleaning products.
– Install gypsum board to form a healthy substrate.
If the bathroom adjoins a bedroom, choose plasterboard with a good soundproofing coefficient.
2. Apply the primer
The primer will ensure optimal adhesion for your wall tiles.
– Roll your primer from top to bottom, just as you would paint.
– Allow 12 to 24 hours to dry, depending on the product label.
3. Install the cleats before proceeding with the bathroom tile installation
The first row of tiles requires cleats to ensure a level tile installation.
Attach a horizontal batten
– Starting from the floor, measure the height of one tile and two braces (the braces create a space for later grouting below and above the tile).
– Mark this measurement with a pencil on the wall.
– Attach a horizontal strip to the measurement, with the top of the strip touching the mark. Check its position with a spirit level.
Good to know: depending on the nature of your wall, use concrete spikes or plasterboard screws. Do not drive them in as far as possible so that you can remove them more easily later, but enough so that the strip does not move.
Attach a vertical batten
Do the same for verticality.
– From the bathroom corner, mark the wall at a distance of one tile plus two braces.
– Place and fasten a second strip perpendicular to the first.
4. Glue and install the first tiles
– Using your notched spatula (or notched comb) and tile adhesive, glue the wall to an area of four tiles.
– Glue the back of the first tile. Place it at the intersection of the two tiles. Press firmly, and tap gently with the mallet.
– Continue with the adjacent tiles.
Tap gently with the mallet and the tiling bat from two tiles to two tiles.
Caution: Always remember to space the tiles with a spacer on each side.
5. Lay the next rows of bathroom tiles
– Continue laying the tiles in a row, starting from the vertical strip and working your way up.
– Always remember to reposition the tiles with the mallet and tile bat.
– Next, lay the perimeter tile:
◦ between the floor and the cleat;
◦ between the wall and the cleat.
6. Make your tile cuts
You’ll likely need to cut tiles to size to finish laying your tile.
– For a straight cut, use a tile cutter.
– For a corner cut, use an electric tile cutter.
– For a round-cut, use a point and parrot cutter.
7. Grout your bathroom tiles
Twenty-four hours after tiling, you can start grouting.
– Prepare your tile grout and fill the gaps between the tiles on a surface of 2 m².
– Spread with a rubber squeegee. Use diagonal strokes to avoid digging the joints.
Good to know: the joint will be drooling on your tiles at this stage.
– When the product begins to harden, wipe with dry cloths, then with a damp sponge frequently rinsed with clean water.
– After a few minutes, wipe again with dry cloths.
– Let dry for 48 hours.
– Finally, clean again with a damp sponge.
Materials needed to install bathroom tiles
Ready to use tile adhesive
Sponge + Cloth
Spatula for grouting