A beginners guide to tiling a bathroom floor

Bathroom renovations are a sure fire way to increase the value of your home, but not everyone has the resources to tackle a complete gut job. Instead, small projects you can do yourself, like laying new floor tile, can go a long way in freshening up your space.

Although it’s relatively inexpensive, tiling is no small feat. It takes practice. Still, if you’re feeling adventurous, these tips will help you learn how to tile a bathroom floor in nine simple steps.

If You Fail to Plan, You’re Planning to Fail

It may not be the most fun or rewarding step, but planning is probably one of the most important steps to properly tiling your bathroom floor. Here are a few questions to ask yourself before you dive into your project:

  • What’s the square footage of the space?
  • How much tile will I need? You can calculate this by multiplying the length by the width of your room to get the total square footage.
  • How many tiles will need to be cut, and to what size?
  • Where’s the best place to lay the first tile?
  • Is the sub-flooring properly cut to fit the toilet and other fixtures?
  • Do you have enough mortar and grout? A 25-pound bag of dry grouting compound typically covers around 200 square feet.

Make sure you have everything ready to go before you start. Here’s a list of the tools & materials you’ll need:

  • Measuring tape
  • Jigsaw
  • Circular saw
  • Tile saw
  • Drill
  • Trowel
  • Bucket
  • Grout float
  • Sponge
  • Backer board and screws
  • Tile and spacers
  • Mortar and grout
  • Sealant

A typical bathroom floor installation can be completed in a single weekend. So gather your gear and let’s get started.

How to Tile a Bathroom Floor in 9 Easy Steps

Step 1: Measure the floor

Use your tape measure to determine how much grout, tile and backer board (which is commonly used as a tile base on plywood or subfloor) you’ll need to cover the space. It’s always wise to buy a little extra tile, just in case you make a mistake or some of the pieces get damaged.

Step 2: Cut sub-flooring

Lay your backer board first so the tile has something to hold on to. Using your circular saw, cut the backerboard into panels. Use ya jigsaw to cut out the pre-measured areas for the toilet and other fixtures.

Step 3: Attach sub-flooring

Use your drill and backer board screws to secure the sub-flooring. Space screws about 6 inches apart and be sure they’re laying flat against the floor.

Step 4: Test your layout

Before you start permanently attaching your tiles, practice laying them out on the floor first. Start at the edges and use as many full tiles as you can to cover as much floor as possible. Don’t forget to use your tile spacers. Now measure the tiles that need to be cut to size.

Step 5: Cut tiles

Using your tile saw, cut the pre-measured tiles to complete your bathroom floor. Remember: measure twice, cut once!

Step 6: Lay remaining tiles

Lay all the tiles down to be sure you’ve cut them and spaced them properly. Once you’re sure the design is ready, remove the tiles and prep the floor.

Step 7: Apply mortar

Using your notched trowel, apply a thin layer of mortar to small sections of the sub-floor. Lay one tile at a time using your spacers to hold them in place. Once all the tiles have been laid, wait 24 hours for the mortar to dry.

Step 8: Apply grout

Now that the mortar is dry, you can remove the spacers and apply the grout to fill the space between tiles. Before it sets, use a wet sponge to wipe away any excess so the floor is smooth and clean. It’s important to remove all the extra grout before it dries or it will leave your tile looking and feeling rough. Let the grout set for 24 hours before walking on your floor.

Step 9: Apply sealant

Time for the final touch! Make sure the grout is completely dry then add the grout sealer to protect it from staining, mold, and other damage.

That’s it! You’ve successfully learned how to tile a bathroom floor.