Tiling a bathroom is a DIY job that anyone should be able to master if they want. You will need to know which tiles to buy and you will also need a few tools to hand. As the bathroom is an area that can get very wet, the right type of tile needs to be used. Your tiles will need to be vitreous or impervious to water to prevent damage. Porcelain tiles are a good choice. They can be coloured all the way through or simply glazed with the colour.
They are incredibly hard and are good for bathroom floors. Marble, granite, slate, and sandstone tiles are also great for floors and can also be used on walls, counters and back splashes. Floor tiles need to be hard-wearing so that they last, and also not too smooth to prevent people slipping up. Look for a tile with a coefficient of friction (COF) rating of at least 0.60, dry and wet. Quarry tiles can be used in wet areas, but they stain easily so may not be the best choice. A sealer will be required for natural stone tiles.
Wall tiles will also need to be vitreous or impervious but don’t need to be hard-wearing as no-one will be walking on them. If you have a small bathroom, small sized tiles will make it look bigger, and for a large bathroom you can use large tiles to reduce the overall impression of size. To order the right amount of tiles, you need to measure the length and width of the area to be tiled and multiply one by the other, then add at least 10 % to that total to allow for breakages etc. You will also need tile spacers and grout. Use sanded grout for porcelain, granite and other single fired tiles. A grout spreader will also be required.
It’s important to always use a waterproof tile adhesive for areas that will come into contact with water. You can usually buy these ready-mixed but some will require you to add water yourself. For flooring, choose a thinset mortar adhesive. On counter tops, it is usually OK to use mastic under and over the cement backer board. Get yourself an adhesive spreader to help spread the glue and a damp sponge to wipe away the excess. You will also need a tile cutter, tile saw, tile cutting jig and tile nibblers to cut your tiles to shape and a spirit level to make sure that your work is straight!
Whilst most items will need to be bought, borrowed or hired, there is something you can make yourself. A gauge stick will help you plot the position of the tiles on the wall and one can easily be made from a length of softwood. Lay several tiles next to the wood (adding in the spacers) and mark off the position of each tile along the stick. Use a spirit level to ensure that this is accurate. The gauge stick is now finished and can be used to set out the rows of tiles on each side of it. With the right tiles and tools, your bathroom project should be a success and actually quite enjoyable to do!