Tiling a bathroom wall requires the tiler to follow a specific process to create a neat-looking appearance. The tiler also needs to take steps to make sure that no water can seep through the tiles and into the wall.
Prepare a Bathroom Wall for Tiling
It’s best to cover bathroom walls with fiberboard before tiling. The fiberboard prevents water or steam from penetrating the tiles and damaging the wall behind them. This tile backing board can be found in hardware stores or through sites like eBay.
Create Reference Lines for Tiling
The best way to create a tiled bathroom wall that looks attractive is to start applying the tiles in the middle of the wall. This ensures that the pattern is symmetrical and prevents the possibility of crooked rows of tiles if the floor or walls aren’t quite level. Use a tape measure to find the middle point of the bathroom wall, then use a spirit level to draw a perfectly horizontal line across the entire length of the wall. Turn the spirit level to the other orientation and use it to draw a vertical line up the middle of the wall, from floor to ceiling. These lines will act as guides for laying the tiles.
Apply Tiles to a Bathroom Wall
Some tile adhesives come ready mixed while others need to be mixed prior to use. Mix up the adhesive, if necessary, and then apply it to a small area just below the middle of the horizontal reference line. Don’t use too much or the adhesive will take too long to dry and the tiles will slip out of place. A thin layer of tile adhesive will dry very quickly, so only apply it to one small area at a time.
Take the first bathroom tile and press it firmly into the tile adhesive. Move the tile around slightly to make sure the back of it is covered in adhesive, then line the tile’s edges up with the reference lines drawn in the last step. When the tile sticks to the adhesive, let go and quickly apply the next one. Keep going, working from the centre of the room to the outside, using tile spacers to maintain a consistent gap between tiles.
Cut Tiles to Size
It will probably be necessary to cut some of the tiles to make them fit into the strips left around the edges of the wall. Carefully mark the point where the cut needs to be, then use a tile saw to cut through the tile. Having a few spare tiles is useful because it’s easy to break bathroom tiles while cutting them to size.
Grout Bathroom Tiles
Grout fills in the gaps between tiles to prevent water from leaking through, and it creates a smooth finish. Once all the tiles are firmly in place, apply the grout using a rubber grout float, taking care to work it into all the cracks between the tiles. Wipe away the excess grout before it dries, as it will be very difficult to remove once it has hardened. Once the grout has dried completely, apply a sealer over the top of the grout to protect it from water damage.
Waterproof the Seams
Bathroom walls are often exposed to water, so their edges need to be sealed with silicone sealant to prevent water from leaking through. Seal the bottom of each wall, as well as any edges where the wall meets bathroom fixtures such as the basin, toilet, or bath, by slowly and steadily pulling the sealant gun along the seam. Run over the silicone sealant with a wet, gloved finger to remove any excess and achieve a smooth finish.
Tiling a bathroom wall is a job that requires care and attention, but it should be within the reach of many DIY enthusiasts. The extra waterproofing steps outlined in this process are important to protect the bathroom wall from water damage.