Tips for Getting Bathroom Tile Right the First Time

You have decided that you are going to tile your bathroom, either the floor or the surround for the shower or maybe both. However it can be really intimidating when thinking about all the things you need to do to make sure it looks right, is installed right and will it stand up over time. Tiling is a large undertaking, but if you do it right then the result will provide you with a bathroom you will proudly be showing off to all of your friends and family when they visit. By following, or at least taking into consideration, the following tips you will be able to completely tile your bathroom and be proud of the outcome.

Plan It Out

You might be thinking that you really only need to think about this if you purchased tile that has pattern to it, or is going to form a pattern on your file when it is finished. But really you will want to plan out the tile regardless of whether there is a pattern with the floor because you will need to cut around toilets or vanities or bathtubs. You will also need to accommodate for any vents or fixtures that stick out on your bathroom. This isn’t just about making sure the pattern lines up, but rather it is also very much so about making sure it will look right and the cuts will fit right when it is finished. If you are doing a dry lay out this is when you will want to place chalk lines on your floor or shower surround.

Double Check Tile Sizes

When planning out the room and how the tile will sit on the floor make sure you know the size of the tiles you are installing. Being off by even an inch can completely change the plan of your floor. Know the size of the tiles you are installing.

Lay Your Tile from Ceiling Down, or Center Out

If you have ever walked into a poorly tiled bathroom you might have noticed how the tile cuts may not look quite right, or might have tiny pieces in an odd spot. By starting in the center out, or ceiling down, you will ensure your tile has as many whole pieces as possible and it looks professionally done.

Mix the Mortar Smooth

When mixing your mortar do an initial mix and then let it stand for about ten minutes. Letting it stand will allow any dry clumps that were not previously mixed to absorb moisture. After this waiting period you should do a final mix and make sure it is completely smooth.

Create the Perfect Floor

You can make sure your floor is completely smooth by using a self-leveling compound. If you are planning to install a heated floor a compound allows you to easily set heating pads or tubes in. If your floor is not completely level your tile will be subject to cracking or shifting, so a self-leveling compound will save you a lot of time and money on a project like this if you have an older house where the floor might not be totally smooth.

Take out the Baseboard

If you install your tile floor without a baseboard present, and then reinstall the baseboard after, you can make your finished product look much more professional. By taking off the baseboard you will give yourself some extra room to install the tiles and when you put them back on your will definitely have a much more seamless look to your floor because there will not be a crack or an edge where the two meet.

Make Sure it is Straight

When you are starting to lay your tile make sure you have a level or board to put on the floor. Chalk lines can get lost once you lay grout, so if you have a board you know is absolutely level you can use it to ensure your line of tile is straight, too.

Slow the Drying Time

If this is your first, or maybe second time, tiling any area you might know that it seems like mortar dries way too fast for those who are not professionals. To give yourself a little more time you can do a couple things: first dampen the floor board before you put mortar on it. A damp floor will not suck the moisture out of mortar as quickly. You can also mix the mortar with a latex additive instead of water. This additive makes the mortar dry slower and also helps with adhesion of the tile to the floor.

Tiling a bathroom for a renovation is a big undertaking, but if you are willing to take on this task you will definitely have a room you can be proud of. If you do this task correct you can save a lot of time, headaches and also money, but you will have to make sure that you plan it out appropriately, have the right tools and make sure the small details are caught.


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