There’s a lot to cover when it comes to bathroom tiling. But if you’re new to renovating some of the technical terms may go over your head.
However, I am not gonna bore you with the regular procedure of laying the tiles. You can check out other articles on Bathroom tiling for it. This is the in-depth insight from a 25+ year experienced builder.
Bathroom Tiling: 7 Great Tips
So lets try and cover some of the things you need to know when doing bathroom tiling.
1. The Bedding (or Screed)
What is a sand and cement bed?
You will often hear this term when it comes to bathroom tiling, and it refers to the material that is placed under the floor tiles.
- It’s usually a mixture of 4 parts sand to 1 part cement
- It’s mixed up and placed over a bathroom floor in a bedding layer of approx. 30-50mm thick.
The bedding (also known as a screed) will have a fall or gradient from the door way and edges of the bathroom walls, back into the floor wastes to direct any water back into the drainage system.
2. The Floor Gradient
Without this gradient there is no place for the water to go.
This is often the reason there is sometimes a large step up (20-40mm) into a bathroom. It’s because the bathroom floor and the floor of the main house have been installed at the same level.
If this is the case, it’s the 30-40mm tile bed and a 5-8mm tile on top that is causing the step.
The only way to avoid this is to drop the floor down the thickness of the bed and tile in the bathroom area.
New Homes: Easy to Factor in During the Planning Stage
If you are building a new home you can factor it into the plan and have your “wet areas” lowered by 50mm.
Existing Homes: Can’t Always be Achieved Without Great Expense
If you have an existing concrete slab there is no way to get a level transition between your bathroom floor and house without having the concrete slab approx. 50mm lower.
In most cases the existing concrete slab would have to be jackhammered out.
This could be a consideration if you concrete was old and substandard, or needed to be removed for new drainage. If that was the case then this would be the perfect opportunity to lower the finished level of the concrete by 50mm.
The above also applies to timber floors.
The carpenters would have to put in extra time and cost to lower a timber floor.
But again, if the floor was being repaired or replaced you could also take the opportunity to lower the finished level (i.e. top of sheeting) by 50mm.
3. Under Tile Heating
Another consideration is under tile heating.
Each manufacturer of under tile heating may have different installation methods. For example, some companies may install the wire element “under” the screed bed, while others may want the product installed over the screed bed under glued under the tile.
Here is an video of the product we installed over the screed bed on one of our bathrooms.
4. Setting Out Your Tiles
Next thing to consider with your bathroom tiling is the set out.
It’s rare that you will ever get full tiles to work from corner to corner of a bathroom. There will usually be a cut tile on one wall or the other.
It’s critical at the set out stage with you tiler to discuss where these cuts will go and what will look the best. This is especially important when you have a tile with a pattern on it.
5. Finishing Tiles at the Edges
Another consideration is how your tiles will be finished at external corners of walls, window recesses or doorways.
One option is to install a mitred edge i.e. 45% cuts so that they meet on a point. Although not all tiles can be mitred due to the size of the tile, make of material and a few other varying factors.
Another option is tile trims. These come in various sizes, colours and materials. A tile trim gives a nice edge for the tile to finish up to and allows for the return tile around a corner to butt up neatly to the same edge.
Once wall and floor tiles are installed then grouting is next on the list.
I like to use coloured grouts as they look a little nicer than a standard sand and cement grout mix on the floor. But I use white for the walls. Mid-grey goes pretty well with most coloured tiles too.
And you can’t go wrong with a good quality mould resistant grout. It will make the tiles look fresh and clean for longer!
There are also different grout products for the walls and floors.
Generally the floors are more of a course sanded mixture. Whilst the walls are a much finer composition. You can also use additives to help prevent mould, but I recommend using the manufactures suggested product if you go this route.
Here is a good video tutorial around grout from Jeff at Home Repair Tutor.
7. Silicone Installation
One other finishing detail to factor in is silicone installation to all corner junctions of the walls, floor, windows and doors.
It’s important to note that the tiler should leave these junctions free from grout so that silicone can be installed as expansion joints. This will prevent unsightly cracking if grout was installed in these areas.
Here is a video demonstrating how to install silicone to these areas.
Once the bathroom tiling has been done you’re then ready to move onto Stage 4: Construction – Plumbing & Electrical fit off.
If you have any questions let me know – I’m always happy to help!
Enjoy your renovation.
All the best,