How to Install Tile on a Bathroom Floor

before and after bathroom remodel

In this post, we will show you the steps for installing bathroom floor tile. We spent a few months renovating a house down the street for my mother. The bathroom was in poor condition. The tile floor was not completed and thus you could see the subfloor where the tile ended next to the wall. So we completely demolished the bathroom, installed a new shower base, installed subway tile in the shower, and installed new floor tile on the bathroom floor.

Materials:

    • Backer board
    • Circular saw (to cut backer board)
    • Joint tape
    • Thin-set
    • putty knife
    • Tile
    • Tile saw (be sure the tile saw is large enough to cut the size of your tile)
    • Electric drill
    • Mixing paddle that attaches to drill
    • spacers
    • Mortar
    • Trowel
    • Large sponge
    • 2 buckets (one for mixing thin-set and mortar and one for a water bucket)
    • Rubber grout float
    • Grout (we used Polyblend Sanded grout – color: Cape Gray).

Preparing the Service

We had to do some demo work. My sister Mary Beth helped us with this part. We used a sledgehammer, shovel, and bucket to break up the original tile. This part of the project is quite dusty and messy. We suggest wearing a mask due to all the dust.

Step 1 – Installing Backer Board

Install the backer board to provide stability and strength. Also, notice that we moved the floor vent. It made more sense for this not to be in the middle of the room.

Start in the back corner. Measure and then cut the backer board to fit each section of the floor. This takes some time because you will need to cut around the toilet drain, walls, shower/tub, floor vents, etc.

Then glue each piece of backer board to the floor.

Also, tape and mix thin-set in a bucket using an electric drill and mixing paddle; use a putty knife and apply a thin coat of thin-set on the seams.

Step 2 – Measuring and Finding the Center

We measured and found the center so we would know how the tile would be spaced.

Step 3 – Mix thin set

Mix thin-set in a bucket using an electric drill and mixing paddle.

Step 4 – Cutting and laying tile

Start in the back corner. Measure and cut each tile as needed. Be sure to square with the wall of the room. We used 12 x 24-inch tiles from Home Depot. We used Classico Villa 12 in. x 24 in. glazed porcelain floor and wall tile from Home Depot.

Using a notched trowel, apply an even layer of thin-set on the floor and then place a tile on the thin-set.

In addition, use a level to check the levelness of the tile compared to the other tiles.

Carefully (without any pressure) wipe down each tile to remove any thin-set on the surface of the tile. It is important to remove all thin-set residue before it hardens.

Step 5 – Repeat the process of laying time using spacers as you go. 

As needed, cut tiles using a tile cutter to fit around the walls, shower base, toilet drain, and around the cabinet or around the sink fixtures (if cabinets not yet installed).

Once all the tiles have been installed, allow drying for 48 hours (or follow the thin-set product directions for dry time).

Don’t walk on the tile until completely dry.

Step 6 – Mix grout (you can mix sealer in the grout or seal after the tile is laid and dried).

We used Polyblend Sanded grout (color: Cape Gray).

Once the thin-set is completely dry, remove the spacers.

Mix the grout using the electric drill and mixing paddle according to the product directions.

Step 7 – Grout tile

Starting in the back corner of the bathroom, use a rubber grout float to spread the grout over the tiles. Be sure to fill in all the cracks between the tiles and next to the wall.

Carefully wipe down each tile with a large wet sponge. Do not over wipe because you don’t want to remove the grout between the tiles.

Complete this grout process and then allow drying time.

Step 8 – Wipe down tiles

Once the grout begins to dry – maybe 30 minutes to an hour, wipe down the tiles again. Be sure not to walk on any of the grout lines.

Clean up and allow time to dry, typically 24 to 48 hours (follow the product recommendations).

Step 9– Seal grout (if did not put sealer in the grout)

Mop or spray grout with sealant. Follow the product directions.

Enjoy your new tile!

Let us know if you have any questions or what you think about how to install bathroom floor tile by posting below.

Don’t forget to Pin this for future reference.

Pinterest Pin how to tile a bathroom floor

Stay tuned for future posts on this bathroom renovation project.

10 Comments

  1. Gayle on 09/21/2019 at 5:19 PM

    Impressive!

  2. Jeanne on 09/22/2019 at 3:25 AM

    You guys do good work. I always learn something.

  3. Samantha on 09/23/2019 at 9:21 PM

    Pretty tile. Is the grout a light or dark gray?

    • Suzanne on 09/24/2019 at 9:16 PM

      Hey Samantha,

      The tile is light gray and the grout is sort of a medium gray. I hope that helps.

      Thanks for reading our blog!

      Suzanne

  4. Karen on 09/26/2019 at 7:42 AM

    It is required to put the layer of wonderlite board on the floor before tiling?

    • Suzanne on 09/26/2019 at 8:05 AM

      Hey Karen,

      Some say you do not; however, we recommend using some type of backer board to ensure the bonding of the tile and add stability. I hope this helps. Let me know if you have any more questions. Thanks for reading our blog!

      Suzanne

      • Lois on 09/11/2020 at 12:03 AM

        I am think about doing both of my bathroom. However, I’m little afraid, never did this before. How are you cutting the door and other nooks and around toilet.
        You reply will be appreciated!

        • Suzanne on 09/11/2020 at 7:56 AM

          Lois,
          A few things to remember…
          Make sure your floor is level…no major dips.
          Remove the toilet.
          have the right equipment …rent a wet tile cutter.
          Take your time.
          Get extra because you will waste several.

          We had to be very strategic when cutting around the toilet, doors, vents, etc.
          Cutting around the toilet is somewhat forgiving because the toilet base will cover most of this. We just used the tile cutter to cut out a section and then pieced it with a smaller piece we cut (maybe even used a scrap). Look closely at the picture and you can see that.

          We had room under the door trim to slide the tile; however, we still had to cut these pieces. We used the tile saw and were able to cut small square sections out to fit under the door trim. Be prepared to ruin several pieces of tile because it requires a little trial and error.

          Notice in the picture that there are two pieces around the floor vent. We used the tile saw to cut a square/rectangle out of each tile…sort of like making puzzle pieces.

          I hope this helps! Let me know how it goes.
          Suzanne

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