DIY – How to Tile the Bathroom Floor and Shower

There’s something about a tile bathroom. Tile looks elegant and sophisticated while at the same time being pretty easy to care for.

If you’ve long wanted a tile bathroom, there’s good news. Learning how to tile bathroom and shower isn’t that difficult.

Sure, there’s a lot of work involved in tiling a bathroom floor and shower. But once you learn the basics, the project should sail right along.

Here’s how to tile bathroom and shower floors and walls so that you can have the bath of your dreams.

How to Tile Bathroom and Shower – Choosing the TIle

The first step when tiling a bathroom floor and shower is to pick out the tile. That might seem pretty simple, but there are a few things to keep in mind:

  • Tile material/type
  • Tile size
  • Tile color


First up, you want to choose the kind of tile. Tile can be made of stone, glass, ceramic or porcelain.

Tile materials vary regarding price and durability. Ceramic and porcelain tiles tend to be the least expensive, while stone tile can get pretty pricey.

All in all, each type of tile is pretty durable, but there are some differences. For example, according to the Washingtonian, if you chip a ceramic tile, it’s not the end of the world, but the chip will be more visible than if you were to chip a porcelain tile.

Another thing to consider when picking out tile is the size. The bigger the tiles, the less time you’ll spend on the project.

But don’t pick big tiles just so that you’ll spend less time DIY-ing. Smaller tiles are a better fit in some places, such as if there are any curved surfaces.

You might choose different size tiles for different areas of the bathroom. For example, you might select 12″ square tiles or even 12″ by 24″ tiles for the flooring and smaller “subway” tiles for the walls of the shower.

Finally, the last thing to consider is tile color. Do you want a bright, white sparkling bathroom floor and shower or are you going for a moodier look?

You might also choose multiple colors, such as contrasting black and white or a range of blues.

How to Tile a Bathroom Floor – Preparation

According to Lowes, preparation is the most crucial step when you are tiling your bathroom floor. If you mess up, there is a chance that the floor will crack or sink under the weight of the tile.

We’re not saying that to scare you away from the project. We’re saying it to hammer home the importance of taking prep work seriously.

That all said, here’s what to do to prepare your bathroom floor for tile properly.


  • Ventilate the room. Open a window, turn on a fan, wear a dust mask. Things are about to get dusty.
  • Remove the old tile. If the bathroom floor is already tiled, you’ll need to take that off. Use a hammer and chisel to chip away the tile — jam the chisel under one tile and pound away on it with the hammer.
  • Scrape away any remaining mortar. You’ll want to use a floor scraper for this.


    1. Fix up the subfloor, if necessary. The fixes you’ll make depend on the type of subflooring you have. If you have mortar or concrete, you might need to repair cracks, and if you have a wooden subfloor, some of the wood might need replacing.


  • Install a tile membrane. The tile membrane gives your tile floor room to expand and protects the subfloor. Roll the membrane across the floor.


  1. Cover the floor entirely with the membrane, then cut away any excess at the edges. Move the membrane out of the way.
  2. Apply a layer of thinset mortar to the subfloor. Mix the mortar according to package directions. Use the flat side of a trowel to spread the mortar, then the notched side to comb it.
  3. Lay the membrane on top of the mortar. Roll the membrane out on top of the mortar, using a wooden float to press it down.
  4. Mark the subfloor. Use a chalk line to make a line down the middle of the room both horizontally and vertically. These lines will help you out when you’re putting down the tile.

How to Bathroom Floor Tile – Laying the Tile

Once you’ve got the subfloor prepped, it’s time to start on the actual tiling project. Here’s how to tile bathroom and shower floors.


  • Mix the thinset mortar in a bucket as recommended on the package.
  • Spread the mortar into a 3 foot by 3-foot area, starting at the intersection of the marks you made. Don’t cover the lines with the mortar.


    1. Comb the mortar with the notched end of the trowel. Go in one direction, in a straight line. Scrape away any excess mortar.
    2. Put down the first tile. Lay it starting at the intersection of the mark lines. When laying the tile, push and turn it slightly so that it sets in the mortar.
    3. Put tile spaces on the corners of the tile. The spacers will help you avoid laying the tiles too close to each other.
    4. Continue to lay tile until the 3 by 3-foot section is covered. Level the tile with a rubber mallet.


  • Repeat the process with the remaining sections of the floor. Let the tile and mortar dry for at least 24 hours.
  • Remove the spaces between the tiles and get ready to grout.


    1. Mix the grout. You want a paste-like thickness. You may need to use distilled water, depending on the quality of your tap water.


  • Spread the grout into the joints. Smooth away any excess.
  • Let the grout dry. You’ll want to wait for at least 20 minutes or the amount of time listed on the packaging.
  • Clean away excess grout with a wet sponge.
  • Give the grout a few weeks to cure, then seal it.


How to Tile Bathroom Wall

Tiling a bathroom or shower wall is very similar to tiling the floor. The big difference is that you’re working vertically, instead of horizontally.


  • Attach a piece of wood to the wall, just above the top edge of the tile. The board will help keep the tile in place and level as you work. Note that you’re starting with the second row of tiles on the wall, not the very bottom row, as you’ll most likely need to cut those to fit.


    1. Mix your thinset mortar and apply to the wall in a thin layer. Use the notched end of your trowel to comb it in one direction.


  • Lay one piece of tile in the mortar, then apply spacers to each corner.
  • Lay the rest of the tile in the row. You might need to cut the tile to fit at the end of the row.
  • Repeat the process with the next row of tiles, until the entire wall is covered.


  1. Remove the wooden bar and install the last row of tiles. Depending on the size of the tiles, you might need to trim them. Leave about 1/4 inch of space along the bottom for expansion.
  2. Let the mortar set for 24 hours. Remove the spacers and add the grout. Use the same process as you did on the bathroom floor.

Install Bathroom Tile – Tips for Success

Figuring out how to tile bathroom and shower floors and walls can be pretty intimidating. But these tips will help you succeed, no matter how inexperienced you are.

  • Tip 1: What you can’t see matters. The quality of the floor and wall beneath the tile is incredibly important. To make the tiling process easier for yourself, make sure the subfloor and wall are in great shape and are completely flat before you being.
  • Tip 2: Consistency is key. We’re talking about the consistency of your mortar and grout. Too thick or too thin and you’re in for a rough project.
  • Tip 3: Measure and mark twice, cut once. Use your reference marks and lines to help you lay the tile evenly. When it doubt, measure again.

Final Thoughts on How to Tile Bathroom and Shower

Tiling a bathroom floor and shower does take a bit of time and patience, but for plenty of DIY-ers, it’s worth the effort.

The one thing to remember when learning how to lay tile is that slow and steady often wins the race. You might want to finish the project and start using your bathroom, but it’s often best to take your time and to double check your work than to rush things.

Once you’ve figured out how to tile bathroom and shower floors and walls, you’ll have a new skill and a fresh new bathroom to show off.