Doing Good Tile Work

Don't cut corners or skip steps when doing tile bathrooms. The details matter!

When it comes to DIY bathrooms, tiling your showers and baths is an incredibly satisfying job. The result of well executed tile work is a beautiful, functional shower and bath that will last for years to come. Of course, achieving these results requires careful and thorough prep work, the right materials, and a bit of artistic flair.

First, let’s begin with the basics: planning for your project. Before selecting your tile, decide how much surface area you’ll be tiling and make sure it’s within your budget. Do not skimp on tile. High quality tile will not only last longer, but looks more refined. Look for brands that use high-fired porcelain tile that meets the standards of the (ANSI) American National Standard Institute.

Preparing the area for tiling is important for proper adhesion and to ensure that the tile will not crack or shift. Make sure your walls are free of any dirt and dust, then thoroughly prime them with a bonding mixture before tiling. Next, lay down a tile substrate to add a protective layer and increase adhesion if you’re using a wooden surface. We prefer using Schluter Shower Systems (the orange stuff).

Once the walls are ready, you’re ready to tile. Installers often create a delicate and beautiful pattern using their tiles. To achieve a uniform pattern, you’ll need to take careful measurements and keep a tight grid with any thin set or grout lines. Opt for a non-slip tile, especially in showers, and remember to take your time with the placement. Many DIY’ers also make the mistake of not considering the trim.

It’s highly recommended to leave a few inches of space at the bottom of the tile pattern to accommodate a base trim.

Finally, grouting is the last step in the process. Follow the directions provided on the grout’s packaging, paying close attention to how it should be mixed and applied. Make sure to apply the grout within 5 minutes of mixing and to wet the tile beforehand to prevent the grout from drying too quickly. Allow the grout to properly cure before polishing, then seal the grout to protect it from water.

Tiling baths and showers can be a rewarding experience if done correctly. Quality tile, accurate measurements, and proper prep work are all key to ensuring the longevity and beauty of your tile. Once complete, you’ll be amazed at the beauty of your work and will be able to admire it for years.