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How Hard Is It to Tile a Bathroom Wall? (7 Challenges Explained!)

How Hard Is It to Tile a Bathroom Wall? (7 Challenges Explained!)


Some home DIY enthusiasts will tell you that tiling the bathroom wall is a piece of a cake, while most will claim it’s hard to do and often requires an expert. But how hard is it to tile a bathroom wall?

Tiling the bathroom wall has a few challenges: a lippage, hard-to-mix thinset, diagonal laying, perimeter tiling, and tile spacing. Furthermore, there is the risk of tile breakage, and the job can hurt your knees as you are likely to kneel for long.

The good thing about all these tiling challenges is that they are all fixable, and I’ll show you how. So, you no longer have to call a tile expert as the project is all DIY.

In addition to discussing the challenges and fixes, I’ll share a quick DIY guide on bathroom tile installation with you. That is to help you have an easy experience, unlike most people.

Here we go! 

How Hard Is It to Tile a Bathroom Wall? Challenges Vs. Fixes!

Here are seven most typical tiling challenges you may face in the bathroom and their applicable fixes:

1. Lippage

Most experts will tell you that having a good substrate is the key to an excellent tile layout. In that case, the substrate should be even to promote even tiling.

If you don’t have an even substrate, the chances are that adjoining tiles won’t align properly, what we call lippage. Sometimes, the tiles may even crack from lippage, which is likely to happen on the floor.

Fix

Before you can start laying your tiles, it’s good to sand the bathroom wall thoroughly and ensure there aren’t bumps or rough patches. You can use a backer board to even the bathroom walls and strengthen the substrate.

But if you notice lippage after installing the tiles, remove the tiles immediately and reinstall them properly. Just ensure you even the substrate this time around.

2. Diagonal Laying

If your bathroom space is small, you will likely want it to appear bigger, possibly by laying the tiles diagonal. The unfortunate bit with this is that it can be challenging as bathroom tiles are hard to cut diagonally.

Mark you, cutting the tiles diagonally is not the only issue as laying them is equally challenging.

Fix

You can achieve an excellent diagonal cut using the right wet tile saw, and that’s where the SKIL 7-inch Wet Tile Saw-3540-02 (View on Amazon) comes in.

This electric-powered wet tile saw not only cuts well, but it’s generally seamless to use. Overall, if you are using the tile cutter for the first time and aren’t getting great diagonal shapes, place the badly cut tiles at the corners.

should you fully tile a bathroom

3. Perimeter Tiling

While most novices face a challenge laying the tiles diagonally on the bathroom wall, others have a problem tiling around the perimeter. Again, this issue relates to not cutting the tiles correctly and using suitable shapes along the border.

Fix

Just like the above case (diagonal laying), consider cutting the tiles precisely using a wet tile saw and then place them keenly along the bathroom perimeter.    

4. Tile Spacing

No one wants wrongly spaced bathroom tiles, but sadly, it happens, especially if you are a novice.

Fix

Impose the tile-spacing distance using tile spacers like the TOP WAY Tile Leveling Spacers (View on Amazon).

These steel spacers come as a 20-piece pack which is enough for your bathroom space. Not only can you use them on the bathroom wall but the floor too.

5. Hard-To-Mix Thinset Mortar

There are so many cheap dry thinsets that save you money but are very hard to mix. So, you may end up spending so much time and effort, which can be frustrating.

Fix

Save yourself time and effort by getting a pre-mixed thinset like the SimpleSet Pre-Mixed Thinset Mortar 1 QT. As the name suggests, it’s simple to set. More importantly, it causes no mess and comes ready to use.

Alternatively:

Consider thinning the thinset mortar yourself. That’s important if you already have the thinset mortar. In that case, you’ll also need a bucket and water and then follow the steps below:

Step 1: Measure the water

Before making your mortar, one thing to know is how much water to use. Remember, thinset mortar usually hardens too quickly. However, you shouldn’t use much water.

The tip is to mix water and thinset in the manufacturer’s ratio.

Step 2: Add thinset to water

Pour the thinset into the bucket containing the water. Don’t mind if you do not get the correct amount as you can still add more thinset or water.

Step 3: Mix thinset with water

Mix the thinset thoroughly with water at a low speed using a drilling cord. Remember, you can still add more thinset or water until you get the correct consistency.

Once done mixing, let the mixture rest for a few minutes and remix it. It should not run or be too thick. If the consistency is right, go ahead with tiling your bathroom wall.

If you are looking for a good thinset mixer, consider getting the BOSCH GBM9-16 With D-Handle (View on Amazon). It is sturdy to serve its purpose best and generally comfortable to use.

When Tiling a Bathroom Where Do You Start

6. Tile Breakage

Bathroom tiles are pretty delicate. They can slip off your hands and hit the floor, shattering into pieces. The problem with this is that it can be costly.

Fix

Exercise extra caution when handling the tiles. You can even ask someone to help you, probably a friend. They can hand you the tiles as you place them.

7. Knee Pain

You cannot expect to stand throughout the tiling process. You may have to kneel at some point, especially when tiling the bottom of the bathroom wall.

The problem with kneeling too much is that it hurts your knee. You may start experiencing knee pain.

Fix

Protect your keens when kneeling using proper knee guards like NoCry Professional Knee Pad.

These knee guards feature heavy-duty foam and gel padding to offer your knees optimal cushioning. Plus, they’ve adjustable clips and durable straps for easy fitting.

How to Tile a Bathroom Wall with Large Tiles – The Process

After going through the challenges, you are most likely to encounter when tiling your bathroom wall, let’s see how you can have a hassle-free installation.

Requirements 

  • Tile adhesive
  • Tile adhesive spreader
  • Pencil
  • Tape measure
  • Tile spacer
  • Batten (or spirit level)
  • Grout tool
  • Tile grout

The Process

Step 1: Prepare Your Bathroom Wall

Before you can tile your bathroom wall, you need to ensure that the bathroom wall is well sanded.

If it needs straightening, you can use a backer board like the Tile Rite THB810 6mm Thermaboard. This backer board is waterproof and promise to reinforce your bathroom wall.

How Easy Is It to Tile a Bathroom Wall

Step 2: Decide on the Tiles’ Pattern

It’s vital that you decide how you want your bathroom wall tiles to look before fixing them. In that case, lay them down on a smooth surface and rearrange them as you would like them to appear on the wall.   

Step 3: Shape and Space Your Tiles

Use a wooden batten to gauge your tiles in a perfect shape. You should place the batten next to the tile rows you layered down earlier on the floor.

While at it, ensure you leave spaces in between the big tiles. The reason behind this process is to ensure that the batten is near the corner, which will mean you will use extra fuller tiles.

Step 4: Lay Down Your Tiles

Once you are satisfied with the pattern and how many fuller tiles you will use, you can slowly lay them down to the wall.

But before you do, you should first apply an adhesive or mortar thinset to your bathroom wall.

When laying the tiles, use a spirit level or wooden batten to ensure that the tiles are even. 

Later, you can remove them when the adhesive has dried completely.

Step 5: Cut The Tiles to Fit in Corners

Once you are done laying all the fuller tiles, you should use a tape measure to measure the distance left between the wall and the full tiles while still removing the spacer gap. 

Whatever the measurement is, measure the big tile and use a pencil to score a line. Once you are sure, cut the tile smoothly and start by laying the corner tiles from the bottom.

Step 6: Fill The Tile Spaces with Grout

Wait for the adhesive to dry before applying grout onto the spaces. And while at it, ensure you apply the grout evenly and remove excess using a grout-removing tool. It goes over the tile joints seamlessly, promising you a neat finish.

How Much Does It Cost to Install Tile in A Bathroom

People Also Ask

1. How Much Does It Cost to Install Tile in A Bathroom?

A standard 6×6 feet bathroom wall costs about $1,000 to tile. However, the cost may go up when you go for elegant tiles, and the bigger your bathroom space, the bigger the budget.

And, of course, expect to factor in the labor charges if you choose to hire someone instead of doing it yourself.

2. When Tiling a Bathroom Where Do You Start?

First, you should start by cleaning and flattening the bathroom wall. Then, lay the fuller tiles from one bottom corner going up.

If smaller corners are left untiled, cut the tiles diagonally and apply them gently and precisely. After that, apply the grout to obtain a brilliant finish.

3. How Easy Is It to Tile a Bathroom Wall?

Though tiling a bathroom wall is not an easy task, it can be simpler if your arm yourself with the right tools and know the process beforehand.

If this doesn’t sound good enough to you, you can hire a local professional to do it on your behalf. But remember, hiring someone will mean digging deeper into your pocket.

How Hard Is It to Tile a Bathroom Wall? Closing Remarks!

Generally, tiling a bathroom wall comes with its fair share of challenges. However, the tip is to be aware of the difficulties to either avoid them or fix the problem. Luckily for you, that’s what I’ve shared above!

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