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Tips for Installing a Tile Floor in a Bathroom

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These tips for installing a tile floor in a bathroom will make your job much easier. 

Bathroom Makeover Update

It’s Week 2 of the One Room Challenge! I joined as a guest participant to give my bathroom a much needed makeover. 

I shared my plans for a Camp Wandawega/ Moonrise Kingdom inspired bathroom last week.  Last week, I left off with the demo. I tried to plan out the order of projects to minimize the time without a toilet in here.

We have another bathroom, but I don’t like sharing it. 

Installing a tile floor will be first, then installing the shiplap and getting it painted, and then we can install the toilet.

install a tile floor

Tips for Installing a Tile Floor in a Bathroom

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Supplies Needed:

Using Ditra for the Tile Installation Underlayment

laying ditra underlayment

The tile install went so smoothly. We used schluter ditra as an underlayment because I read that it was really easy to use versus cement backer board. It was so worth the extra cost because it really is the best underlayment for a tile floor. And it gets bonus points for being so easy to use!

Edited to add: We skipped the ditra in our entryway and I regret it. The tiles feel like they’re moving and the grout has started to crumble from the movement.

  1. Dry-fit the ditra underlayment.
  2. Use scissors to cut where necessary, like around the toilet and the vent.
  3. Use a trowel to apply a thin layer of unmodified mortar the subfloor.
  4. Place the ditra on top of the mortar. No need to wait for it to dry!
applying mortar below ditra

Laying Tile in the Bathroom

Before we could spread the mortar, we had to figure out the best placement for the tile. We used this tile suction cup to easily move the tile around and play with the placement. It makes moving large, heavy tiles easier to maneuver.

tile on ditra underlayment
  1. Spread a thin layer of mortar on top of the ditra.
  2. Use 1/8″ spacers to get a tiny grout lines.
  3. Start laying the tile. Large tile is so much easier to use than tiny tile! We placed all of the whole pieces first and then went back to add the smaller pieces to fill the gaps.
  4. Instead of a tile saw, we used a tile cutter and it was so much easier to use! I highly recommend it! Better cuts and much less mess!

By the way, large tile is my favorite tile to install because it’s the easiest tile to install. Fewer cuts, less grout, fewer tiles to buy!

Cutting Around the Toilet

how we tiled around the toilet pipe

We left a square undone around the toilet. It makes no sense to painstakingly cut tile into a circle when it’s not going to show. Our toilet will sit on the tile and not the unfinished portion, so it will be level.

Grouting the Tile

We chose a medium gray grout for the tile, but I would recommend a darker color in a bathroom. Keep in mind that grout dries lighter. We used the same tile in our entryway and I used black grout, which I like a lot more!

  1. When the mortar is dry, remove the spacers and apply the grout to the tile using a trowel.
  2. Only work for 10 minutes before removing the excess grout with a sponge.
  3. Wipe until the tile is clean, changing the water as many times as necessary (dark colors may take longer.)
  4. Continue until you’re finished with the entire floor.
  5. Leftover haze can be removed with a microfiber cloth and vinegar.
  6. When the grout is dry, be sure to seal it.
tiling a floor with spacers

You can read more about the last disastrous tile experience that I learned so much from.

tile floor and green shiplap

The tile and the green together make my heart sing.

seamless toilet on new tile floor
installing tile floor in a bathroom
gray tile floor in bathroom

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  1. I totally changed my mind. Keep it white. And are you opposed to two color doors – green on innate, gray on outside? I think the gray is so pretty but you’ve said you weren’t crazy about it.

    1. So I’m keeping the window white. I don’t want it to stand out. The door, I’m still unsure of. We have to put it back on still. Kevin sanded the end down for me a bit because it sticks in the summer.

  2. Oh my! You guys are getting soooo much done so early on! Wow! The tile looks amazing and that green shiplap is definitely a showstopper. Tough calls on those choices, but I think you are right to keep the window white. Can’t wait to see how it turns out! Oh, and that toilet is a mom’s dream;)

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