Step-by-Step Guide to Tile a Bathroom Floor

Updating floors by either placing tile in a wet area that never had it, or by refreshing old tile for a new look is a great way to change the overall feel of a room. Knowing the proper steps to take to get to your new floor are essential to make it long lasting. Here, we will cover step-by-step what this bathroom needed for a new tile floor and helpful tips to get you on your way!

By the way, if you are tackling this DIY bathroom tile project as a part of a larger bathroom remodel or home renovation, make sure you check out our list of the best renovation projects that may increase your home’s value!



  • Schluter uncoupling membrane or cement backerboard (we used backerboard)
  • Thin set
  • Backerboard seam tape
  • Laser or chalk tape
  • Leveling System Project Pack (1/16 in. Leveling Clips and Wedges)




Step 1 – Removal and Demolition

To begin your floor tile project the floor will need to be free and clear of any obstructions. This includes vanities (unless you plan to reuse the cabinet), toilets, or anything that is attached to the floor.

bathroom with no tile

Step 2 – Subfloor

Our tile projects start with a wood subfloor. In cases like these, you can choose to either use the Schluter uncoupling membrane or cement backerboard (we went with cement backerboard in this project). Clear the floor of any debris and make sure it is secure to the floor joists by hammering in loose nail heads and fastening extra screws for security (no squeaks).


Step 3 – Backerboard Application

Start applying your backerboard with an application of thinset to the subfloor. Use your trowel to apply and comb an even layer of thinset to the subfloor. Work only in sections that you will be immediately covering with the backerboard. Also work your way out of the room to make sure you don’t walk over the fresh work. After completing the room, allow the thinset to cure according to the manufacturer’s instructions.


Step 4 – Tile Application

Start by taping the joints of the backerboard with backerboard seam tape before applying thinset to the floor. Also plan ahead for your tile pattern by doing a dry run of how you expect the floor to look. This can prevent awkward and thin cuts as you near walls or doorways. You can use a laser or chalk tape to assist in planning the layout. Once happy with your pattern, start tiling.

bathroom tile with backerboard

Similar to how the backboard was applied, only mix the appropriate amount of thinset and work in sections that will allow you time to work without drying out the thinset and be sure to work your way out of the room. Apply thinset to the floor and comb in an even pattern. Back butter your tiles before setting them on the floor and once applied use your leveling system and spacers to achieve an even and seamless pattern. Continue your pattern checking along the way that everything is in line.

butter tile bathroom

Allow the thinset to cure according to manufacturer instructions.

lay bathroom tile floor

Once you’ve laid the tile, you can prepare for grout (when you’re ready, check out our blog post on how to grout!)

After grout, here’s the finished product!

floor with grout

finished bathroom tile floor



Hammer & Handsaw

Hammer & Handsaw

Hey, we’re Joshua and Dejené. We’ve completed several home renovations and decided to share what we’ve learned in the process. Here you’ll find our favorite DIY projects, tutorials and home renovation stories.

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