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Community and Q&A

Laying Bathroom Tile

thegiz | Posted in General Questions on

Hi hope everyone is doing well. I’m looking to tile a small basement bathroom and entry way. I was thinking of using ceramic tile but the installation seems challenging since I never laid tile or have tile cutting tools. I could easily lay lvt but not sure how that would perform in a bathroom. It would be easiest installation. I saw something called snapstone which is floating porcelain tile but they don’t carry it at box store anymore. Did it fail as a product? Maybe installation is easier than I think for real tile. Is there premix that I can literally take out of the bucket and start setting tile? Excuse my dumb questions, I have never tiles before.

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  1. user-5946022 | | #1

    Use LVT. It is easy to install, somewhat flexible to less likely than hard tile to develop cracks, and there are plenty of options that are 100% waterproof.

    Much of the waterproof LVT is floating. I decided I did not want to risk moisture getting under the LVT and mold/fungus growing in what would be a dark and damp environment, so I selected a glue down LVT. Great product and you can get it in many patterns.

  2. Jon_R | | #2

    I'd just watch some youtube videos about laying tile. Only mistake I made was a little thin-set pushing upwards and not leaving room for grout.

  3. thegiz | | #3

    Can I use a liquid uncoupling membrane directly on concrete? It seems a bit easier than laying down sheeting. I also saw something called quictile which is a floating porcelin tile. Not sure how that would perform but again installation wouldn't require mortar.

  4. Expert Member
    BILL WICHERS | | #4

    Schulter's Ditra product goes pretty quick for setting tile, you might want to look into using that.


  5. GBA Editor
    Kiley Jacques | | #5

    Let me introduce you to expert tile setter Josh Oduin. Reading through his FHB articles will be informative.

  6. Expert Member
    NICK KEENAN | | #6

    If you want to do the shower I'd say that isn't a DIY project, at least not for a beginner. Floor? Maybe. If you're in a basement I'm assuming tile on concrete, that's a pretty forgiving surface. I've never found tile that difficult, you just need the ability to work reasonably precisely and to plan ahead. Oh, and carry heavy objects, everything having to do with tile is heavy.

    Planning ahead: you need to look at the space and figure out essentially where every tile is going to go before you start. It's amateurish to have small pieces of tile on the edges. It looks nicest to have the tile centered on hallways and doorways and around fixtures like toilets. It almost never happens that all of those things are possible at the same time so it's worth taking some time and figuring out where all the joints are going to lie. If you have a tricky spot, sometimes it's easiest to have two tiles meet at that spot so you can do two simpler cuts instead. This is where a pro can spend two minutes looking at a floor and know what he's going to do, and I might spend two hours with a chalk line and a pencil figuring it all out before I start.

    Typically in a bathroom you end up having to cut just about every tile and that's where you'll spend most of your time. You can rent a tile cutting saw for maybe $30/day. The best way to get a nice result is to plan your work so that as few as possible of the cut edges are visible -- take up the toilet and tile under it, put baseboards and cabinets in after the tile is done.

    Definitely watch some Youtube videos. Especially on grout. It can be tricky because it has a short window of working. You have to wait for it to set up, and the next thing you know it's too hard and you're scraping furiously to get the residue up before it hardens further.

  7. brian_wiley | | #7

    I’ve done both in our house: LVT in our full bath, and tile in our half-bath. The lvt performs well, even with a a 5-year old that loves to make tsunami-style waves in the tub.

    The half-bath was my first time setting tile. It came out well, and aside from the Laticrete epoxy grout, it was pretty stress-free. I would second Bill’s suggestion that Ditra would be good to check out. It was super helpful.

  8. thegiz | | #8

    I’m willing to attempt it, just wondering the definite pluses of real tile before I put my time and effort into it. Well I would assume more durable and waterproof. Probably better aesthetics, resale value is a non issue for me. Is LVT not even in close competition and does it matter if it is glue down or floating?

    1. brian_wiley | | #9

      I suppose it depends on what your priorities are. With the aforementioned 5-year old, lvt was a lot more forgiving in the event of a fall. The type we got was waterproof, even in a floating assembly. And with the floating assembly I could conceivably replace a single plank more easily than I could tile if need be.

      It’s also a lot warmer. Neither the tile or lvl have in-floor heat, and the tile feels much colder at all times of the year despite the bathrooms sharing a wall.

      It looks pretty good, too. It’s definitely not Italian marble, but as far as a bathroom surface goes, it’s decent.

      Also, it installed in less than an hour. Sometimes I forget how nice that part is.

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