Always choose non-slip ceramic tiles for bathrooms or other rooms where the floor is likely to get wet. Bathrooms can be tricky to tile because of the fixed objects like wash basins, WCs and plumbing that you need to fix tiles around. Often you will have to cut odd shapes from tiles so they fit snugly around the obstacles. The other problem is getting access to work in an all-too-often very small area.
Tile around the trickier areas after you have hung all the main field tiles. It’s a lot easier, and you’ll waste fewer tiles, if you take the time to cut some thin sheets of cardboard – empty cereal boxes are ideal – to exactly the same size as the tiles you are using. This way you can make an accurate template for each tile you need to cut. Where tiles have to fit around curved edges, use a cardboard template with ‘fingers’ cut along the edge. These can be pressed and creased against the obstacle and the creased, curved outline transferred to the tile. You will then have to nibble away at the tile with pincers.
Tiling around a thin-diameter water pipe is best achieved using two half tiles with matching curved notches cut in the edges so when the two halves are hung, the tiles fit appropriately spaced.
If you have a number of awkward shapes to tile around, you may wish to measure the distances between your bathroom fittings and transfer them onto a scale plan drawn on graph paper to work out how to make the most efficient use of your tiles.
Step by Step Instructions
1 Measure and mark
Use a card template to find the angle or curve and then transfer this to the tile using a water-soluble felt pen to indicate the area to be removed.
2 Score and cut
Score the line freehand – or, if you can, find a cup or plate edge that matches the curve so you can score around this. Then using the pincers – and wearing protective goggles – carefully nibble away at the ‘waste’ area.
3 Hang the tile
Where limited access makes spreading adhesive directly onto the wall difficult, especially at the edges against pipes and basins, ‘butter’ the back of the tile with the adhesive and a notched spreader and press it – never slide it – into position.
Don’t forget that you should always wear goggles when cutting or nipping tiles, as fragments can fly off in all directions.
In small enclosed areas like bathrooms, it is very important to have good ventilation when using tile adhesive and grout. If this is not possible, use an appropriate respiratory mask.
Disconnect power at the mains before tiling round electric sockets.
If you are tiling up to high ceilings, follow our safety advice on working on ladders.