Remove the Existing Outdated Vinyl and Design a New Look for Your Bathroom with Ceramic Floor Tiles

Update your bathroom with ceramic tiles. After removing the toilet, bathroom floor trim, and the old vinyl and adhesive, use a cardboard template and chalk lines to position a central design and grid for the field tile. Learn to mix and apply thin-set mortar, cut tiles to fit around walls and drains, and to grout and clean the finished floor.

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removing baseboard shoe molding
Step 1

Remove Existing Vinyl Flooring, Fixtures and Trim

Remove the toilet and baseboard shoe molding. Pull up the vinyl flooring from the bathroom floor and scrape up adhesive residue.

using a cardboard template
Step 2

Make a Template for the Central Design

Make a cardboard template sized to match the decorative ceramic tiles for the central design or "island" of special tile. Decide where the template looks best.

marking tile positions
Step 3

Outline the Island's Position and Mark a Grid

Mark the edges of the island template and field tile positions with chalk lines, spraying them with hair spray to preserve them while you work. Temporarily mark the edges of the center island with glued wood strips.

mixing mortar
Step 4

Mix and Apply Thin Set Mortar

Mix thin set mortar in a five gallon bucket using an electric drill with a mixing paddle. Apply the mortar with a notched trowel tipped up at a 45-degree angle to produce uniform rows or ridges of mortar.

setting island tiles
Step 5

Set Ceramic Tiles in Decorative Island

Set tiles into the mortar, press down firmly using a very slight twisting motion. Use tile spacers to keep the grout lines uniform and straight. Remove wood strips.

setting field tiles
Step 6

Set Full Field Tiles

Follow the same process for setting whole field tiles, working from the island outward toward the walls. Leave the tiles that require special cuts until the next step.

measuring edge tiles
Step 7

Mark and Cut Edge Tiles That Fit Against the Bathroom Walls

Use a wet saw to cut the edge tiles. Follow the video steps that demonstrate how to cut these tiles to precisely the right size.

using tile nippers
Step 8

Cut Tiles to Fit Around Door Casing and Toilet Drain

Use a template gauge to transfer intricate shapes like the door casing onto the tile. Make a cardboard template for the toilet drain. Make major cuts with the tile wet saw and cut tight corners and curves with tile nippers. Cement everything in place.

using a rubber grout float
Step 9

Grout the Tile Joints

Mix grout. Force the grout into the joints with a rubber grout float, then tilt the float to a 45-degree angle and draw it across the tile from corner to corner to avoid scooping grout from the joints.

cleaning tile
Step 10

Clean off Excess Grout and Shape Joints

Let the grout dry until firm to the touch. Using a damp sponge and light to moderate pressure, smooth the joints and clean the remaining grout and haze from the face of the tile. Re-install the toilet and wall trim.

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