2nd August 2018

Tiling A Wet Room: The Do’s and Don’ts

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Post by Wetroom Materials

How to Tile a Wet Room Floor

Wet room installation is something of a specialist skill. While there is no rocket science involved, it does require an appreciation of what must be done correctly and also what can go wrong, which is often picked up through experience. A correctly installed wetroom will last a lifetime, so making sure each stage of the process is done right is important in minimising any future costly issues.

Wet Room Tiles

Tiles are a popular choice of flooring for wetrooms; not only do they enhance the aesthetics of your bathroom, they are easy to maintain, provide practicality and can be installed on any floor build up. Tiles work well with your chosen drainage and waterproofing solutions, and in fact can even be incorporated into the gully design, like with our SharpDrain Square tile insert & panel drain. With so many styles, materials and textures to choose from, tiles are the best option for your wetroom.

Tiling a wetroom is one of the final stages of installation, but this isn’t a stage to cut corners – there are several factors you need to consider before laying tiles on the walls and floors. The most common cause of tiling issues in wet rooms is simply inexperience on the part of the installer.

Want some inspiration for your wet room tiles?

Wet Room Bathroom Tiling Trends 2023/24

tiles within a wet room gully drain

Issues Caused By Poor Tiling

Tiling a wet room improperly can lead to various issues and problems, both in terms of aesthetics and functionality. A wet room is a space that’s specifically designed to handle water, such as bathrooms and shower areas. It’s important that the floor of these rooms are watertight. When tiles are installed improperly, it can cause loads of issues within the residence:

You may experience some of the following if you’re wet room tiles are installed improperly:

  • Water Leakage: The waterproof feature of a wet room is its main attraction and if installed correctly will protect the fabrics of your building from damage.  However, in areas where there is no waterproofing, water could enter the floors and walls of the building, which can lead to water damage in nearby rooms or even structural damage. 
  • Mould and mildew growth: As is common with water leakage, mould and mildew can begin to grow. This can have serious health implications
  • Tile damage over time: Improperly installed tiles may crack over time, or in the case of water leakage; even dislodge! This leads to safety hazards and uneven surfaces which can become a tripping hazard

Not only does poor tiling look unattractive, it can be practically unsuitable, too. The cost of fixing a tiling disaster can be expensive because it usually means that the entire wet room installation is suspect and may need to be completely uninstalled and reinstalled.

The total installation costs can end up being roughly three times the original estimate; never mind the knock-on effect of the installation schedule for the builder or contractor and possible complaints to the architect who is blameless.


Wet Room Tiling Tips and Techniques and Advice

The ‘must do’ category is all about planning, preparation and using the correct tanking membrane and adhesive, and the application of these products prior to laying the tiles.

> Choosing The Right Type Of Wet Room Floor Tiles

A beautiful tiled finish will always be the perfect choice for any wet room – both walls and floor. The best tiles for a wet room depend on the style of wetroom you envisage, but you also need to keep in mind the suitability of the tiles for the job. For example, the tile selection must be compatible with the drainage style selected. 

Additionally, in areas prone to wetness, safety is paramount. Non-slip tiles are specifically designed for wet environments and feature textured surfaces to reduce slipperiness. These tiles provide peace of mind in shower areas and other high-moisture zones.

To ensure you make an informed choice, let’s explore various types of wet room tiles and factors to consider when deciding which is the best fit for your needs.

  • Ceramic Tiles for Wet Room Walls: Ceramic tiles are a popular choice for wet room walls due to their durability, water resistance, and range of colours, patterns, and sizes. However, they may not be the best choice for wet room floors because of their lack of slip resistance. If you opt for ceramic tiles on the floor, consider choosing those with a textured or anti-slip surface for enhanced safety.

*We don’t recommend gloss ceramic tiles for wet room floors as they are a slipping hazard*

  • Porcelain Floor Tiles: A Durable Option: Porcelain tiles are renowned for their durability and moisture resistance. They come in a wide variety of styles, including those that mimic the appearance of natural stone or wood. 
  • Natural Stone Floor Tiles: For an elegant and distinctive look, consider using natural stone tiles like marble, granite, limestone, slate or travertine in your wet room. But remember natural stone needs to be looked after.
  • Vinyl Flooring: Vinyl tiles or sheet flooring are budget-friendly options that are water-resistant and comfortable underfoot. They’re perfect for large areas like gyms and spas. They come in a wide array of designs, making it easy to find one that suits your style. While they may not offer the same upscale appearance as other tiles, they are practical, affordable, and provide a water-tight floor. If you are considering using vinyl in your wet room or walk-in shower, please ensure that you install the correct wet room drain/system as they differ from the kits suitable for tiles. 
  • Mosaic tiling is very popular and works perfectly well with conventional square ‘middle of the floor’ drainage. When using a linear drain, more thought has to be made in terms of what drain finishes are compatible with the fragile tile edges and grout – usually large format tiles work well with linear drain gullies.

When choosing the right wet room tiles for your space, consider the following factors:

Budget: Determine how much you’re willing to spend on tiles and installation. Some materials, like natural stone, can be more expensive than ceramics or vinyl.

Aesthetics: Choose a tile style, colour, and pattern that matches your design preferences and complements the overall look of your wet room.

Durability: Consider the tile’s ability to withstand water exposure, wear and tear, and cleaning chemicals. Porcelain and ceramic tiles are typically very durable.

Maintenance: Think about how easy it is to clean and maintain the tiles. Smaller tiles with more grout lines may require more effort to clean than larger tiles. Vinyl required significantly less maintenance than ceramic or stone.

Safety: For safety, especially in open shower areas, prioritise tiles with non-slip surfaces or add non-slip treatments to the tiles.

Installation: Depending on your DIY skills, construction budget, and the complexity of your wet room, some tile types may be easier to install than others. 

> Use The Correct Amount Of Tile Adhesive

Wet room floors require a 100% bed of adhesive; do not use the ‘dot and dab’ system. Small dabs at tile corners and centres does not suffice, as it will allow water to ingress beneath the tiles and will eventually cause problems.

how to add adhesive to a tile the right way and the wrong way

Source: howtospecialist.com

> Use The Right Type Of Tile Adhesive

It is also important to make sure that you use a good quality, flexible tile adhesive. The tile adhesive is important as it needs to be non-solvent and compatible with the membrane. A high-grade flexible adhesive is highly recommended

Use the LIP Wet Room Tile Adhesive – this specially formulated tile adhesive is designed to not degrade when submerged in water making it perfect for wet rooms. It is suitable for all tile types recommended for your wet room and is compatible with underfloor heating.

wet room lip adhesive for tiles

> Minimise Tile Cuts

Minimise tile cuts by careful placement of drainage grills – ideally plan the locations in advance so that they match well with the size and type of tile that has been selected. This will ensure minimal wastage and save money on the total cost of tiles.

> Consider Non-Slip Tiles

Wet rooms are obviously very much as the name announces. When tiles get wet, they can become slippy underfoot. Consider your type of user, will wet tiles cause a hazard for those using the wetroom? Use slip-proof tiles if people with reduced mobility, children or elderly people, will be using the wet room. Or, just use them anyway to be safe!

> Don’t Penetrate The Waterproofing Membrane

It is crucial to ensure no tile or other wet room components can penetrate the waterproofing membrane. Doing so will avoid leaks, which can damage the structural aspects of the property, causing dampness and rot.

View more information on wet room installation over on our installation guide resources.

The Tile Association Standard (BS5385) is a good source of advice on tiling wet locations.

non slip flooring tiles in a wet room swimming pool

Wet Room Installation Support

Try our Wetroom Installation Kit: composed of the key materials which are required for wet room foundation installations, providing you compatibility with our wet room kit and drains.

Our installation teams are trained in Denmark by the suppliers to ensure that every aspect of wet room installation is carried out to the highest professional standards. Our technical installation support team are on hand to provide advice and support throughout all installations.


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