Installing Tile – Bathroom Tile Installation

Today, Anonymous writes in:

Dear Flooring Diva,

My husband and I want to install tile in our bathroom, but I’m not sure how to measure for it. I want to do it right, I don’t want to run out half way through the job.


Nobody likes running out in the middle of a job, especially once you get into the groove of installation going. I’m a big fan of the old adage measure twice and cut once. That said there a few things you should consider when measuring for tile. . .

Measuring in feet: Measure the width of your bathroom, using a steel measuring tape, and then measure the width. Write both of these numbers down. Then use a calculator to multiply the width times the length. For example if your bathroom is 5 ft wide and 8 ft long: 5 x 8 = 40. For cutting waste give yourself 10% for porcelain or ceramic and 20% for natural stone. 10% of 40 is 4, thus giving you 44 sf needed. 20% of 40 is 8, thus giving you 48 sf.

Measuring in inches: Use the same equation as before, multiply the length times the width, then divide by 144 to get the square footage. For example: 60 x 96 = 5760 / 144 = 40 sf. The same rule of 10 or 20% applies.

If you are doing a decorative border, add the linear feet together to figure out what you need. For this room you would need 5 + 5 + 8 + 8 = 26 lineal ft of boarder tiles. To make this math easier, then multiple by 12, to figure out how many inches of border tiles you need. 26 x 12 = 312. Then divide that number by the length in inches your border comes in. Let’s say our tiles were are 8″ in length. 312 / 8 = 39 border tiles. Once again give yourself 10% more for cutting waste. We’ll round up to 43 tiles for this example. If you are doing any patterns, ask your flooring professional which equation to use, or just check out the Daltile catalog, they have a huge selection of patterns to chose from and how much of each tile per 100sf. It’s a handy tool.

If you’ve never tiled before, I suggest giving yourself some extra to play with, some people just assume not taking out for the bathroom vanity will give them enough tile, but if you’re a novice and you’ve never cut tile before, you might appreciate the extra cushion. Besides that it’s always handy having extra tile around, just in case something happens later on down the road. I can’t tell you how many people over the years have come up to me in search of a tile they got a few years ago that isn’t made anymore. It’s not as easy finding a matching tile as you might think, trends come and go. Floor coverings are a fashion business. But for tile installation, consider a little extra help.

Thinking of doing something other than tile? Maybe you can do a small bathroom on the cheap instead?

Do you have questions about the selecting or the installation of: tile, carpet or wall treatments (window blinds, etc)? Then email me your tale of woe and perhaps I will be able to answer your questions right here at the Flooring Diva Blog!

(Also read up on: Step by Step on installing your new tile!)

(Also read up on: Wall Tile Patterns)

(Also read up on:Installing Granite Tile Countertops)

(Also read up on: What Are Heated Tiles?)

(Also read up on: Tile Installation Tools)