DIY Network

How to Install Tile in a Soft Contemporary Bathroom

An outdated bathroom gets a tile makeover, soft contemporary style, with the help from DIY expert Amy Matthews.

More in Bathroom

outdated bathroom renovated in contemporary style
  • Time

    Several Weekends

  • Price Range

    $1,000 - $2,500

  • Difficulty

    Moderate to Hard


Step 1: Prep the Walls for the Tile

Insulate the outside walls (Image 1). If there is an adjoining room, insulation can be used on the inside walls as a sound barrier. If the insulation is wider than the spaces between the studs, it can be cut to size using a 2x4 as a guide and a utility knife.

Use a desiccant to consume any built-in moisture.

Staple polyethylene sheeting to the wall (Image 2) to cover the insulation and desiccant.

Step 2: Install the Hardibacker

Cut any holes in the cement board needed for plumbing before hanging the board on the wall.

Hang Hardibacker board by screwing 1-1/4" self-setting screws into the studs on the wall.

installing the hardibacker

Step 3: Install the Tile

Make any needed measurements and use a laser level to mark a starting line.
Batten board can be screwed to the wall as a base that will give an even, level surface to set the tile on. Set the tile (Image 1) on from there.

Mix thinset according to the directions, and wait until it's the consistency of peanut butter.

Use a 3/16" V-notch trowel to spread the thinset on the wall (Image 2). Hold the trowel at a consistent angle for even ridges.

Set the tile, starting at the batten board, with a slight twisting motion and set 1/8" spacers between the tile to get an even grout line. Wash the tile with a sponge when finished to remove any dust or excess thinset.

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  • Custom shower system (model: Round Corner Custom Shower 44 x 44/color: Cement/ base: Biscuit); shower door (Satin Nickel) from Oben USA Inc.