Tiling our bathroom wall was my second time installing tile and lets just say, I’m glad I don’t do it for a living. When I installed our kitchen backsplash, the grouting process was much easier as the tiles were larger then the mosaic tiles. It’s actually quite simple but very time consuming and messy. With that said, I’ve put together a picture tutorial of how I installed mosaic glass tile around our existing shower and adjoining wall.
Side Note: Be sure to check out this blog post, how to calculate square footage for a tiling project.
If you have not seen the before pictures of this bathroom, you may want to check them out! The prior bathroom was a 1970’s styled bath with a pink toilet, pink sink and enormous pink fiberglass sunken tub with pink and white surround tile. It was a hot mess!
I purchased premixed white thin-set mortar for ceramic and glass tile at Home Depot. You can buy the huge bag and mix it yourself but where I am a newbie at installing tile, I wanted it pre-mixed to ensure proper consistency.
Tiling a wall requires that you invest in a couple of tools that will make your life easier. I used a V notched trowel to spread the thin-set mortar on the wall and a float trowel to apply the grout. When tiling a wall, you can either apply the thin-set directly to the wall or apply to the back of your tile and then adhere the tile to the wall. I did both.
The key is to apply the mortar and use the notched end on an angle to remove some of the mortar. By using the trowel, you will ensure that the proper amount is left on the wall.
Tiling Mosaic Tile Bathroom Wall
I purchased 12 x 12 squares of mosaic glass tile at Lowes. This next step is pretty simple, measure the wall and then cut your tile sheets to fit. If you do not have a wet saw (to cut your tile) you may need to purchase tiling shears to cut the individual tiles to fit perfectly. I got lucky and everything fit perfectly.
RELATED: See our tiny green bathroom spa makeover
Then apply the mosaic tile to the wall and press firmly to ensure adhesion. Be sure to press in all the corners and sides as well. I apologize, some of these pictures of me tiling are not the best quality. The lighting is horrible in this bathroom.
For some of the smaller tiling pieces, I used the “back buttering” method to apply the thin set. You basically apply the thin set like you would butter a piece of bread. Then remove with the notched end of your trowel.
Then simply stick your tile to the wall.
This part of the tiling process is fairly easy. It’s the grouting and clean up that I found time consuming.
As you can see, I tiled around the shower and wrapped the mosaic tiles around the wall.
Don’t be scared if the thin-set comes through the creases of the mosaic mesh. Be sure to wipe it off though with a damp towel. Once it dries, it’s a nightmare to remove. Trust me, I know. Once you have all the tiles adhered to the wall, you need to wait 24 hours before you apply your grout.
I purchased pre-mixed bright white grout and basically applied some spots with my fingers and used a float trowel to spread the large areas. Be sure to work in small sections and wipe any excess grout off as you go.
DO NOT let it dry and think you will scrub it off the next day. Once it dries, it’s not easy to remove. The tiling directions on both the thin-set and grout are very easy to read and self explanatory.
Tiling Mosaic Tile Bathroom Wall
As you can see above, I am using my float trowel to apply the white grout.
Note, grout comes in “sand or sandless”. Basically, if you are applying grout to glass tile, you do not want sand in your grout as it will scratch the surface of your tile. I used my finger and the trowel to ensure that the grout was firmly pressed between each crease.
This part of the tiling process took me a few days working for 3 or 4 hours at a time. It was time consuming and messy but well worth the outcome in the end.
RELATED: How to hang glass shelves using Bingo Brackets (shelves below)
Tiling our bathroom wall and around our shower dramatically changed the look of the space. The total cost of this tiling project was under $350. I used 30 sheets of 12×12 mosaic tile pieces plus the cost of supplies.
Other projects in this bathroom:
Spring bathroom reveal
DIY Magazine Rack
I hope tiling a bathroom wall or any wall for that matter, seems less intimidating after this tutorial. It really is a fairly easy project but not one that can be done in a day. My suggestion if you are on the fence, just do it and stop thinking about it. You will be amazed at what tiling a wall will do for your space. The amount of character and modern glam that this tiling project added to our bathroom exceeded my expectations. Be sure to check out the full bathroom renovation reveal post to see the rest of the bathroom as well as our diy board and batten wainscoting tutorial.