How to Prep A Bathroom for Tiling

tiling bathroom

Believe it or not, a bathroom renovation can provide just as much satisfaction as a full home renovation! Bathrooms are, by far, the most complex room of a home; they require the most thought, and preparation, and have the ability to set the style tone for an entire house. For these reasons, bathroom renovations are incredibly popular; not only in Perth but across the country.

If you’ve been watching too much of The Block or House Rules, then it’s understandable that you may have caught the renovation bug, and with things only now just starting to get back to normal post-COVID-19, now is the perfect time to sink your teeth into a bathroom renovation project.

Ross’s Discount Home Centre is the home of all-things-renovation, including bathrooms! We have everything needed to complete a new bathroom, from grout and tiles to the tapware, fixtures and accessories. We also have a team of very experienced staff, many of which have construction backgrounds, including tiling.

So today, we are going to use the expertise of our staff to explain the process and steps involved in prepping a bathroom for tiling – or your tiler. And of course, don’t forget, you will find a wide range of the latest in tile trends right here, at Ross’s Discount Home Centre!

Step One: Remove Old Bathroom

Note: if you are relocating your bathroom or building a new bathroom, you can skip this step and move on to step 2.

The first step in prepping a bathroom for tiling is, of course, to remove the old bathroom, and this starts by calling in the plumber to disconnect existing fixtures. With the fixtures disconnected, the fun can begin. But don’t just go at it with a sledgehammer. Be methodical in your demolition and work in the reverse order of installation.

Remove old fixtures and fittings such as the shower screen, bathroom accessories, vanity, toilet, etc. Then move on to removing window and door architraves. You should be left with an empty bathroom stripped down to the tiles.

If you’re replacing the ceiling, take a small sledgehammer or hammer to the cornice. Hit it in the centre around the entire parameter of the room to split the cornice from the ceiling.

Now, you can grab that sledgehammer and go at it. But don’t go crazy. You don’t want to destroy the studs and framework – create a hole just large enough to give you enough leverage to pull the tiles and sheeting from the studs by hand.

Carefully remove all existing tiles and sheeting from the walls and the ceiling, if applicable. You should be left with a very empty looking space.

All that remains is the bedding. It’s totally up to you if you want to tile over existing bedding or remove and replace it. If you have any concerns about a leak, then you can re-waterproof over the top of the existing bedding. However, be mindful that tiling over tiles means the floor will be raised higher than usual, and it will be an obvious “tile over tile” job. For the best result, it’s best to remove the existing bedding and start over – this is also essential if you are moving the plumbing and fixtures to new locations.

Step Two: Plumbing & Electrical

With a bare room that consists only of the framework, the next step is to call in the plumber and electrician. If you’re building a new bathroom or you’re moving the location of existing fixtures, the plumber will need to install new pipes and drains. The plumber will also fit the tapware body at this stage, prior to the walls being sheeted.

It’s a similar case with electrical work. For new bathrooms and bathroom renovations where lighting and outlets are being moved, the electrician will need to install new wiring before the walls and ceiling are sheeted.

Step Three: Sheet the Floor

Once the plumber and electrician have finished their installations, the floors, walls and ceiling can be sheeted. Start with the floor.

For a bathroom floor, you’ll want to use 8mm Fibre Cement Tile Underlay.

Install the Fibre Cement board to cover the entire floor surface as per the manufacture’s guidelines. Try to eliminate the number of joins.

Step Four: Sheet and Set the Walls and Ceiling

Once the floor is sheeted, move your attention to the walls and ceilings. Now, if you’re insulating your walls, don’t forget to add the insulation before sheeting the walls! This is a rookie move I’m guilty of making!

For bathroom walls, you’ll want to use a water-resistant (WR) plasterboard such as Gyprock Aquachek.

Use an acrylic stud adhesive and screws to fix the plasterboard to the studs. Again, you want to minimise the number of joins in the sheets, so purchase sheets at sizes to fit your space.

For the ceiling, you’ll also want to use a water-resistant (WR) plasterboard such as Gyprock Aquachek.

The ceiling and walls are then set and ready for painting and tiling.

Step Five: Frame the Windows & Doors

Next, turn your attention to the window and door. The tiles need to be laid to bud up to the architraves, so they need to be installed prior to tiling.

Regarding the window, you have options here. You don’t have to add architraves around the window. In fact, it’s more on-trend not to. The fashionable thing to do today is to tile inside the reveals and forgo architraves on the window. However, for this to be feasible, the window needs a 20-25mm (minimum) gap between the frame and the removal. This gap is required to install the Fibre Cement board, then the grout and then the tile. If the window has a 15-20mm gap, tiling the reveal is still an option; instead of using Fibre Cement board, the tiles are applied directly to the reveal with Sika tile adhesive.

If you have a gap of <15mm between your window frame and reveal, then architraves are your only option for a professional finish.

Tip: In the case that you choose to have architraves around your window, you will want to ensure the timber is 15-18mm thick, so the tiles don’t sit proud of the timber.

You can apply the above tip to the architraves around the inside of the door to ensure the tiles sit flush with the timber once installed.

Step Six: Screed the Floor

The next step in the process is the screed the floor to create the bedding. Now, there is much debate as to whether you waterproof before (under) or after (over) the screed. According to the Australian Standard 3740-2010 (with Amendment 1 2012), both options are accepted. However, there are pros and cons to each.

If you have the time, it is best to do this after the screeding because the screen is then always kept dry, and won’t leave your bathroom with extra moister or any musky smells. These are the reasons why we advise screening before waterproofing.

So, let’s talk screed. Personally, I think this is a job best left to the tiller because they understand how they will tile the bathroom and where the fall needs to be. You can screen the entire bathroom floor and have fallen in the shower, or you can only screen the shower, which rases only this part of the bathroom floor. Either option works, if you intend to install a frameless shower screen, then Australian Standard 3740-2010 state that a full floor waterproofing system or 1.5m radius from the showerhead is required. Moreover, screeding the entire floor to create fall in the shower is the more common option.

Step Seven: Waterproof over Bedding

As mentioned above, I believe it’s better to waterproof over the bedding rather than the other way around, but both options meet Australian Standards.

Waterproofing is the most important aspect of a bathroom. Get this wrong, and the end result can be disastrous. Hence, it certainly pays to have a qualified waterproofer – who hold a waterproofing licence – to complete this aspect of the bathroom. And, if you’re going through Council, then the waterproofer will also need to supply a Form 16 to certify waterproofing.

To find out more about waterproofing regulations, visit and

Step Eight: Shop for Tiles!

Finally, you can shop for tiles, if you haven’t already. Ideally, you should search for your tiles before step one, and have them all ready and lined up in time for step 8.

If your still undecided on your tile selection then consider the following tips:

  • Choose a neutral white tile for the walls. White tiles are timeless; they will never date or age and will provide a bright bathroom. You can never go wrong with a 600x300mm white wall tile such as our White Wall Tile (Rectified) in Gloss or Matt finish.
  • Choose no more than three tiles for a bathroom. Two tiles; floor and wall tiles, are standard but it is also common to throw in a third feature wall tile.
  • Choose only one feature tile. You don’t want tiles competing for attention. If you are going to use a feature tile, choose only one and have your other tiles be subtle or void of patterns. View our range of feature tiles here.
  • Consider VJ Board. If you’re eyeing off an expensive feature tile that pushes you over budget, installing VJ board on other walls is a contemporary cost-effective solution to reduce your budget to allow for more expensive tiles.
  • Tile to the ceiling. For a contemporary finish, tile floor to ceiling and opt for a square-set ceiling with no cornice. If nowhere else, apply this tip to the shower.
  • Choose large tiles for the shower. Try and avoid small feature tiles in the shower. Such tiles require a lot of grout which means a lot more cleaning and maintenance.
  • Consider how the tiles will be laid. Give thought to how you want the tiles laid; what pattern? And be sure not to go crazy here. You don’t want multiple tile patterns competing with one another.

Shop For Tiles Now


If you thought renovating a bathroom is easy, you’re wrong! As you can see from the process outlined above, a bathroom renovation is complex. Simply getting a bathroom ready for tiling requires precise steps, which must be followed in the correct order.

First, you remove the old bathroom and set up any new framework required. You must then call your electrician to install new wiring and a plumber to install tapware and drains before you can sheet the floor and walls. Once the walls and ceiling have been sheeted and set, you need to turn your attention to the window treatment and add architraves, if desired. Only then, can you look at screeding and waterproofing the room, so it is ready for tiling.

Whether you need wall tiles, floor tiles, feature tiles or all bathroom tiles, you will find just what you’re looking for and at unbeatable prices, here at Ross’s Discount Home Centre. We have the largest range of tiles in Perth, all in stock, and all ready for immediate dispatch.

Complete your new bathroom with help from Ross’s Discount Home Centre and boast in the savings.

Come and visit our showroom at 57 James Street Guildford, or click here to view our entire tile range online (and take advantage of our free Perth Metro shipping on all orders!).

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