Adding tile wainscoting is a perfect way to change the look of a bathroom. Plus, tiling a wall is much easier than most other tile jobs. Unlike floors or showers, tile wainscoting doesn’t have to withstand foot traffic or daily soaking. So you can set the tile directly over your existing walls using premixed mastic adhesive—no backer board, waterproofing or hard-to-mix adhesive needed! Here’s everything you need to know to get started adding subway tile to your remodel.
Plan the layout
Before starting any tile project, it’s important to check that the floor is level and the walls are flat. Use a level and straightedge to see if the floor is level. If the floor slopes, find the lowest point and mark it. Then hold the straightedge against the walls in the areas you plan to tile. If you find low areas, fill them with setting-type compound to flatten the walls before you start tiling.
Another thing to check at this stage is how your cap tile will look when it butts into your window and door moldings. If the cap protrudes past the moldings, one fix is to add a strip of matching wood, deep enough to hide the end of the cap tile, around the moldings.
Arrange rows of tile on the floor, including the spacers. Shift the rows left or right to determine the width of the end spaces and the locations of the plumb lines. Then stack a column of tile, starting with the base and ending with the cap. Use this mock-up to determine the finished height of your wainscot.