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Which walls should I tile in my bathroom?

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  • May 15th, 2018 5:48 pm
[OP]
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Aug 22, 2009
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Guelph, ON

Which walls should I tile in my bathroom?

Hi everyone! I'm planning a bathroom reno but I'm having trouble determining which walls (or portions of walls) should be tiled or painted. Here's a 3D line drawing from two angles:

Image

And here's the floorplan:

Image

Can someone please help me determine which walls (or portions of walls) should be tiled? Here are some notes to keep in mind:

  • I'll be using 12x24 tiles (grey)
  • Due to space constraints, the outer edge of the tub lines up with the interior of the window -- I'm not sure if the winder should have wood trim or if it should be completely tiled in?
  • I prefer tiled walls in the toilet area (to keep things clean)
  • I prefer to have some kind of vanity backsplash (since splashing is inevitable)
  • The Medicine Cabinet is surface mounted
  • IKEA GODMORGON wall-hung vanity (gloss white, ceramic top)

Thanks!
Last edited by VifferFun on Mar 23rd, 2018 12:08 am, edited 1 time in total.
25 replies
Deal Addict
Jan 19, 2011
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Why tile any of the wall at all?
"The truth is incontrovertible, malice may attack it, ignorance may deride it, but in the end; there it is."
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Jul 31, 2017
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Toronto
Tiling the toilet area is going to give it a very institutional feel. If the idea is to stop people lingering while sitting there, you'll achieve that objective! Personally I find it a little odd to have a floating vanity encased on either side. Removing the knee wall would make it a little more open as you come in the door and wont give you as much of a dirt/dust trap underneath it. Or put the vanity on a plinth and leave it enclosed.
[OP]
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Aug 22, 2009
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I definitely need tile in the bathing area, so tile is required :P

I've been told that too much tile could be institutional looking, but it always seems to look good in pictures that I see like this one:

Image

I like contemporary/minimalist style. There'll be a chrome towel rack (with white or coloured towels) and a white actuator plate above the white wall-hung toilet so that you're not just going to see a wall of tile :)

I mainly like the idea of tiled walls for practicality/cleaning -- I don't like hand splashes on painted walls and I wanted to be able to properly wash the walls around a toilet. Knowing that I favour tiled walls, I was hoping someone could tell em where the tile shoudl start and end for each wall :)

The knee wall by the vanity is required because I have to modify the back of the cabinet so that it clears an angled floor due to the staircase (which you can kind of see in the floorplan diagram). I've already bought the Ikea GODMORGON vanity, so hopefully it looks tolerable :P I have attached pics of the tiles I'm planning to use (haven't decided which one yet).

Thanks!
Images
  • Notion Mist v1.JPG
  • Amelia Smoke v1.JPG
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Jul 31, 2017
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Toronto
I think a lot of tile is ok if the space is light and airy, you're tiling all three sides of a box that is only 3' wide
[OP]
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Aug 22, 2009
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Thanks Boaty. The wall beside the toilet is only 2.50' wide. Are you thinking that I can fully tile the wall behind the toilet and the wall separating the bathtub and toilet?

What should I do with the larger 7.00' wall on the other side of the toilet? For functional purposes I'd like it fully tiled (since I'll have wet towels hanging on it on hooks); however, maybe that woudl be too much tile? On the other hand, I will always have two or three white towels hanging on hooks, so you won't just be seeing a wall of grey.

Thanks!
Member
Jul 31, 2017
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Toronto
Actually, the toilet area isn't that long so it wouldn't be too claustrophobic. I'm surprised that the wall is only 2.5" wide though. I wouldn't have thought you'd get the plumbing and mixer valve in such a narrow space
[OP]
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Aug 22, 2009
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Hmm — it’s what the designer created, I’m not sure how the plumbing for the shower works. Is 2.5 feet a tight squeeze? :S

Anyone able to offer creative tiling suggestions?

Thanks!
Member
Jul 31, 2017
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Toronto
VifferFun wrote: Hmm — it’s what the designer created, I’m not sure how the plumbing for the shower works. Is 2.5 feet a tight squeeze? :S
He has 2x4 wall written on the plan, when you add tileboard and 3/8" tile, you're looking at a wall that's 5.25" thick minimum. Anyway, not really relevant to your question
[OP]
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Aug 22, 2009
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Hmmm -- maybe you guys are convincing me to scrap the tiled walls and just paint. I just took a look at my bathroom and the walls don't get as dirty as I'd assume. As long as I have a semi-gloss, I should be able to wash it, and I suppose I could always repaint it as needed :P

So assuming that I paint everywhere but the tub/shower area, how would you guys do the tile on window wall? My tub will be 28.0" wide, but the distance from the wall to the inside of the window is only 27.5" and there is a 2.5" window trim (that will be replaced). I've attached a quick sketch.

So where should the tile go on the white wall? Do I tile around the window trim, or should I eliminate the trim and do a "drywall return" window? Would it look OK if just the wall behind the toilet was tiled floor to ceiling (in addition to the shower of course)?

Thanks! :)
Images
  • Main Bath -- Looking at Window Wall v1.png
Deal Addict
Jun 27, 2015
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East York, ON
where did you take that picture of those tiles?
What is the store? Is it a big store? Does not look like Olympia tiles...where else did you go for that ?
I am also working on a similar project
I would go all the way to the ceiling around that bath tub
I would use the bottom side of the window or the top side of the backsplash above the vanity as a reference to go around the room (that would be the top limit of the tiling for any other wall)
You need to align yourself with the existing lines in the room ...ask your designer about these principles

Or go with no tiles like here

Image
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[OP]
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Aug 22, 2009
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Thanks CuriousC!

I took the pictures of the tiles at Ceramic Decor in Guelph, ON. The tiles are called Notion Mist and Amelia HD Smoke.

Unfortunately my designer is no longer available because they closed their shop on December 31st -- I really wanted them to make these decisions for me :(

I was definitely going to tile to the ceiling within the tub, but my difficulty is dealing with the window and the window trim.

That bathroom in the pic (with no wall tile) looks really sharp. The main reason I wanted wall tile was for cleaning, but I'm not sure that I'm as concerned about that anymore (because it seems like semi-gloss paint can be cleaned too). With that said, I would like to at least have a tiled backsplash at the vanity, and it might also be nice to have the entire wall behind the toilet tiled. I'm just worried about what it would like like -- I don't have an eye for these things :( Are you a designer?

Thanks!
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Jun 27, 2015
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VifferFun wrote: Thanks CuriousC!

I took the pictures of the tiles at Ceramic Decor in Guelph, ON. The tiles are called Notion Mist and Amelia HD Smoke.

Unfortunately my designer is no longer available because they closed their shop on December 31st -- I really wanted them to make these decisions for me :(

I was definitely going to tile to the ceiling within the tub, but my difficulty is dealing with the window and the window trim.

That bathroom in the pic (with no wall tile) looks really sharp. The main reason I wanted wall tile was for cleaning, but I'm not sure that I'm as concerned about that anymore (because it seems like semi-gloss paint can be cleaned too). With that said, I would like to at least have a tiled backsplash at the vanity, and it might also be nice to have the entire wall behind the toilet tiled. I'm just worried about what it would like like -- I don't have an eye for these things :( Are you a designer?

Thanks!
No I am not a designer...like you I browse Houzz and Pinterest and I get my inspiration from what I see there
I do have architects in the family and they have an eye for these things as you say. I do the primary work, I select my color combinations and the style and they I get help from them
Yeah...Guelph is too far for me I will have to find local sources here in GTA
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The only place I would tile is around the tub. We have a tub/shower in our bathroom and that area is tiled up to the ceiling. Other than that I would only tile the floor. Paint is fine for the rest.
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You can put tiles anywhere it will get wet or dirty. When you see a whole room tiled it usually a concrete structure. You can do the whole room if you like, it will be easy to clean but will cost you for installation, money you will not recoup if you sell.
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A couple thoughts, if you at all go with a different counter that can go over the knee wall, I'd want to do that, even if it means skipping the all in one integrated bowl with the IKEA top.

If you have a competent tile guy, I'd do the window trim in a neutral trim tile and the return too, since its so close to the tub, if not at least go with a composite/plastic based trim and return so it wont swell/rot on you.

As for tile, I'd do the tub and the vanity wall, paint the rest.
Deal Guru
Dec 11, 2008
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You must tile the entire shower.

As for the window, you can technically tile the window wall, the vanity wall and the shower so it's all in one area. Leave the toilet area and the walls touching the door entrance as just drywall.
[OP]
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Aug 22, 2009
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Guelph, ON
cliff wrote: A couple thoughts, if you at all go with a different counter that can go over the knee wall, I'd want to do that, even if it means skipping the all in one integrated bowl with the IKEA top.

If you have a competent tile guy, I'd do the window trim in a neutral trim tile and the return too, since its so close to the tub, if not at least go with a composite/plastic based trim and return so it wont swell/rot on you.

As for tile, I'd do the tub and the vanity wall, paint the rest.
Thanks! The countertop of the IKEA GODMORGON cabinet can certainly go over the knee-high wall if I need it to -- the knee-high wall doesn't have to be very tall since it simply needs to cover the 12" or so near the floor. Do you think it looks better with the countertop higher than the wall?

Thanks for the tip on using trim tile for the window (and tiling the return as well). I'm not familar with "trim tile" -- is this just the thin tiles that people often use when transitioning from a tiled surface to an untiled surface?

If I tile the vanity wall and the inside of the tub, would it look OK if I tiled the wall behind the toilet too? I'm going to have a wall-hung toilet so I think it's best if it's hung on a tiled wall.

Thanks!
[OP]
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Aug 22, 2009
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speedyforme wrote: You must tile the entire shower.

As for the window, you can technically tile the window wall, the vanity wall and the shower so it's all in one area. Leave the toilet area and the walls touching the door entrance as just drywall.
Sorry, I should have specified that I understand that all three tub walls will require tile :P Thanks!
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Jul 12, 2015
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My 3 cents while still dealing with a bathroom reno gone wrong:

Unless you have new, perfectly smooth walls, or your painter did an excellent job mudding and sanding the paint surface first, do you not use a semi-gloss paint. It will look like crap in bright light and every imperfection will be seen. Go with an eggshell or a washable matte made especially for bathrooms or exterior walls.

Make sure that your existing sink plumbing isn't right in the middle of where you want to put your Ikea vanity. I bought the same vanity for my bathroom reno, and it doesn't work well with centered placed drainage plumbing.

Go for tile baseboards instead of wood as that will look better and be better at keeping out moisture.

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