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Question DetailsAsked on 9/4/2013

How do I tile uneven bathroom walls? How do I start as the floor is not level?

I did a backsplash in my kitchen last year and am looking to tile 4' up all around my bathroom with subway tile with a strip of accent tile but the walls are uneven and the floor slants. do I put the lowest level on first (the cove wall to floor tiles?) or what?

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2 Answers

Voted Best Answer

By uneven I think you mean that the walls are not flat. The floor slanting is not that much of a problem even for a do it your selfer. as for the floor being out I would pick a comfortable height (the lower the better) and establish a level line and back lay the tile to the floor but I would not do that if you are really talking about true cove tile because you will end up with a cut edge on the top edge of that piece. as for the uneven walls it may take more than the average do it yourselfer can do. You really have to go old school on that and use a snow ball approach where you butter the back of each tile with a scoop of mud (like you were making an ice cream cone and push it in till it is level. It may be easier to put a layer of 1/4" durock or similar material and use a notched trowel. You can use a mud cap to finish it off.

Answered 7 years ago by ContractorDon


I read the question a bit different than Contractor Don, I think - ignoring the uneven walls, I read it tht the floor is out of level, so if you start tiling at the floor and work upwards the tiles will be out of level on every row.

The thing to do with tile is ALWAYS make the top edge of tile that only goes part wall height level, and always put your cut pieces in the least visible corner or spot. In your case, make the top edge level, and do your cuts at the bottom, whether or not you use base or cove at the bottom. The other alternative is to run the wall tile doewn behind the floor tile with a 90 degree corner there.

The way I would approach this would be to get your top row correct and level, then work down to the floor. That way any warping of the tile out of level occurs lower on the wall where it is not so obvious as at the top. If using a 90 degree intersection at bottom, then the bottom row of tile gets the cuts, on the bottom edge. If you are using cove at the bottom, put it in as normal, then do your cuts on the bottom of the bottom row of regular tiles, so the uneven height row of tile sits right on top of the cove.

If using base (the usual thing for this type of case) you could do your cuts on the top of the base but you normally want a good ceramic color surface facing up near the floor, so again I would install the base first, then do the cuts on the first normal row of tile, on the bottom edges, so it fits right between base and the already done field tiles.

As Contractor Don said, keeping wall tile rows level is tough. The thing to do is lay out snapped stringlines for each row. This prohibits using wall-smeared mastic or thinset as it will cover the lines, so you have two alternatives - snap stringlines and "snowball" or "butter" the back of each piece individually to apply it at the snapped line (which would be at the bottom edge of the tile in this case), or tack a waxed 1x3 or 1x4 firring strip across as a laying ledge, moving it down every row and measuring fromthe top of the top row for distance. This allows using full-surface application of the thinset or mastic for several rows at a time.

Answered 7 years ago by LCD


I dont agree with either answer. If the floor is not level i would pick the lowest point to start with. Place a full tile in the lowest point. Level all around the room with either a laser or a long straight piece of wood. Chalk a line all around the room . Using a long sraight piece of wood attach the wood to the wall using nails.This is called a ledger board. Lay your first row of tiles on the ledger board. After finished height and the tiles are staying put remove the ledger board and install the missing row of tiles. Its nice to put the cuts depending on the lowest part of yhe floor is the least noticeable part of the room

Answered 2 years ago by Greenburgh03

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