Wainscoting and Tiling a Half Bath

A small half bath gets overhauled with new walls and a floor. If you’ve never installed drywall, wainscoting or tile, a half bath is a good place to start.

Half-Bath-After

Tools and Materials:

finish nailer
construction adhesive and caulking gun
circular saw
jig saw
painting supplies
drywall screws and a screw gun
1/2-inch drywall
drywall jab saw
6-inch putty knife
drywall screws
joint compound (drywall mud)
drywall tape
1/2” concrete backer board
beadboard wainscoting panels
2-inch crown molding
wainscoting chair-rail molding
wainscoting baseboard
floor tile
tiling tools

Steps:

Our bathroom has already been framed with electrical and plumbing in place. We are finishing the walls with drywall and wainscoting then tiling the floor.

Drywall:

Drywall

1. Cut drywall to size. Use a utility knife to score the paper carefully. Apply pressure by hitting in the middle of the score; the drywall should easily break. Finish the cut by running a knife down the paper to separate the pieces. Secure the drywall to the framing with screws. Countersink the screws; you’ll fill in the holes with joint compound later. Stagger the seams of the drywall.

2. Apply joint compound to the seams and screw holes spreading it evenly with a putty knife. Add mesh drywall tape to reinforce seams then cover with more joint compound. Allow the compound to dry completely then sand smooth. It will take at least three coats, allow the joint compound to dry completely in between each coat.

Wainscoting

1. Determine the height of the wainscoting. Allow room for the flooring and baseboard. Use a laser level or chalk line to mark where the top of the beadboard will sit. If your floor is uneven, start at the highest point in the room, you can cut down the panels for the low points. Measure from the laser line down to where the baseboard will fit based on the height of the wainscoting boards.

2. Liberally apply construction adhesive to the back of a wainscoting panel and hold up to the wall in place. Quickly pull the panel off the wall part of the way so the adhesive becomes stringy and covers more area on the back.

Wainscotting-Install

3. Nail the beadboard to studs using the finish nail gun.

4. Add the chair rail molding to the top of the wainscoting. Buying the molding with a notch already cut out of the back to fit over the beadboard saves time and effort. Secure the moldling to the wall with adhesive and nails.

5. Fill in nail holes with caulk and sand.

6. Leave the baseboard off until the flooring is complete.

7. Paint and walls and wainscoting.

Tile Flooring

Tile-Floor-Half-Bath

1. Screw the 1/2” backer board to the floor to create an even, moisture-resistant subfloor.

2. Layout the tile and make any necessary cuts. Spread the mastic on the backer board and on the tile. Use spacers to make sure you’ve got the tiles evenly placed. We combined two different colors of tile in our room.

3. Let the tiles sit overnight so the mastic cures.

Small-Vanity-Sink

4. Use a grout float to add the grout. Spread the grout diagonally over the tile, this helps get it into the cracks. Wipe off the excess with a wet sponge.

5. Allow the grout to dry overnight then install your fixtures.

Next Up

How to Install Wainscoting to a Wall

Add an instant touch of class to a room with these step-by-step instructions on installing beadboard wainscoting.

How to Remove a Tile Floor

Follow these step-by-step instructions to remove an old bathroom tile floor.

Installing a Tile Floor

Learn how to lay a stone or ceramic tile floor in a kitchen or bathroom.

How to Lay Tile Flooring

Tiling your floor can be a big job, but we’ve done all the dirty work to show you exactly what you’ll need to get the job done.

What's the Difference Between Porcelain and Ceramic Tile?

Ceramic and porcelain tiles share many similarities, but they also have noteworthy differences. Learn the pros and cons of each material to help you decide which is the better choice for your home project.

How to Paint a Tile Backsplash

Give your kitchen a facelift this weekend with a little elbow grease, some 220-grit sand paper and a lot of epoxy paint. Find out how to paint a tile backsplash with this step-by-step guide and shop everything you need to get started from our comprehensive materials list.

How to Build a Main Bathroom Vanity

Find out how to build a custom vanity to fit perfectly within your bathroom.

How to Choose the Right Tile for Your Home

Learn all about the different types of tile and slabs that can be used on floors, walls and countertops including ceramic, porcelain, cement, marble and more. Plus, we’ll explain PEI rating, glazing and which tiles are easiest to install.

Reasons to Choose Porcelain Tile

Harder than ceramic, porcelain tile is a smart choice for floors, countertops and walls because of its durability, beauty and countless design choices.

Reasons to Choose Ceramic Tile

Ceramic tile is a smart choice for floors, countertops and walls because of its durability, beauty and endless design choices.

Go Shopping

Get product recommendations from HGTV editors, plus can’t-miss sales and deals.

On TV

House Hunters

7:30am | 6:30c

House Hunters

8:30am | 7:30c

House Hunters

9:30am | 8:30c

House Hunters

10am | 9c

House Hunters

10:30am | 9:30c

House Hunters

11am | 10c

House Hunters

11:30am | 10:30c

House Hunters

12pm | 11c

House Hunters

12:30pm | 11:30c

Home Town

1pm | 12c

Home Town

2pm | 1c

Home Town

3pm | 2c

Home Town

4pm | 3c

Home Town

5pm | 4c

Home Town

6pm | 5c

Home Town

7pm | 6c
On Tonight
On Tonight

Home Town

8pm | 7c

Home Town

9pm | 8c

House Hunters

10pm | 9c

House Hunters

11pm | 10c

Home Town

12am | 11c

Home Town

1am | 12c

Home Town

4am | 3c

Home Town

5am | 4c

Follow Us Everywhere

Join the party! Don't miss HGTV in your favorite social media feeds.