How to Install a Bathroom Tile Board

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Tileboard looks like real tiles.
Image Credit: Tisomboon/iStock/GettyImages

Tiles offer a classic look to any bathroom plus a lot of versatility in terms of style. But installing tiles can be a long and difficult process. Installing a bathroom tileboard can provide the aesthetic appeal of tiles but with less of a headache. Knowing how to correctly prep and install a bathroom tileboard will help ensure the process runs smoothly.

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What Is Tileboard?

Tileboards are larger wall panels that have the appearance of a tiled wall. They can be installed to look like individual tiles but save time by covering larger areas. Tileboard also tends to be cheaper than individual bathroom tiles.

Tileboard tends not to last as long as tile, but if you choose one that's suitable for bathroom use and moist environments, it can last a fairly long time. The better your installation, the more closely tileboard will resemble real tile walls and the longer it will last too.

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Prepping for Installation

As with any tile installation, prep work is key to a satisfactory result. First, make sure you have adequate safety equipment. You'll need to wear a respirator, goggles, and safety gloves, and make sure your room is well ventilated. You'll also need to wear long sleeves and closed-toe shoes, and if you're going to be kneeling a lot during the process, it's worth investing in some knee pads.

Next, sand the walls where you're installing tileboard to rough up the surface. Once you've sanded, wipe the walls down thoroughly to remove any dust; then give them plenty of time to dry. You should ensure that the backing of your tileboard is clean and dry as well.

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It's a good idea to measure and map out the spacing for your tileboards in advance. Knowing exactly where each board is supposed to go before you start installing them can make the process run more smoothly.

How to Install Tileboard

Apply a heavy-duty construction adhesive to the back of one section of the tileboard. Spread the adhesive out with a 1/8-inch notched trowel to the edges of the tileboard. You must ensure adhesive covers all of the back of the tileboard to prevent moisture from being able to enter the panel from behind. Wait for about five minutes and then press the tileboard in place using a panel roller to maximize contact between the wall and the adhesive.

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Repeat the same process with all pieces of tileboard, leaving a space of 1/4 inch at the top and bottom of each panel and 1/16 inch on the sides between panels. It's best to work from the bottom to the top, one row at a time. After you've applied the tileboard, continue to press it every 15 minutes during the first hour after installation, focusing on the edges.

Once you've finished, allow the entire wall adequate drying time — at least 24 hours. Then run a 100 percent silicone sealant around all edges and seams between tileboard panels to ensure the installation is as waterproof as possible. Seal around the edges of any fixtures too. Don't use a siliconized acrylic latex caulk, as this will not adequately waterproof the seams.

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Annie Walton Doyle is a freelance writer based in Manchester, UK. Her work has appeared in The Huffington Post, The Daily Telegraph, Professional Photography Magazine, Bustle, Ravishly and more. When not writing, she enjoys pubs, knitting, nature and mysteries.

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