Recently while binge watching some tiny living shows on HGTV Canada a reoccurring theme became apparent.  While watching the show Tiny Luxury I began to realize that every bathroom and nearly every kitchen featured glass or ceramic tiles as a backsplash or shower surround.

Seeing the use of tile really got me wondering if using tiles in your tiny home is practical but foremost something recommended.

So I decided to reach out to Martin from Tiny House Lumbec and Brian from Tiny Living Homes to see whether they’ve used tile in their builds to date and how they recommend installing tiles (if they do) in your tiny home.

Have you used tiles in a tiny build?

Martin: “No, I have not used tile as of yet.”

Brian: “We have used tiles in shower areas of our tiny homes quite a few times now and by following the correct steps it is trouble free.”

Reasons to avoid tiles in a tiny?

Martin: “Weight.” 

If you were to consider tiles in a tiny build are there any products you would use? Why?

Martin: “If I was to use tile on the floor I would install it on a Schluter membrane.  It uncouples your tiles from the subfloor to prevent cracking.  For showers, I would look into Schluter again.  For grout, I would use epoxy as it is more flexible.”

Brian: “Using lightweight tile board panels as the surface that you are going to mount your tiles on to us key. You will want to use large panels with the least amount of joints possible. 

Waterproofing is another key part to it. We prefer to use standard shower bases rather than going down the wet room route, this along with a decent tanking kit works well. 

Flexible adhesives and grouts are also key. Smaller tiles will also allow for more movement than larger ones. Treat the grout and the tiles to sealer to avoid water penetration. 

Never look at grout as the main waterproofing, flexible grout can crack and flake away so ensure that if the water ever did make its way behind the tiles that it gets directed back towards the drain.”

Would you recommend installing tile in a THOW to a DIY’er or novice?

Martin: “DIYer can install tile.  My advice would be to go to a flooring store, not a big box for advice.

They will get the help they need.  Also, they could get a bargain on material.  TH tend to need less material and they could get to go through the leftover stock!”

Brian: “I would not recommend someone who does not have experience in tiling to take on this work. It could turn messy quite quickly.”

Any other comments?

Martin: “Tile is a neat product.  Not everyone is equipped to build with tile. In our latest build, we have used vinyl flooring in a roll imitating tile.  Light, weaterproof and flexible.  All qualities we are looking for in a bath/shover surround.”

Brian: “All if this is key when using tiles in your tiny home but unfortunately it is useless if your framing structure is not rigid. Proper bracing needs to be in place in the walls to keep movement to a minimum. Never under estimate the importance of nailing off the plywood on the exterior walls during construction of your home. This plays a key roll.” 

So there you have it, tiles in your tiny home are possible but not recommended by our pro’s for the DIYer.

Both Martin and Brian have provided some great advice on how to prep your tiny for tiling as you build.  As with any advice and recommendations, we always suggest that you work within your comfort zone.  If you’re working with a builder ask them whether they recommend it.  As our builders point out tiling a tiny that is going to be somewhat mobile isn’t recommended but can be done.

You best know how your home is going to be used so you’re the best judge of whats going to work best material wise in your tiny.

June 1, 2016
Matt Standen – LiveTiny Canada
Photo: Live Tiny Homes – Custom Model