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How to Tile Around a Floor Drain: The 7 Step Solution

If you’re planning to renovate your home on your own, kudos!

Not everyone dares to undertake such a huge step. 

When dealing with bathrooms, it’s frustrating not knowing how to tile around a floor drain.

Sounds like your problem? Don’t you worry?

Tile placement is crucial. Mainly because it’s what helps the water slide down the drain; if the tiles are wrongly sloped, it may cause water pooling. To tile the bathroom, first dry and fix the tiles. Next, set the drain cover on top of the tile. Then outline the shape and cut accordingly. Finally, just set with mortar.

That was just the tip of the iceberg. To learn how to do this process, let’s jump right in!

Why is Tile Placement Important Around the Drain?

Before we go into the details of tiling around a floor drain, let’s figure out why it’s an important task. The first thing that comes to mind is that it helps the water slide off into the drain. 

But do you know what happens when tiles are improperly placed? In such situations, you could find water pooled in the shower tray. This occurs when the slope of the tiles isn’t accurately set. So the water can’t be drained out. 

Moreover, pooled water can also cause mold to grow between tile gaps. Now even if there’s no water pooling, you could cut your feet from a sharp edge. 

Even if you escape the scenarios above, any extension in the tile could collect water. This would cause the tile to rot and ruin the aesthetic of your bathroom. 

Since nobody wants that, let’s see what we can do about it. 

How to Tile Around a Floor Drain: In 7 Easy Steps

Tiling around the drain isn’t rocket science. But it requires you to keep a few steps in mind. You can easily do a great job at home with patience and time. 

To do so, you’ll need a few items. Let’s see what they are. They are few, but the tools are all the right ones.

Things you’ll need

  • Screwdriver
  • Pencil
  • Angle grinder
  • Thinset Mortar
  • Trowel
  • Tiles of your choice

After you’ve got your hands on everything, you’ll need.

Step 1: Dry Fix the Tile Pieces Around the Drain

First of all, set the tile pieces on the floor of the shower. Do this without using any kind of mortar. So, you can remove it to do any readjustments. 

Place all the whole tiles around the drain cover. Only leave the tile that needs to be cut to shape. So even if it takes a bit more time to tile the shower. Take the extra step, and you won’t regret it.

Think of it like lightly outlining, sketching the perfect picture. Similarly, dry fixing the floor will offer you the flexibility to make errors. 

Step 2: Unscrew the Drain Cover

After placing the tiles around the drain cover, time to tackle the problem tile. To do this, first unscrew the drain cover with a screwdriver. 

You may wonder why this is required. Removing the cover ensures you can set your tile closer to the hole. 

This helps in gauging the actual shape of the drain.

Step 3: Set the Tile and Cover

Next, place the one remaining tile on top of the drain hole. After you have set this, carefully put the drain cover on top of the tiles.

Just ensure that the cover and the drain hole are in alignment with each other. Or else you’ll have problems in doing the next step. 

Step 5: Mark the Shape and Cut the Pieces

After aligning the drain cover perfectly, it’s time to mark the shape of the drain. So take out your pencil and bring your inner artist out! After you mark the tiles, number them in order of your cut.

Even if you’re not an incredible artist, try being as precise as possible. Or else, cutting the tiles into shape will be super tricky. 

After that’s done, it’s time to cut the pieces. To do this, take an angle grinder and cut the tiles according to the markings. Make sure you wear gloves and eye protection before you do this. 

After cutting the tiles, set them back according to their numbers. Next, check if they fit perfectly. If not, shape them further.

Step 6: Apply Thinset Mortar

After cutting all the tiles into shape and ensuring they are a perfect fit, go ahead and remove them. Next, apply thin-set mortar on the floor in an even layer. 

Or else the shower floor won’t be leveled. 

Step 7: Set the Tiles

Once you’ve applied thin-set mortar to a section, it’s time to finally glue the tiles into place. Make sure that you set the tiles exactly like before. If needed, refer to the number while setting the tiles.

Since it takes quite some time to retile a bathroom, try avoiding errors. So be careful while you do the final step.


How can I tell if my tile is ceramic or porcelain?

While porcelain tiles have a butter smooth finish, ceramic tiles are a bit coarser. Thus the texture of a tile is the biggest giveaway of its material. 

Can you tile a bathroom in one day?

This mainly depends upon your skill level. And how fast you can work. But if you’re concerned about the grout quality, there’s a solution. Choose grouts that enable you to walk on the floor 5-6 hours after setting.

Can I cover a basement floor drain?

Ground drains are connected to plumbing underneath. Thus if you cover them, it could lead to repercussions. Therefore if you remove them, do it with caution.

Final Verdict

With that, we come to the end of our post. We hope you had a good time. 

In case you have any queries on how to tile around a floor drain, let us know.

We love to hear your feedback!

Until then, stay happy!