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Can You Put Ceramic Tile Under/Around Vanity/Toilet/Bathtub?

Ceramic tile is one of the most popular options for residential homes. It is beautiful, durable, and can work in almost any room. If you are planning on putting it in the bathroom, can you install it under or around any of the fixtures?

The best choice for tiling under or around a vanity or toilet is to install the ceramic tile under the fixture. Since ceramic is difficult to remove match if you are adding to the installation, it is much easier to simply lift the toilet or vanity and install it underneath. The same cannot be said for the bathtub. A bathtub is a more permanent fixture that is better suited when it is installed directly on the subfloor.

White modern toilet and bathroom

There are options that we will discuss for installing the ceramic tile up to the tub and then breaching the gap so that it looks nice. Installing under the tub is not a good idea.

The only time that you would install the ceramic tile under a bathtub is if it is a freestanding tub. The feet of the tub would sit directly on the tile and it would be easy to redo the flooring if necessary.

Before we take a look at some of the specifics about installing tile in the bathroom, let’s consider why it is a good idea.

Can You Put Ceramic Tile Under/Around Vanity/Toilet/Bathtub

Ceramic tile is one of the most durable options for installation in the home. It is ideal to install in any room, but it is particularly suited for the bathroom. Why?

First of all, you don’t have to worry about the ceramic tile getting wet, although it can get slippery if you aren’t careful. Unlike other flooring options, such as laminate or wood, you don’t have to worry about the water in the bathroom ruining the flooring.

Another reason why ceramic tile is a good option for the bathroom is because you will be installing it under certain fixtures. More than likely, you will have to pull the vanity and toilet out of the way and install the ceramic tile under them.

When you do so, you don’t have to be concerned about the weight of the toilet or vanity. Ceramic tile is more than able to handle the additional weight. As long as the subfloor is well suited for the weight of the floor and the vanity and toilet, there is no reason to worry.

As far as options are concerned, you might be surprised with exactly how many different choices you have for ceramic tile. The bathroom may be one of the smallest rooms in the home but it can be very beautiful when you choose the right flooring.

At this point, you may be wondering why you wouldn’t simply tile up to the vanity or toilet and cut the tile to fit around them. Primarily, this has to do with the difficulty associated with cutting tile.

You could cut the tile and make it look relatively good at the vanity, but what if you ever have to change the vanity? The same is also true of the toilet.

If you only tile up to the vanity or toilet and don’t extend the tile underneath, you are limiting yourself and what you can do with any new installations. If there is a variation in the size and shape of either the vanity or the toilet, you will have a difficult time matching the floor.

As a homeowner, I’m sure that you are aware of the importance of doing a project once and having it last for a very long time. As far as ceramic tile is concerned, it is a job that will last for decades.

That doesn’t mean, however, that you can’t pull the tile up and start fresh. That may be true if you are doing the entire bathroom but you don’t want to try to piecemeal tiles in place around the tub or vanity when you have to change them.

It may seem like extra work to pull those fixtures and install the tile underneath them but in the end, it will save you time. It also makes for a flawless looking job when it is finished.

Can You Put Ceramic Tile Under/Around Vanity

Modern white toilet

When you are ready to dig in and get started with the flooring project, you want to make sure that you have everything prepared in advance. Knowing what you are going to do with the vanity is a big part of the process.

The best option for tiling under or around a vanity is to pull the vanity and tile underneath it. Even if you think that you are going to leave the vanity in place for a very long time, there may be cases in which you need to replace it. It is much easier to replace a vanity than to pull the tile and redo the floor.

That doesn’t mean, however, that it is impossible to put ceramic tile in the bathroom if you don’t want to pull the vanity. It certainly is possible to run the tile right up to it, and you can breach the gap between the tile and the vanity with some caulking.

The real key is that you want to make sure that you have a nice looking finish and this is one of the areas that can end up looking sloppy. Pulling the vanity and tiling underneath is always going to be the best option but installing the tile up to the vanity is possible, if you take your time and do it right.

One thing you will need to be aware of is that the vanity may not fit exactly as it did prior to the time that you pull it and tile underneath. The height of the vanity is going to be the same when measured from the floor to the countertop, but it may be a few inches higher on the wall.

In addition, you always need to leave yourself some room for expansion. Many people don’t realize that ceramic tile do expand and contract, so leaving a gap at the edge of the room is important.

As we will discuss, you should not grout the gap because it is not flexible and would simply crack or cause the floor to crack. You can use a proper expansion joint or caulking for this purpose.

How To Lay Ceramic Tile Under/Around Vanity

Brown wood cabinet in bathroom

Putting ceramic tile up to the vanity is much different than tiling underneath it. Let’s consider how both are done.

If you are planning on keeping your vanity for a long time, you have the option of tiling up to it and not pulling the vanity in advance. There is no right or wrong way to do this, it’s just an option that is open to you. Just make sure that you are going to keep the vanity or you could be in trouble if you have to replace it in the future.

The process of tiling up to the vanity is similar to tiling at the edge of a room. You would measure to the edge, cut the tile and then put it in place.

The real secret is making sure that you have an expansion gap at the edge of the tile. If you were to butt the tile directly into the vanity, any expansion could cause the floor to crack or it may crack at a grout line.

The general recommendation for expansion with a ceramic tile floor is 1/4 inch at the edge. Keep this in mind, as you will need to fill that gap with caulking or you can use a rubber quarter-round trim that is specific for that purpose.

The most common option that is used for tiling near a vanity is to pull the vanity and tile underneath it. Doing so keeps the height of the vanity consistent from the floor to the countertop.

Another benefit of tiling under the vanity is that it allows you to replace the vanity at some point in the future. You won’t have to replace the floor, you just put the new vanity in place.

A benefit that most people don’t consider about tiling under the vanity is the fact that it gives you more room. In most cases, you will be working in a limited amount of space when working in the bathroom. This can be a problem, but without the vanity in place, you have more room to work.

After the vanity is removed and the subfloor is cleaned, the process of tiling is relatively straightforward. You simply continue tiling the floor until you get to the wall, making sure to leave 1/4 inch gap for expansion.

After the tile is down and the floor has been grouted, you can put the vanity in place. It may help to wait a day to ensure that the tile is well set, but it will easily handle the weight of the vanity.

Make sure that the vanity is attached to the wall but not to the floor. The floor will expand and contract slightly underneath the vanity, but not enough to disconnect it from the wall.

The only thing that you will have to be concerned about is the fact that you will be raising the height of the vanity by an inch or two. The height will still be the same from the floor to the countertop but it will be at a new position on the wall.

This can be a problem if you had a relatively small gap between the countertop and mirror or medicine cabinet. Some adjustments may need to be made to ensure that everything fits properly.

Can You Put Ceramic Tile Under/Around Toilet

Modern white toilet

One of the obstacles you are inevitably going to run into when tiling the bathroom is the toilet. Should the tile go under the toilet or up to the edge of it?

The best choice for installing ceramic tile in a bathroom is to remove the toilet and tile underneath. Doing so will hide any of the cuts, which are not going to be perfect. After you install the toilet on top of the tile, it will look as if it was custom fitted to the area.

Although the best choice is to install the tile under the toilet, that doesn’t mean it is your only option. In some cases, you may find it beneficial to install the tile up to the toilet and cut around it.

Before you do this, you should think carefully about what may happen in the future. For example, if you have to get another toilet, you may not be able to get one with the same footprint. This could make it difficult to fit the toilet in place.

In addition, when you cut the tile around the toilet, you are going to have some rough edges. These will disappear to a certain extent because of the caulking but they are not going to disappear completely.

If it all possible, pull the toilet and tile underneath. The toilet will sit on top of the tile nicely and it will look a lot better when all is said and done.

How To Lay Ceramic Tile Under/Around Toilet

Modern white toilet

Installing ceramic tile under a toilet is not a difficult thing to do. There are some steps you need to take, however, to do it properly.

Installing ceramic tile around the toilet really is a matter of removing the toilet and installing it underneath. Doing so will hide all of the cuts, as they will be very close to the phalange.

Here are the steps to take when installing ceramic tile under your toilet.

Turn off the Water – Before you do any work in the area, it’s a good idea to turn off the water. You can turn it off using the valve behind the toilet or you can turn the water off to the bathroom altogether.

Remove Toilet – Loosen the nuts on either side of the toilet that hold it in place. After they are removed, you can lift the toilet off of the bolts. Put the toilet off to the side, preferably on some cardboard or on a cart to remove it from the bathroom.

The wax ring and will also need to be removed. This is not exactly the most pleasant job but it is one that needs to be done. Remove the wax ring and get it as clean as possible in the area.

Install Tile – The ceramic tile will now need to be installed in the area. Install it up to the phalange but leave a 1/4 inch gap around the phalange for expansion.

Reinstall Wax Ring – Since you are adding an extra layer of flooring under the toilet, you may need to use a double wax ring or one with a phalange extension.

Reinstall Toilet – After the ceramic floor is in place, you can reinstall the toilet and fix it to the floor. Do not caulk around the bottom of the toilet.

Can You Put Ceramic Tile Under/Around Bathtub

White modern toilet and bathroom

Installing ceramic near a bathtub requires that you do so without lifting the bathtub. You should not install ceramic floor under a bathtub.

A bathtub should sit on the subfloor and you should tile up to the edge of the bathtub, leaving a small gap for expansion. That gap can either be filled with caulking or you can use a special rubber trim piece to fill the gap and seal things off nicely.

There are exceptions to the rule, and this includes if you are talking about a freestanding tub. You can install ceramic tile under the freestanding tub and set the tub directly on the tile floor.

How To Lay Ceramic Tile Under/Around Bathtub

black modern toilet and bathroom

When you are ready to tile around the bathtub, the process is fairly simple to do.

You should lay the ceramic tile up to the edge of the bathtub, similar to the way that you would install it to the edge of the room. Leave a small gap at the edge of the tile for expansion and fill the gap with caulking or use a rubberized trim piece to finish off the edge of the room nicely.

If the tub is slightly elevated after you remove the old floor, you may be able to install the ceramic tile under the edge of the tub. There is nothing wrong with doing so, provided you don’t have to remove the tub if you have to remove the floor.

Installing the trim piece allows any water to stay away from the edge of the tile. Ceramic tile is not going to get damaged with water, but avoiding getting water under the tile is always a better option.

In the bathroom, you can tile under the vanity and toilet. It is beneficial to do so because it allows for a flawless finish and you can replace both the vanity and toilet without redoing the floor. When it comes to the bathtub, you should install the tile up to the edge of the tub but not underneath it.

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