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What comes first? Tiling or plumbing?
DIY advice

What comes first? Tiling or plumbing?

Posted by Rebecca Doody in DIY advice | 11 months ago 6 min read

When considering how to approach a bathroom renovation, you may be wondering what to tackle first: tiling or plumbing? In this expert guide, we'll set you on the right path.

The answer to this question isn’t as simple as it might seem and depends on several factors, including the specific scope of your renovation, the overall layout of your bathroom and, of course, your budget. So, before we provide a definitive answer, let’s look at what each of these main activities involve.

Calcolo Fuji glazed porcelain wall and floor tiles 615mm x 308mm

Getting the order of your bathroom renovation right is the key to a professional finish


Let’s start at the end! Tiling is typically the last step in any bathroom renovation, as it’s important to have all of your plumbing and electrical work in place before you begin fitting your wall and floor tiles. This is because tiling can be a messy and time-consuming process, and you don't want to have to go back and redo any work if you need to make changes to the plumbing or electrical.

Thinking of doing it yourself? Check out our guide to tiling your bathroom, complete with easy-to-follow videos like this…

Tiles are a popular wall and floor covering in bathrooms, as they are hardwearing, easy-to-clean and cost-effective. While tiles are mostly used around splash zones (e.g. the interior walls of a shower enclosure, around the floor of a bath, around the basin, etc.), some people choose to tile their whole bathroom from wall to wall. While this will likely be more expensive, the overall effect can be spectacular.

Calcolo Arctic grey marble effect matt wall and floor tile 300mm x 600mm

A fully tiled bathroom can look absolutely stunning

If you’re working to a tight budget, you could simply tile splash zones, or just the lower half of your walls. And, if you’re really looking to save time and money, shower wall panels offer a cost-effective alternative,


Plumbing is one of the most important aspects of a bathroom renovation, and it is important to have all necessary work carried out by a qualified plumber. This includes installing new pipes and drainage, as well as fitting new fixtures such as a bath, shower, toilet and basin. Often, your plumbing and pipework is concealed, either behind walls or “boxed in” by a joiner. This can help keep your bathroom looking clean and uncluttered.

Sage Green Victorian Maxi Metro tiles

Discover how to conceal unsightly plumbing in our handy guide.

So, which should you do first, tiling or plumbing?

If you are undertaking a complete bathroom renovation, it’s generally best to start with the plumbing. This will give your plumber plenty of space to work, and it will also make it easier to tile the bathroom once the plumbing is in place.

However, if you are only making minor changes to your bathroom, such as replacing the fixtures or tiling the walls, you may be able to start with the tiling. Just be sure to protect the tiles from any damage during the plumbing work.

Calcolo Morris aqua Pre-scored glazed ceramic wall and floor tile 450 x 450mm

For a complete bathroom makeover, it’s always best to complete your plumbing before you attempt your tiling

Key points summarised

Here’s a summary of the key points to consider when deciding whether to tile or plumb first:

  • Scope of renovation: With a complete bathroom renovation, it’s generally best to start with the plumbing. However, if you are only making minor changes, you may be able to start with the tiling.
  • Bathroom layout: The layout of your bathroom may also dictate which step you should do first. For example, if you have a small bathroom, it may be easier to tile the walls before installing the fixtures.
  • Budget: If you are on a tight budget, you may want to start with the plumbing, as this is the most important aspect of a bathroom renovation. However, if you can afford to wait, you may want to start with the tiling, as this will give you more time to shop around for the best deals.

Calcolo Vaca grey matt glazed porcelain wall and floor tile 300 x 600mm

If you’re fitting a new shower, like the one above, it’s highly likely you’ll need to attend to plumbing first and tiling last


No matter which step you choose to do first, it’s important to have a plan in place and to work with a qualified professional to ensure that your bathroom renovation is carried out to the highest of standards.

Shop tiles

If you’re looking for the perfect finish for your bathroom, you’ll find a fabulous selection of tiles at Victoria Plum. From beautiful stone-effect designs to on-trend Metro tiles, discover the perfect bathroom tiles at incredibly low prices. Simply click below to begin browsing.

Shop tiles

Tiling ideas and advice at Victoria Plum

As the bathroom experts and the UK’s largest online only bathroom retailer, we’re full of fresh ideas when it comes to tiles. Why not browse our tile inspiration gallery or discover which tiles are best for bathrooms?

If you’re thinking outside the box, we’ll demonstrate different ways to use metro tiles and show you exciting and unusual ways to use tiles in your bathroom.

For the more practical side of things, you’ll find all the help you need, from working out how many tiles you need to preparing your walls for tiling, and much more besides.

Author, Rebecca Doody

Posted by Rebecca Doody in DIY advice | 11 months ago

Originally from Somerset, Rebecca is our resident copywriter who takes care of all things product related. Rebecca loves the modern interior style with both neutral and bold influences to create a statement look.

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