Learning how to tile a shower is important because it gives your room the freshness and beauty it deserves. An interesting fact is that you can carry out this project on your own.
This will help save money from hiring a professional and also help you create your preferred design. All you need are the right products and techniques to get started.
1. When You Should Tile a Shower
You should tile your shower wall and shower floor when you notice that the shower tile is missing, cracked or there is an outflow of liquid.
In the process of remodelling your bathroom, you should tile the shower after the room has been demolished. When this is done, you can now install the bathroom floor and paint the walls.
2. Things to Consider
There are some major things to consider when you want to tile your shower. They include the following;
You should create a time convenient to work at a steady pace. Tiling a shower is not a project that should be done in a hurry because there are some mistakes that may be difficult to fix.
You should also do this with patience because it requires enough time for the mortar and tile grout to be sufficiently dry.
2.2. Space Area for Materials
It is advisable to create a space where you can store the materials to be used for tilling. This is because you’ll need enough space in the bathroom to lay the tiles before you proceed to the shower.
2.3. Bathing Facilities
You should make sure that you have other alternative bathing facilities before you begin the project. Tiling is not done in a day. It can take either one or two weeks, depending on the size of your bathroom.
3. Types of Tiles for Showers
There are some specifications that your shower tile should meet to give the best results. Some of the tiles with the best specifications include the following;
3.1. Shower Floor Tile
This tile can get really dangerous when there is water mixed with soap on the floor. It is, however, important to provide the required grip for your feet.
The COF is what is used to rate how slippery an item is. COF stands for the acronym Coefficient of Friction. It is called the DCOF in the tile industry.
The DCOF value of this tile should be greater than 0.42. This figure is known to be the standard for tiles that you can walk on even when wet.
3.2. Shower Wall Tile
A porcelain tile is the type of tile that is ideal for your shower wall. It is a waterproof tile with a water absorption rate of 0.5.
To know a porcelain tile, you will see PTCA trademarks on the boxes of the product. There is also a list of the registered product lines on their website. You can check them out from there.
You should know that apart from porcelain tiles, you can make use of other tiles for your shower. They include the following;
- Glass tile
- Glazed ceramic tile
There are some websites where the manufacturers will clearly list the tiles that do not meet the criteria to be used for shower walls.
4. Materials Needed to Tile a Shower
Listed below are some of the materials and pieces of equipment you’ll need to tile your shower;
- Grout bag
- Hole saw
- Wet tile saw
- Pry bar
- Measuring tape
- Utility knife
- Laser Level
- Tracing paper
- Eye protection
- Clean buckets
- Hearing protection
- Chalk snap line
- Plastic shims
- Cement board tape
- Edge tile
- Thin-set mortar
- Grout haze cleaner
- Liquid waterproofing membrane
- Tile spacers
- Paint roller frame
- Notched trowel
5. How to Tile a Shower
There are steps to take when you want to tile your shower. They include;
5.1. Preparing the Wall
The very first step to tilling your bathroom is to prepare the wall. This preparation can be carried out on both the new and existing shower walls.
For the existing wall, you’ll need to assess its quality. You should also find out if you’ll just need to fix the broken tiles or if you’ll have to start from scratch.
You can lay down a waterproof membrane when reusing the existing shower tray. This will help prevent moisture from running under the tray.
For the new wall, you should use a cement backer board for the shower area. You’ll have to cut the board and join it to the stud frame. Do not forget to leave out half the gap between the board and the shower tray.
Use a caulk to close up the seams and also use a hole cutter to drill the holes needed for the shower head.
5.2. Plan the Tile Layout
The size and shape of a tile can help you know the tile layout. It is advisable to go for a brickwork, diagonal, or grid tile pattern.
You should know that smaller tiles are more appealing to the eyes when the listellos are horizontally laid. Larger tiles are usually appealing when laid in a grid pattern.
5.3. Remove the Old Tiles
You ensure that you demolish the old tiles when you want to begin the project. You should make sure that the water flow in the bathroom is turned off. Seal up the doors and windows using a plastic bag.
A ventilated mask will help in this process so you don’t choke due to lack of air. Using a hammer, break the tiles and discard them. Using a crowbar, get rid of the backing board. Once this is done, you’ll be able to see the studs and insulations.
5.4. Fix the Shower Wall Structure
You should make sure that the frame of the shower must be firm and dry. In cases where the wood studs are not in good shape to the extent that they need replacement, you should remove the wood studs and replace them.
If you notice any mouldy fibreglass insulation, you should take them out and replace them.
5.5. Install a Cement Board Backer
To install the board backer, you’ll have to measure your shower wall and cut the backer to fit in. You should join the board to the stud after leaving a 0.32cm gap between them.
This will prevent them from rubbing each other. You also apply caulk on the studs, which can be used to hold the seams between the panel together.
If you notice that there’s too much space between the wallboard and the backerboard, you should seal it up. Using a putty knife, apply the thin-set.
5.6. Use Waterproofing Membrane
Using a paint roller, apply the waterproofing membrane on the backer board. You should also carefully apply it to the grout joints. Then, leave it to dry for a few hours before applying another layer.
This will help prevent the build-up of moisture in the wall.
5.7. Install Seats and Shelves
Seats and shelves in your bathroom help clean the lines in your shower. This can be done from scratch or by installing the already-built items.
To build from scratch, you’ll have to be creative. Here, you’ll place the items in two-by-fours and face them with a half-inch backer board.
Then, you’ll conceal the joints with a tap and thin-set. A waterproof membrane should be applied to finish up the process.
You should know that you can buy pre-built shelves and seats made of waterproof materials. You do not need a board backer or waterproof membrane when using these items. This can be fixed with little or no stress.
5.8. Laying the Tiles
The first step to laying the tiles is marking out the vertical formation and the horizontal formation of your tiles. This will help prevent mistakes, as you’ll be able to follow a particular pattern as you lay tiles.
You should start marking from the center as you mark a vertical and horizontal line, respectively. You should know quarry tiles, ceramic, and porcelain tiles are the most suitable for shower walls.
5.9. Make a Story Pole
You might be wondering what a story pole is. It is basically a temporary layout tool that is used to arrange locations in work areas. You can use a scrap piece to do this and lay it on the side of your tile.
Then, you mark out the grout point. You can add spacers in between tiles to help you identify the grout lines.
5.10. Mix the Thinset Mortar
When mixing the thin set, pour it into a large bucket and add the right amount of water. You should use a mortar mixer to stir the thin-set till it’s a paste. Ensure that it’s not too thick or too thin.
The next step is to lay out the thin-set on the horizontal row. To do this, use a trowel to fetch the thin-set from the bucket and then spread it on the wall. Ensure that the spreading is about 2.5cm thick.
5.11. Install the Tiles
To apply the tiles, you’ll have to place the tiles on the thin set gently. It is advisable to work in an upward motion, and you can also add spacers to help create seams in between the tiles.
You can also check to confirm if there’s is enough thin set to hold the tile. Repeat this process until you finish up the first row.
5.12. Lay in a Horizontal Line
You should use your straight edge when placing the tiles. Ensure that you’re done with the horizontal row before moving to the vertical row.
You can apply the tiles on the floors using spacers as you’ve done on the wall.
5.13. Fit the Edges
If you notice that the tiles don’t fit when you get to the edge of the wall, you can cut the tile using a glass cutter. In the tilling process, ensure that the rows have an even grout line.
This will help make the work organized. Make sure that the tiles are left for 48 hours to become solid and dry.
5.14. Tile the Drain Area
It will be very easy to tile a square drain where you have fewer grout lines than a round drain. Follow these steps to tile a round and a square drain;
5.14.1. Round Drain
To tile a round drain, you’ll have to use a tile nipper to make circular cuts. You can use tracing paper as a working template. Ensure that for larger tiles, create an overall template.
For smaller tiles, make use of a template for each piece. Once this is done, apply the thin set to hold it together.
5.14.2. Square Drain
You should draw the shape of the drain with tracing paper and place it on the cardboard.
It is not advisable to use a thin set close to the drain. You’ll have to loosely arrange the tiles and place them according to the template.
5.15. Grout Tile
Grouting the tile should be done after the thin set is solid and dried. Mix the grout and let it sit for about ten minutes. Using a sponge, wet the tiles and use a grout float to insert the grout into the tile spaces.
It is advisable to do this in smaller bits to prevent the grout from drying on the tiles. If, after grouting, you find a residue of grout around the tiles, use a wet sponge to clean the grout.
6. Cost of Tiling a Shower
The cost of Tiling a shower differs based on the quality of the tiles and the size of the bathroom.
The estimated cost per square foot for tile is about $5 to $10. The price of materials may range from $4 to $6 for each foot. The total cost should be around $300 to $600 dollars.
7. Safety Precautions
1. Ensure that you make use of breathing and hearing protection when destroying the old tiles.
2. Make sure to switch off all electrical circuits in the bathroom before you begin your project.
3. Spray water around the area to hold down dust and prevent tile particles from harming you.
8. Final Thoughts
It is not an easy task to tile a shower, but it can be achieved if all the steps and preventive measures are carried out. It can be frustrating as it requires time and patience with no room for any form of mistakes.
It should be done perfectly to prevent any form of disaster. If you’re not up to the task, you can call for professional help.
We hope we’ve been able to satisfy your curiosity about how to tile a shower. Kindly share this information and leave a comment below.
9. Frequently Asked Questions
Listed below are some of the frequently asked questions on how to tile a shower
9.1. Can I tile Without Waterproof Shower Walls?
No, you will have to waterproof your shower before you begin tiling. You should install a vapour barrier where you’ll apply the waterproof paint.
9.2. Where Can I Start Tiling?
You can start tiling from the middle of the wall, spreading to all sides of the wall. You can also start horizontally, and be sure to complete the horizontal row before the vertical row.