How to Tile a Shower

Tiling your shower not only makes the accessory more visually-attractive, but also durability. By following these simple steps to tile your shower, you can create a totally leak-proof shower.

What you will need:

1) Preparation

Gut the shower stall and, if necessary, remove the shower pan and ceiling.

2) Protection (Optional)

Consider installing a vapour barrier prior to further work. This is to protect against mould and mildew; contrary to popular opinion, both tiles and grout may not be enough to protect the space behind them against these problems. If you choose a membranous filter to work specifically against them you will be a lot safer in the knowledge that the area is protected and prevent yourself potential future work.

3) Fitting a cement board backer

Fit a sturdy cement-board backer. This is a similar process to drywall installation; cut the board to fit the wall, fix it and leave a 3mm gap between panels. A hole saw should be used to cut holes where the shower head and handles come through. Make this board is flush with the tile lip of your shower, with shims behind the board to bring it out to the desired thickness. From here, 100 per cent silicone sealant should be used to seal the seams where they meet one another.

4) Mark your layout

Mark your tile layout on the substrate using a pencil. If your shower enclosure walls are not totally square, be careful with the layout. Keep grout lines away from the inside corners as this will avoid the possibility of tiny tiling and poorly-grouted joints. After this, measure the height of a tile minus 1cm from the bottom of the wall, as this gives an row to ensure all tiles will be level.

5) Mixing the tile adhesive

Mix the water resistant tile adhesive for the bottom row according to the instructions on the pack and dampen the back board with a wet sponge. If you fail to carry out this step the cement board will wick moisture out of the water resistant tile adhesive and make it brittle, leaving it susceptible to cracking.

6) Applying the tile adhesive

Trowel on the water resistant tile adhesive and, using a notched trowel, spread it across the wall. Place the tiles and set them using spacers between each one. After completing the bottom row, leave to set for 24 hours.

7) Repeat and leave to dry

Repeat this procedure and continue until you reach the top of the shower, letting the tiles set for 48 hours.

8) Grouting

Grout the tiles and use a sponge to smooth it into the joints. After half an hour, wipe the excess grout with a circular motion. Continue to wipe with a clean sponge until the tile is clear. Please see our “How to Grout” guide for more information.

9) Seal the edges

Let the grout set for three days before sealing.