Part "1" How to install tile on shower, tub wall - STEP BY STEP !
How to Tile a Shower
A tiled shower adds beauty and durability and value to your home, and you can tile your shower all by yourself. There are several things you need to do to properly prepare a leak-proof shower. If you are tiling a shower for the first time, consult with a general contractor before starting the job.
Preparing the Shower for Tiles
Gut the shower stall down to the studs.You may need to remove the shower pan and ceiling, as well. Do not put down any plastic because this can trap moisture and lead to rotting. Instead, use a product that you can paint on to help prevent moisture.
Choose a vapor barrier to install and introduce according to manufacturer directions.If you fail to install a vapor barrier, you might grow mold and mildew as moisture from your shower escapes through the tiles and into walls. Improperly installed tile and grout can allow water vapor to pass into the space behind.
- When installing a vapor barrier on an exterior wall, it may be helpful to seal a plastic vapor barrier to the concrete floor but not all the way up to the top of the ceiling. With insulation improperly installed, or in colder climates, there's a chance that condensation that formsbehindthe vapor barrier will cause the framing members to rot. In order to avoid that possibility, install the vapor barrier with space to spare so that the gap behind the vapor barrier can breathe. Use a roll on product, such as Red Guard.
- Wedi boards are another option some consider even better than cement board. If you choose a membranous barrier such as Trugard or Kerdi, you can install plain old drywall or you can just install a cement board instead.
Put up a sturdy cement board backer.Putting up cement board is just like putting up drywall. You cut it to fit using a grinder with a diamond bit, and then screw it to the studs. Leave a 1/8" gap between panels and then a very small space between the shower pan and the bottom of the backer so that the two don't squeak by rubbing together.
- Use a hole saw with a carbide bit to cut the holes where the shower head and handles would come through.
- Make the cement board flush with the tile lip of your shower pan by using shims behind the board to bring it out to the desired thickness. Make sure to use composite shims.
- Use 100% silicone caulk to seal the seams between the panels and then apply the silicone behind the board on the stud. Add some seam tape between the panels as well.
Lay the drywall.If using crown molding near the ceiling, lay down 12 to 18 inches (30.5 to 45.7 cm) of drywall instead of cement board. Nails used to fix the crown molding in place will not travel through the cement backer; you'll need to use moisture-resistant drywall such as greenboard in order to take the nails and affix the molding.
Feather any edges with seam tape and thin set mortar where the backer board meets the wallboard.If there's a gap between the backer board and the wallboard, you'll want to use seam tape and then feather the gap with thin set mortar so that it appears as one continuous back. Remember that the seams must remain tight with gaps 3/16" or smaller.
Paint a water resistant primer over any areas you intend to tile.After you've feathered the edges to remove the gap, apply a high quality water resistant exterior primer over the feathered wallboard and backer.
Laying the Tiles
Mark your tile layout on the substrate and mark out your first course carefully.If your shower enclosure walls are not perfectly square, or if you plan to install accent tiles, the layout of these tiles becomes increasingly important. Measure up from the bottom of the backer board the height of a tile minus 1/2". This will give you a 1/2" overlap over the tile lip on your shower pan. Make sure that you allow room for the grout joints as well. Mark this with a sharpie or chalk and using a level, transfer the mark across the shower stall. This will be a guide for the top of the first row so that all tiles will be level. Only use dry tiles make sure that the lay out works as well.
- Another way to plan out the first row of tiles is to measure the high part and low part of the shower pan. Make the cut spot on the low end a full tile, mark it, and then cut the tiles on the high side down to the level of the uncut tile on the low side.
- Keeping grout lines away from the inside corners of the enclosure can prevent the need for tiny tiles and poor grout joints. Plan accordingly and always make cuts tight on the inside corner.
Mix enough thin-set for the bottom row.You want your thin-set to be the consistency of peanut butter — not too thick or it will dry out and not too thin or you'll have a hard time setting the mortar with strength and cleaning.
- Use an electric drill and a mortar mixing bit attached to your drill to mix your thin-set mortar. This will ensure even consistency and ultimately a better product. Let the mortar set for seven minutes and then mix it again.
Dampen the cement board with a sponge before applying the mortar.If you do not, the cement board will draw the moisture out of the thin-set too quickly, making for a brittle set that is susceptible to cracking.
Trowel some thin-set onto the back of the tile and spread it with a notched trowel.This process is called "back buttering." Apply mortar to the backer board along with back buttering and then set the tiles on top of that. It's a lot cleaner, too!
- Be sure not to apply too much mortar to the back of a tile. You only need a little in each corner and a little dab in the middle for back buttering. More isn't necessarily better when it comes to thin-set. Keep in mind that back buttering is only necessary when you are using a larger tile (8" x 8" or larger) and you only need to add a little dab of thin set mortar to each corner.
Set the first tile in the middle of the wall (or floor).This will create a pleasant visual effect and allow each tile that is placed beside it on either side seem centered. After back buttering, simply press the tile onto the backer board and apply pressure to make sure that the mortar adhered properly to both the tile and the backer board. Then, give the tile a little twist and tap each one with a rubber mallet, especially the floor tiles.
- Wipe away any excess thin-set mortar after pressing the tile onto the backer. Although you'll be grouting and caulking between the tiles, it's best not to leave any thin-set on oozing out from the sides of the tile. Dig out any oozing thin-set that you notice. Simply wipe away excess thinset with your finger or a Q-tip.
- Use small shims or other spacers to allow a small amount of space between the bottom of the tile and the lip of the shower pan.Small pieces of cardboard work great as makeshift shims. After the mortar is set, you can simply remove these shims and caulk between the lip of the pan and the bottom of the tile.
Continue laying the tile, making sure to use spacers in between tiles.Spacers will leave you identifiable grout lines between tiles. Small 1/16" or 1/8" spacers (or even bigger) can be placed at several places on the x- and y-axis of the tile to leave adequate space for an even grout line.
Repeat the procedure, setting each row of tile on top of the last row of tile.Continue until you reach the top of the shower stall. Measure up from top of the last row. Mark the line with a level as a guide for your next row. Spread thin-set onto your tiles with v-notched trowel and place the tile just below the marked line. Use spacers all around.
- Make sure to measure every third or fourth row to ensure that you have an even grout line.
Let the tile set for 48 hours.This will make sure that the mortar has adhered properly to both the tile backing and the cement board backer.
Finishing up the Job
Grout the tile.Mix up a batch of grout and let it rest for 5 to 7 minutes. Lightly wet the area you'll be grouting with a damp sponge and dump a bit of grout onto the area. Use a rubber float to smooth it into the joints, attacking each joint at a diagonal angle. After 30-40 minutes (check the directions on the bag of grout) you want to wipe the excess grout with a damp sponge and a circular motion. Keep wiping with a clean sponge until the tile is clear.
- The tiles may look a bit hazy even after wiping, so you may have to buff them with a clean sponge to get rid of this haze.
Let the grout cure for approximately 3 days before sealing.Then, seal the grout. Run a thin bead of liquid grout or aerosol grout sealer onto the grout line and wipe away. Let dry and then test its water resistance by dropping water onto the sealed grout. Correctly sealed grout will cause the water to bead up on top of it.
Caulk any needed areas.Make sure to use a grout caulk to match the colors. As you caulk, remember to pull the caulk gun relatively quickly across the joint. Most amateurs caulk too slow and end up dropping too much caulk down on the joint. Other things to remember:
- Keep the tip angled as you run the bead along the joint.
- Match the speed with which you pull the caulk gun trigger with the rate at which you pull the gun along the joint. You don't want to be pulling the gun fast but triggering slowly, or vice versa.
- After applying the bead of caulk, "bed" it by running a damp finger across the bead with light pressure.
- Make sure that your grout chalk matches the grout.
- Let the caulk dry and redo it if you are not happy with the results.
QuestionWhat is the best way to fix a gap that's uneven between the top of shower wall tiles and the ceiling in the shower?
General ContractorGeneral ContractorExpert AnswerTo fix the gap between wall tiles and the ceiling, I recommend using a nice piece of trim or decorative tile.Thanks!
QuestionDo I need to use a shower pan?
General ContractorGeneral ContractorExpert AnswerWhen tiling a shower, using a shower pain is necessary. You can consider using a pre-made vinyl base.Thanks!
QuestionWouldn't the tile be too heavy and weigh down the row below it? My dad had a professional do his shower, and they came back several days in a row laying tile each day to be sure it set before adding the next row.wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerThis is usually only for the very first row on the bottom. Once that row is firm, the rows added on top won't slide down the adhesive backing.Thanks!
QuestionHow is the shower pan attached to prevent movement?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerIf the underlying floor is level, then the base is screwed to the studs. If not, then a sand mix cement is poured on the floor with the base placed over it and leveling the pan before the cement hardens. Shims may be used to temporarily to hold the base in place.Thanks!
QuestionShould I use silicon caulk or grout between the tile and the ceiling?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerYou must use caulk as the ceiling can and does move relative to the wall. If you use grout, it will crack.Thanks!
QuestionThe American Standard shower pan shows the cement board on top of the pan, then the tile over the pan on the first row. How do you get grout to stick to the tile part that overlaps the pan?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerYou use the same caulk here that you would use in the corner joint, as the shower pan may still be prone to slight movement. Grout would be unforgiving under those circumstances.Thanks!
QuestionDo I grout inside corners, silicone caulk them, or both?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerUse a siliconized acrylic latex caulk. Grout manufacturers make sanded and unsanded caulk matched perfectly to the color of your grout. It is ideal for corners and the joint between your shower pan or tub.Thanks!
QuestionIs it common to install the shower bench on the same side as the shower head?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerYes, that way the person using the shower can easily adjust temperature/shower head angle and still use the shower.Thanks!
When I am tiling the walls outside the shower half way down the wall, how do I determine what height the walls should be?
Is there a proper way to run my thin set lines?
What is the right size for the shower saddle?
How do I tile in a bathroom?
A shower corner bench block is installed, sitting on the shower pan lip. The block is tile ready. The corner bench is then tiled, leaving a gap from the shower pan floor. What is the best way to seal this gap? A strip of tile to fill in and then grouted and sealed?
- Remember you are not going to grout at the corners, you are going to caulk, so try to maintain an even spacing.
- Wiping off grout with a damp sponge while it is not quite dry helps making the grout lines smooth and saves tedious scraping later. Also, buffing with cheesecloth (removing the haze after grout is dry) lets you smooth them further (pretty much like sanding in woodwork).
- Pick out the right trowel for your thinset and tile size, also pay attention to spacing recommendations and use the right spacers. Use 1/8” or less spacing so that you can use unsanded grout (easier to seal).
- Make sure you do not use wall tiles on floor. Floor tile can be used on walls. Depending on the size of the tile and its installed location will determine the size of the trowel used for the thinset.
- Place cardboard cut to the shape of your shower pan and taped in place to avoid damaging the fixture.
- Do not use Mastic. Use a thinset and stay away from the premixed stuff, unless you are using an extra strength type on a dry surface.
- Don't grout the whole shower at once. You will want to be able to wipe the grout after it sets, but before it is too hard to remove from the tile.
- Make sure the ceiling fan is connected to a ground fault interrupted circuit. These inexpensive safety devices satisfy many building codes.
Sources and Citations
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