Tiling a Shower Wall — Should You Do It Yourself?

Are you thinking about tiling a shower wall? The styles and colors of available tile are endless and there are many qualified and experienced contractors to tile a shower wall for you. Just be sure to check licensing and credentials before hiring an installer to tile a shower wall.

Are you thinking about tiling a shower wall yourself? Well that is a different animal altogether. There are still a myriad of tile styles and colors, but you’ll have to research tiling a shower wall on your own. The Stone Cobblers in Worcester, Massachusetts will help save you a step in tiling your shower wall with the help of this article from Buzzle.


Tiling a Shower Wall

If you are thinking of tiling a shower wall of your bathroom, then you need complete step by step instructions. In this article we are going to discuss all about how to tile a shower wall of your bathroom.

A very good way for increasing the durability of your bathroom interiors and fittings is by installing tiles. Bathroom tiles are available in a wide variety of designs, styles, materials and finishes. Some bathroom tiles are very expensive and requires skilled professionals for installing them, whereas others are considerably budget friendly, and you can install them yourself. The best tiles for a shower wall are ceramic or porcelain. They are durable, easy to clean, budget friendly and are easy to install as well. There are many shower tile ideas, and you can choose them based on your bathroom decor and style.

How to Tile a Shower Wall

The right bathroom tile selection should not only be based on color, design and shower tile patterns, but also on the amount of moisture it will absorb. Many tiles which comes with the label of “Nonvitreous” or “Semivitreous”, should be strictly avoided, for tiling a shower wall, since they absorb water. You need shower wall tiles to be high density glazed tiles that will absorb no water at all. Since shower enclosures remain moist, if the tiles absorb water they will rot and damage the walls. So, the best tiles for a shower wall is porcelain or bathroom ceramic tiles.

For installing bathroom shower tiles, the first step is to prepare the wall surface on which the tiles will be installed. To support the tile and to protect the shower wall, you need to first install ½ inch or ¼ inch cement wallboard. With the help of a circular saw or carbide blade cut the cement board to fit into the area that is to be tiled. Apply thinset mortar and fasten galvanized screws to anchor the board into place. Once this is done, you need to think about the layout of the tiles. Draw a horizontal line by using a level to give you an idea of where the first row of tiles is to be installed. Mark a vertical line to signify the center of the shower wall.

With the help of a trowel, apply a pre-mixed thinset mortar on the cement boards. Make sure that the mortar is applied evenly over a 3 by 3 feet area. Now take a single piece of tile and starting from the bottom left hand corner, press it firmly in place. Ensure that the bottom edge of the tile is level with the horizontal line you had made earlier. When this first tile is firmly set, install the next tile. After you are done tiling the first row of the shower wall, check with a level to make sure that you have tiled in a straight line. A tile spacer can be used to make sure that the distance of the tiles, as well as their position, are precise.

When you have to cut a tile, to accommodate bathroom fixtures, make sure that you first measure at what distance you have to cut the tiles. Trim the edges of the cut tile with a micro cutter evenly. Install cut tiles the same way as regular tiles. Once you are done with shower tile installation, leave the tiles to dry and set for 24 hours. With the help of grout float, apply grout one tile at a time. A damp and clean cloth should be used to clean the surface of the tile, if any grout gets on it. Allow the tiles to set for another 24 hours before using the bathroom shower.

You can also tile the rest of the bathroom in a similar way. Although, tiling a shower wall might seem intimidating, you can reduce labor cost by simply doing it yourself. This home improvement project can be done on a weekend and you will love the end result. Now that you know how to install bathroom tiles, you too can give it a shot next time you are remodeling your bathroom. Shower tile installation is all about getting the right bathroom tiles and installing them accurately and precisely.

Like the article states, there are nonvitreous and semivitreous tiles that you need to stay away from when tiling a shower wall. What you’ll need when tiling a shower wall is vitreous tiles that will completely repel water. Vitreous simply means resembling, derived from or containing glass. In other words, they are shiny and nonporous. Stick to these when tiling a shower wall.

Some other helpful hints for tiling a shower wall include:

  • Mark out the area of the shower wall before tiling. You’ll want to create a grid over the area, marking the center of the shower wall. This will give you an overview before you start tiling a shower wall.
  • Keep in mind that tile mortar takes only about 10 minutes to dry. You don’t want to set out more mortar than you can fill in 10 minutes when tiling a shower wall. If it does dry, you’ll need to reapply the mortar.
  • Be sure to follow the rule of applying grout one tile at a time. This is the final step of tiling a shower wall, and trust us – you don’t want to rush it.
  • Never underestimate the power of tile spacers. The amount of effort you use in tiling a shower wall is good reason #1 to use tile spacers. The permanence of the tiles once you’ve finished tiling a shower wall is reason #2 to use tile spacers.

While The Stone Cobblers pride ourselves on our professionalism and experience in installing stone and tile, we are also proponents of do-it-yourself projects. Having said that, when tiling a shower wall yourself, be sure to take into account the learning curve factor. Being realistic about your time constraints and skill sets when tiling a shower wall will allow you to make the decision that is right for you – do it yourself, or hire a contractor.

If you’re tiling a shower wall in Worcester, Massachusetts or the surrounding area, and decide that you’d prefer outside help, please contact The Stone Cobblers. And keep us in mind for your other stone projects such as kitchen counters, fireplace hearths and surrounds, and flooring. Custom work is our specialty!