Untold shower tile installation steps tips and tricks

Installing shower tiles is a difficult task for some customers. Here we have unsaid tips and tricks that you can do yourself by following these steps.

Installing shower tiles is not for the faint of heart. This home improvement project guides you through the three main steps of shower tile installation, including shower waterproofing, tile installation, grouting, and caulking.

This article also contains affiliate links, but I do not wholeheartedly recommend them. Today we’re talking about tiling, but this time it’s about shower tile installation. Shower tiles are mainly divided into three stages:

Waterproof shower
Install the tiles
Grout and sealing
This DIY project is not for the faint of heart! Although installing shower tiles is quite a laborious project, you can certainly save yourself a fortune by doing it yourself. Do your research and make sure you understand all the steps. As with any project, there are several trips to the hardware store during the process.

To get you started, here are the devices we used for this project:

Excellent silicone sealant Seal
100% Premium Silicon Max silicone sealant for kitchen and bathroom (for shower niche)
Wisconsin Dam
Staple gun
Amazing board
Concrete screws
knife tool
Cement tape
thin mortar
Shower Tile – We used this classic white subway tile
Tile saw
Rubber slurry float
Shower niche insert

Part 1. Waterproof shower

Before installing the tile, you need to make sure that your shower is waterproof. Contrary to popular belief, only grout and tiles are not waterproof. In fact, they are highly porous surfaces that absorb moisture.

If you don’t waterproof your shower, you could end up with a moldy, dangerous bathroom that needs remodeling! To waterproof our shower, we attached the viscose barrier directly to the studs under the cement board. If water somehow penetrates behind tiles, thin mortar, and backboards, it can protect interior walls. Likewise, if your shower tile is properly installed, it is unlikely that water will back up.

But if it is, it can cause a lot of problems, so you want to make sure you create a waterproof barrier… you know, just in case. As an extra safety net, you can add maximum silicone to the backplate screws. This helps to waterproof where the cement board is damaged. A cement backer serves as the base layer behind the shower tiles.

It has no organic matter. Therefore, it is not prone to mold, rot, shrink or decompose due to moisture. The tiles can be attached directly to the backboard and the construction is strong and durable. When installing tiles, you need a backing that accepts thin mortar, so your tiles stick to the wall.

Although cementitious coating is not “waterproof” per se, it is “dimensionally stable when wet,” meaning it does not swell. Cement coating also provides an excellent surface for thin mortars as it has a mesh cushion. You may be wondering if you can use only green boards when installing shower tiles.

You’ll find that while green leaves are good for wet areas, it’s not a good idea to use them on shower walls that are exposed to a lot of water. Once the adhesive barrier is nailed to the studs, you can attach the drywall with drywall screws where the studs are, spaced every 6 to 8 inches.

Start your first cement board screws 1/2″ to 2 1/2″ from the edge of the board (according to the manufacturer’s instructions on the Wonderboard we used). As I mentioned earlier, if you want to waterproof the shower, you can tap the area where you put the cement board screws.

Make sure all corners and seams of the shower cement board are taped with cement tape, then trowel the flat part with thin mortar. This is a great way to glue two boards together so that there is a stable support behind the tiles. Once your tiles are laid, you don’t want the boards to move, which can lead to cracking.

Part 2. Install the shower tiles

When choosing shower tiles (you’ll love this article if you need great modern farmhouse tile ideas), keep in mind that the smaller the tile, the more time consuming it is.

The size of the shower tile is directly related to the strength of the installation process. Most customers like the look of the classic 3×6 white subway tile. So we have a tough job ahead of us.

If you like the look of your tiles in smaller sizes, consider mosaic tiles – this means they fit together on the mat, making installation a little quicker. Probably one of the most important parts of installing shower tile is making sure it’s nice and flat. If you are installing tile on top of your tub like we did, you need to make sure your tub is perfectly level.

Finally, make sure the walls are square. The bottom row of tiles must be perfectly level, take your time on this one. Continue showering with tiles. Cut debris as needed with a wet tile saw. In this article you can learn how to use a wet tile saw. Hands down, I think my favorite part of the whole bathroom is our cute little shower. Cement tiles behind the bathroom add a lot of character, don’t you think!?

Part 3. Grout and sealing

After installing the shower tile, wait 24 hours to make sure everything is completely dry, then it’s time to grout. Mortar bricks are really easy. Simply place it on the tiles and use a rubber float held at 45 degrees to push the grout into any gaps between the tiles. Then clean with a slightly damp sponge.

Be sure to read the manufacturer’s instructions for how long to leave the grout on before you wipe it off with a damp sponge. We thought 10-20 minutes would be enough and we could go back and wipe it off (like we did on the tiles last week), but we couldn’t. When we came back and cleaned it, the material had hardened.

We ended up having to go back and scrape the grout off the tiles, which was a very tedious process (about 3.5 hours for the two of us), so be careful with the drying time. To remove the hardened grout, Logan used this handheld grout remover to scrape the hardened grout off the tile and clean up the grout lines, while I used a razor blade. At this stage, you should check the grout lines and make sure they are clean and tidy.

Repair whatever is needed, then wait at least 2 hours to remove the grout mist from the tile with a grout mist remover. Distilled white vinegar mixed with water also works well. Generally, mix 3 parts water to 1 part vinegar. Once the grout is complete, it’s time for caulking—the final part of the project.

If you’re not sure what type of caulking to use and how to apply it, check out our complete caulking tips and tricks article! Make sure the area you want to seal is clean and dry. We recommend using rubbing alcohol on the seams to remove the residue.

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