How to Tile a Shower Floor

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The shower is where you key up for the day, refresh after a workout or relax after a long day of work. Renovating your shower with a tile floor is an important step in customizing your bathroom. Putting down tiles will improve the appearance of your bathroom and increase the overall value of your house.


Refurbishing a shower floor can be tricky. The floor must be waterproofed, sloped for drainage and comfortable to stand on. This article will show you how to do it all. (This article assumes that the reader has some proficiency in the skills necessary to complete the tasks described.)

Things You'll Need

  • Required Supplies to Retile Your Bathroom:
  • •Two piece shower drain with weep holes
  • •PVC pan liner to cover entire pan plus 1 ft up surrounding walls
  • •Deck mud
  • •Mosaic tiles
  • •Tile ring
  • •Graduat
  • •Ensure that your shower drain has been installed in the proper location with the lower half supported flush with the sub floor.

    •Remove the upper half of the drain and install PVC pan liner (available at home improvement and tile stores).

    •Use galvanized roofing nails to nail the liner at least 12" up the walls surrounding the shower pan.

    •Let the liner relax into the pan, with no stress where the floor meets the walls. Some folding will be required into the corners. Allow the pan liner to overlap the shower curb.

  • •Once the pan liner is installed, slit it lightly over the drain bolts so that the liner will fit snugly to the lower half of the shower drain.

    •Cut out a hole in the pan liner directly over the drain hole.

    •Re-install the top half of the drain and bolt down.

    •Place a galvanized roofing nail or small piece of tile into each of the three weep holes in the drain.

  • •Install your wallboard or backer board after the pan liner has been installed. The backer board should overlap the pan liner.

    •Once the wallboard or backer board it has been installed, use a level to mark a line all the way around the walls approximately an inch above the top of your shower drain.

  • •It's now time to float your pan. Here it is best to use premixed deck mud if it is available at your local home improvement store or tile shop. If not, you can make your own mix with 4 parts sand to 1 part portland cement.

    •Mix the substance in a wheelbarrow or mud pan. Add only enough water to the dry mix to make a "dry pack". When you grab a handful of the mix and squeeze, it should stay together in a ball without feeling wet or mushy.

  • •Once you've mixed your mud, scoop or shovel it into your pan.

    •Start at the rear shower wall and use your level to make sure the mud is even as you apply it along the wall.

    •Gently hand trowel your slope toward the drain. This task will require graduated straight edges, usually manufactured of aluminum and available at tile stores or home improvement stores. These are basically screeds of various lengths. If you don't have the budget to purchase graduated straight edges, you can make your own by cutting down a 1x3 board to the various lengths you'll need.

    •Use the straight edges as needed by placing one end along the shower wall and the other end close to the drain and dragging or working the straight edge at the slope desired. Remember here to allow for the thickness of your tile at the drain. In other words, float your mortarbed approximately 1/4" to 3/8" below the lip of the drain so that the tile will install flush to the drain.

    •Continue this process around the entire shower pan. It will take some time and patience the first time you do it, but the reward is that you'll have a perfectly sloped shower pan. This will, literally, lay the groundwork for a beautiful new shower tile floor.
    •Once you've screeded the slope, use a wood float to pack the mud down. Fill in areas as needed. Again, patience will help you achieve a flawlessly sloped pan so your shower floor renovation will come out right.

    •Place your level or levels from wall to wall to check that your mortarbed is level all the way around the perimeter of the pan. This will have an impact on the way your wall tile installs.

  • •Allow the mortarbed to set for at least 24 hours.

    •Once it has set, you can install your tile ring, which will eliminate the need for nipping or cutting your tile around the shower drain.

    •Now, it should be a fairly straightforward matter of laying out, cutting and installing your mosaic tiles on the shower pan.

    After all this hard work, you should be rewarded with a beautiful new tile floor in your shower, which will certainly improve the look of your bathroom and enjoy your next relaxing shower even more.

    Specialty Home Improvement congratulates you on your successful home improvement project. For even more DIY home projects, check out our entire section of How To Articles.

Tips & Warnings

  • Allow for the thickness of the tile around the drain when floating your shower pan.
  • Use a tile ring to avoid cutting or nipping your tile into a circle around your drain.
  • Install your wall tile first so that any unevenness in your shower pan will not be as noticeable.
  • Photo Credit www.specialtyhomeimprovement.com
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