How to Install Tile in Showers


Installing ceramic tile on the walls around your shower isn't that different from any other project involving wall tile, except for the issue of moisture: Your wall needs to hold up to it. Most of the trick is in the materials, especially use of a special form of drywall that's formulated for high-moisture areas. Also, grouting and caulking once the tiles are in place is important, as they help seal the wall completely. This plan assumes it's only the walls that need tiling and that a standard shower base or tub is already in place.

Things You'll Need

  • Tape measure Pencil Long level T-square 4x8-foot sheets of 1/2-inch thick "wet rock'' (also known as "green'' rock) water-resistant drywall, enough to cover the area to be tiled Carpenter's glue Screwgun Box of 1-inch drywall nails Ceramic tile Bag of plastic tile spacers Tile adhesive Adhesive trowel Powdered grout Grout trowel 6-inch putty knife Bucket
  • Measure the largest wall in the shower, from a bottom corner, and cut a piece of wetrock to fit. Cut the wetrock by standing the piece on its long side, standing the T-square next to it at your pencil mark, cutting one straight line along the T-square with your razor knife, snapping the piece into a right angle at the line, then cutting behind it to separate the pieces.

  • Spread glue around the back of the wetrock and press the glue side against the wall. Use your screwgun to sink drywall screws every 6 inches on the surface of the wetrock into the wall. Repeat for the rest of the pieces to cover the entire wall on all sides of the shower. Make sure there are no four-way intersections of wetrock.

  • Use your tape measure, level and pencil to divide the largest wall into four even squares, taking the two perpendicular pencil lines all the way to the ends on the surface of the wetrock. With your adhesive trowel, spread tile adhesive thickly on the wall within one of the squares, starting at the intersection and moving out a few square feet. Press your first piece of tile right at the corner of the square, so it's bordered by the horizontal and vertical lines. Lay other tiles off that one, staying along the lines and using tile spacers between them. Repeat for each wall until all the full tiles that can fit have been pressed to the wall.

  • To place the last tiles, along the corners and edges where full tiles wouldn't fit, measure the space from each of the last full tiles to the wall. Cut new tiles to size with your platform tile cutter. Press them in with the cut side facing the corner or edge and the factory side facing the other tiles.

  • Allow the tiles to set overnight before grouting. Mix the powdered grout in a bucket with the putty knife until it's the consistency of thick mud. Let it sit for 10 minutes. In the meantime, pop out the plastic spacers from between the tiles with your putty knife. Use the grout trowel to spread the grout over the tile surface, working from the top of each wall and down, and squeezing the excess off the tile surface. Let it sit for 10 minutes, then wipe over the tile with a dampened sponge to take the excess grout off the tiles surfaces.

  • Allow the grout to dry for a day, then caulk along the exterior border of the tiled area, and along the inner corners.

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