How to Plan the Wall Layout for a Tile Shower

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Proper layout before installing wall tiles in a shower is crucial. It allows you to balance the design, minimize the number of cuts and estimate the number of tiles needed. Prior to beginning the measurement and layout process, you should have an idea of the design you are planning, so that you do not make mistakes from planning on the fly.

Things You'll Need

  • Tape measure
  • Chalk line
  • Felt-tip pen
  • 4-foot level
  • Tile
  • Measure the tiles by butting 10 tiles together, including spacers, and measuring the total length of the row. Divide the total length by 10 to get the unit dimension, which will be used for the layout.

  • Measure the height of the shower wall to be tiled and draw a horizontal line through the midpoint with a felt tip pen. Extend the line to all three walls of the shower using a 4-foot level to create the mid-height line.

  • Measure the width of the back wall of the shower and draw a vertical line through the midpoint, using a 4-foot level. Extend the line to create the mid-width line.

  • Divide the mid-width dimension by the tile unit dimension. If the remainder value is less than half a tile, shift the vertical centerline by one half of a tile and snap a new vertical reference line with the chalk line. Repeat for the mid-height reference.

  • Snap more lines vertically and horizontally to mark off 8- to 12-square-foot rectangles as guidelines for aligning the tiles.

Tips & Warnings

  • When tiling begins, start on the outside edges with full tiles, both for appearance and so that the edges will be rounded. Inside corners can accept cut tiles because the cut edges can be concealed.

References

  • Tiling: The Essential Guide to Home Decoration; Cassell and Parham; 2000
  • Tiling 1-2-3; The Home Depot; 2001
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