How to Build a Tile Shower

Build a Tile Shower
Build a Tile Shower (Image:

Building a new tile shower can be a hard job if you let it. This step by step article will give you a some simple to use materials ideas and the technic needed build a tile shower.

Things You'll Need

  • Tape Measure, Tile cutter, Tile nippers,
  • Combination square, Framing square, Notched trowel, Level, Hammer, Rubber mallet, Floor scraper
  • Caulking gun and caulk, Chalk line, Screwdriver,
  • Putty knife, Utility knife
  • Large sponge, Grout mixing tray
  • Tile, Backer board, Grout, Roofing nails, Mastic, Spacers, if needed for your job, Grout sealer

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In our example we will build a stand up tile shower with a store bought glass door and 1 glass wall that is 3x3 any wall touching the ceiling in the bathroom would already be in place, this would be your typical bathroom corner shower project. Like with any building project planning can go a long way, actually estimating your building materials before you get started can save you a lot of time from running back to your local lumber store to get your job started and or finished. If needed a cheap simple solution is to have your material list made online, there is a lot of Freelance Construction Estimators online that could make a complete material list for you right from there desktops

Getting started we want to measure from the center of our drain(if its center) getting the inside measurement of the shower we are building, next we will run a 3" double 2x4 lip for everywhere there isnt a wall. This lip is for the glass door and the glass wall to set on. next we will need some tile adhesive and Schluter corners (Dilex-HKW Dilex-EKE and RonDec) we will then start with the corners where the floor and wall meat, get a nice thick run of adhesive about 5" up the wall and 5" out floor. Next you will cut your Schluter coner angle(HKW) to fit,(example our 3" shower we would cut 4 corner angles(HKW) at 2'10" taking off 1" of the size of the EKE added one 3 way EKE to each corner.(what these do is connect 3 of corner angles(HKW) into one at the top corner)After all floor corners are in push them into the corners tight and smooth the surface. Next put some adhesive in the corners of the walls running up to the height of the tile and or ceiling going 5" both ways like with the floor. Then add in your coner angles(HKW) to fit, the ones in the corner where the wall and the 3" lip meat just run the HKW the height of the tile and or wall,(where the HKW passes the 3" lip cut it and fold it to the wall) where the 3" lip corner is you would just add the a HKW in there to fit, but after you figure in your measurement for the RonDec that will be setting on top of both sides of the 3" lip.(RonDec will have to be cut at a 45 degree angle and or the angle needed to run it on top of the 3" lip around any turns) after your done you should have all the inside HKW corners in, the outside RonDec corners and your 3 way inside EKE corners in. Also since we are using Schluter material for this part we just got two jobs done at the same time. If you where looking at it right now you would see that there is a lip for your tile to start on and the outside finished product for the tile when its done. If you never have done a tile job before the first starting roll of tile and the outside corners are the hardest part of the project.

Next put some tape over your plumbing hole/drain and run the tile adhesive a little thick with the notched side of the trowel, find yourself a straight 2x4 cut it 8" smaller then the size of our shower, smooth out the center leaving a 4" lip of thicker tile adhesive along the walls. Next smooth out the tile adhesive with the flat side of the trowel making a small slope to the center drain.(where the tile adhesive meats the drain the tile adhesive needs to be about 1/4" or to the finish height of the drain fixture what ever is higher) then go back over it with the notched side of the trowel this time sloping in the 4" we left around the walls to the center. When its time to put the tile adhesive on the walls you would just add the adhesive a little thick with the notched side of the trowel. Note try not to get to far ahead of yourself with the tile adhesive.

Time to Tile, If your want a mortar line on your floor you would use the spacers to give you the width that you would like,(standard is 1/4) for a first timer, a mortar line can be your best friend. First get one tile set in each corner, after they are set fill in all floor tiles working from the outside in, cut where needed. After the floor tile has had time to set up, next the wall tile will be set like above but you will need to take your time, start off the top the HKW corners filling in all tile till the walls are fulled in. Let the tile set to the time stated on your bag of adhesive, or just let it set overnight.

Now your ready to set your mortar when mixing your mortar be careful not to add to much water its better to keep it thick, use a plastic trowel to fill in the gap from your spacers after you remove them, if you used them. Start with one wall at a time, mortar then wipe it clean with a wet sponge, repeat till the walls are filled in with mortar and the tile is wiped clean. Let the mortar set overnight then add a coat of tile sealer and caulk.

Note: Current industry standards do not recommend the use of water resistant gypsum board for use in shower enclosures. Ceramic, porcelain, and stone tile

Tips & Warnings

  • Plan for success, because no plan is a sure plan to fail.
  • Safety First
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