How to Install Ceramic Tile in a Shower?

Setting shower tile is an important skill for any professional tiler. It is deceptively easy. It does require proper measurements and the use of a plumb line. If you are a beginner, you may want to consult a pro before beginning. It is not necessary to remove the existing tiles. But it is important to make sure the shower floor is level. 

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First, you need to determine the height of your shower wall. This can be done by using a tape measure. You will also need a bubble level and a laser level. You should also check the angles of the curb, which is the piece of concrete or plastic you will place underneath the shower base. You should be able to measure a curb’s vertical position from the floor to the ceiling, which is less than a quarter inch. If the wall is not level, you will need to trim the tiles to fit. 

For shower walls, you can use porcelain, ceramic, or glass tile. If you are installing tile on the shower floor, you will need to install a 4-mil plastic vapor barrier. Once the membrane is installed, it will create a water-tight seal around the drain. This will prevent mold and mildew from growing. 

After the membrane is complete, it is time to prepare the area for installing the tiles. The first step is to clean up the surface. Using a damp sponge, wipe away any old grout and debris. If you are removing tiles, wear heavy-duty work gloves. You can then use a prybar to chip off any nails. You can also use a wet saw to cut notches for the handle and the shower head. 

Once the area is clean and dry, you can start setting the tile. The best way to do this is to level the tiles as soon as you can. This will avoid extending the working time of the mortar, which can weaken the bonding strength. It is also a good idea to set the tile in horizontal rows. This will ensure the grout line is even. 

Next, lay down a lightweight board that is about 8 feet long. This will serve as a temporary guide. A straight board can be used as a support for the tile while it dries. You can also track the board to the base of the wall with screws. This will allow the last few rows of tiles to be secured. 

To ensure the edges of the cement board are smooth, you can use painter’s tape to cover the edges. Alternatively, you can use a bullnose tile to finish the edge. If you are installing a backer board, you will need to leave a small gap between the boards. You can either use a thin layer of caulk or use fiber-based tape to seal the joints. 

Once the shower tile is installed, it is a good idea to apply a coat of water-proofing membrane paint over the entire surface. This will help protect the tiles from damage from mold and mildew. Once the membrane is completely dry, you can apply grout sealant.