How to Tile a Shower

Tiles are one way to provide finishing or decorations to floors, walls, or roofs. They can be made of metal, stone, ceramic, or glass. They also come in a variety of textures, designs, colors, shapes, and sizes. One of the most common places where tiles are used is in the bathroom.

Smooth tiles are often used in the shower area so that the texture will not hurt anyone who happens to bump into the walls.


Materials and Tools


  • tiles
  • thinset mortar
  • notched trowelm
  • grout
  • rubber float
  • sponge
  • bathroom silicone caulk
  • tile spacers
  • seam sealer
  • haze remover


Steps to Tiling a Shower


1. Strip the shower stall to studs. This means that everything is stripped off, except the floor pan, walls, ceiling, and hardware.

2. Install a vapor barrier according to the manufacturer’s instructions. This decreases the risk of growing mold and mildew since tile and grout are not waterproof.

a. Wedi board is a light-weight vapor barrier that uses backer boards and a foam center.

b. Kerdi is another option with membranes acting as a vapor barrier.

3. Install cement boards designed for tiles. Putting up cement boards is similar to putting up a dry wall. It is cut to fit the wall and screwed to the studs. Allow a 1/8-inch gap between panels and seal the seams between the panels with 100% silicon caulk.

4. Mark the first row of tiles with a level and a pencil. Make sure the bottom edge of the tiles hit at exactly the bottom of the cement board. Provide an overlap of about half an inch.

5. Mortar the bottom row and install the first row of tiles. Use a notched trowel to spread a thin layer of mortar and set the tile into it by twisting slightly while firmly pressing onto it. The tile should stick on without any other support. This row should be allowed to set for at least half a day because the following rows depend on this one.

6. Repeat the procedure with all the rows of tiles until it reaches the top of the shower stall. Use tile spacers to maintain space on four sides of each tile. Let the tiles set for 48 hours.

7. Use a rubber float to press grout into the open seams. Wipe the excess grout with a damp sponge in a circular motion. Wiping parallel to the seams removes the grout between the tiles.

8. Let the grout cure for 24 to 48 hours before removing the haze and sealing the seams. Commercial cleaners are available to further remove grout haze. Seal the seams with special grout sealers. This prevents water from seeping into the seams behind the tiles.