When tiling a shower, the most important thing to bear in mind is that the end result needs to be completely watertight. Any water that seeps through the tiles can cause damage to the material beneath. Tiling a shower requires a few basic tools and materials, including some non-porous bathroom tiles, a tile cutter, a grout spreader, a flat trowel for spreading the adhesive, some silicone sealant, and some waterproof tile backing board.
Prepare the Shower Walls for Tiling
The first step to making a tiled shower wall waterproof is to prepare the wall by adding a backing board. Tile backing boards are usually made of fibreboard, and their purpose is to protect the wall beneath the tiles from water damage.
Select and Buy Tiles for a Shower
Only water-resistant tiles should be used to tile a shower. Look for non-porous or glazed bathroom tiles that will not let water soak into them. Also, keep in mind that large tiles are easier to clean than small tiles, as there will be less grout in a design that uses larger tiles. Consider buying tiles from online marketplaces like eBay to take advantage of the competitive pricing, especially if a lot of tiles are required.
To know how many tiles to buy, measure the height and width of each shower wall. Divide each measurement by the height or width of the tiles, and then round up to the nearest whole number. Multiplying these numbers together gives the number of tiles needed for each wall, although it is a good idea to buy a few spare tiles in case some break.
Apply Tiles to the Shower Wall
Tilers use adhesive to stick tiles to the prepared wall. Tile adhesive dries quickly, so spread it over just a small section of the wall, and quickly press the first tile into place. Gently rotate the tile slightly to press it into the adhesive until the adhesive holds it firmly in place. Use tile spacers on the corners of the tiles to make sure the gaps between them are all the same size.
Cut Tiles to the Correct Size
As the width and height of each shower wall is unlikely to be equal to a whole number of tiles, some tiles will need to be cut to size so they fit into the strips around the edge. Mark each edge tile at the point where it needs to be cut, and use a tile cutter to trim the tile to precisely the right size.
Grout a Tiled Shower Wall
Grouting is the final stage in the tiling process. It fills in the gaps between the tiles to prevent water from soaking through and creates a beautiful final appearance.
Grout usually comes in a powdered form that needs to be mixed with water. To begin, mix up the grout, and apply it to a small area of tile using a rubber-edged grout spreader. As the tiles are non-porous, the grout will not soak into them or leave stains, so don’t worry about getting grout on the tile surfaces. After pressing the grout firmly into the gaps between tiles, gently wipe away excess grout from the tile surfaces before it sets. Grout a small section at a time so that there is plenty of time to spread the grout into place before it starts to dry.
Seal the Shower
Apply sealant around the edges of each tiled wall and around the shower fittings to prevent water from leaking through the cracks. Silicone sealant guns are available to buy at hardware stores or online and are generally very easy to use. Simply press down on the handle to release the sealant and slowly drag the nozzle along the edge to seal it.