How to Prepare and Install Shower Tile in a Bathroom


Nothing makes a bathroom more cheery than a newly tiled shower wall. You’ll learn how to prepare for the installation, take out the old tile, and install the new tile, or simply just visit and contact our tiling expert to get your tiling job done professionally.

How to Get Ready for a DIY Shower Tile Project

Want to update your shower’s subway tile? Start by removing the outdated tile or shower wall made of fibreglass. Because of the dust, cover your entryway with plastic, put on a dust-rated mask, cover the floor with a drop cloth, and ensure there is enough ventilation. Additionally, as tile is heavy, cover the flooring and tub with moving blankets to prevent harm from stray fragments.

Remove the bathroom tile first.

To take out the tile, move across with a hammer and chisel. Any screws should be cut using a reciprocating saw. It’s occasionally possible to remove the old tile with a hammer and chisel without harming the backer board, but it’s frequently challenging. I’m going to swap out the backer board.


Turn off the electricity to the whole bathroom and any neighbouring rooms before you start removing tile. Before starting the demolition, take off any outlets or wiring fittings if you’re tiling a wall with them.

Step 2: Carry out the Necessary Repairs and Renovations

Examine the area behind the old tile after removing it. To protect the walls from moisture and mould, if there is drywall, take it out and replace it with cement backer board. Above the shower head, you may use drywall, but everything below it needs to be coated with cement backer board.

Verify that the studs are in good shape and that no mould is present. Stop working right once and get a specialist to remove any mould you spot. Now is the time to install a new tub or shower pan, reroute any necessary electrical or plumbing, or do any other such work. To bring everything up to current with contemporary requirements, we chose to replace our shower valve and install some PEX piping.


Be cautious when near plumbing. Just cut to the depth of the drywall.

Step 3 entails installing the tile backer board.

Only in the wet shower area do you need to use a backer board in the bathroom. In order to create a smooth transition from one to the other, use a backer board that is the same thickness as the drywall.

Make your board cuts based on the work area’s measurements. Backer boards can be cut by marking them, scoring them with a knife, and then snapping them along the cut. To reduce the amount of silica dust created, use hand tools. Use a jigsaw with a carbide blade for curves.

Concrete backer board screws, not drywall screws, should be used to fasten the backer board to the studs. Set a 1/4-inch expansion gap at the base of the object using shims. For this step, holding the backer board in place as you attach it might require assistance. Before putting the studs, mark them so you’ll know where to drill.


It’s dusty when cutting cement board. Make any required cuts for exterior plumbing.

Step 4: Tape the Backer Board’s Joint.

Use cement backer board drywall tape to seal the seams between the boards and the wall after all the boards have been installed. Then apply thinset mortar on the tape.

Step 5: Apply sealant to the backer board.

We employed a paint-on waterproof tile membrane for our shower renovation. Then, use a roller to cover all of the exposed backer board after first brushing it onto all of the seams. Add a second layer when the first one has completely dried.

How to Install Tile on the Shower Wall.

After you have prepared the space, follow these instructions to install shower tiles.


Choose a shower wall tile in step one.

Before continuing, choose your tile once the second coat has dried and the entire shower area has been prepared. Prior to beginning the tile installation, you must have a design plan. We decided on a running bond design for our shower.

Calculate the quantity of tile you’ll need. Take a measurement of each wall area by multiplying the width by the height. Add 10% more to the total wall area so you have extra tile for errors or future repairs.

Try to find cartons with the same dye lot number when utilising ceramic tile. Mix tiles from various boxes when installing if you can’t locate matching numbers so that any colour variance won’t be as obvious.

Create a shower tile pattern in step two.

Plan your pattern next. To avoid having a bunch of little tiles at the ends of the rows, centre a tile horizontally down the length of the wall and quickly dry-fit it. If so, change your design so that the side tiles are broader.

Start your plan for the vertical arrangement at the top of the wall so that the top will have full, uncut tiles. The tiles will be at the bottom, where the tub or shower pan may be somewhat off of level, if you do need to trim them to fit.

Start your installation with the second row of tiles if you intend to trim the bottom row. The area for your second row of tiles should be measured and marked. After making sure your mark is level, fasten a board to the wall to serve as a guide.

Use the tile mortar in Step 3.

In accordance with the directions on the box, prepare some thinset mortar. You want the consistency of creamy peanut butter.

Working on a tiny area at a time, apply the thinset. To texture the thinset, use the trowel’s notched side. If you’re unsure about which trowel to use or what notch size to employ, consult the manufacturer’s recommendations, which are provided by every tile manufacturer.

Fourth: Trim and set up the shower tile

firmly press your tile into position. Make a score down the length of the tile using a tile cutter, then cut firmly. To cut curves, use a tile hole saw or tile nippers. For exposed edges, use bullnose; alternatively, use trim pieces. To maintain uniform spaces between the tiles, use tile spacers.

Make sure everything is level by checking frequently. After installation, it’s a good idea to remove one tile off to make sure the thinset is adhering to the entire tile. Use a bigger notched trowel if not.


Fill a plastic sandwich bag with mortar and clip the corner by 1/2 inch for bullnose or edge tile pieces. The same method used to pipe cake frosting should be used to apply the mortar.

Install the lower row of shower tiles in step five.

After placing the tiles, take off the guide board and finish the bottom row. All or more of these tiles will likely need to be cut. Ensure that the bottom has a 1/4-inch expansion space.

Sixth step: apply the grout

Remove the spacers and have the wall ready for grout once the thinset has cured for 24 hours. Consult the manufacturer’s recommendations because most tiles have a suggested grout that complements them nicely.

Using a rubber grout float, apply a little amount of freshly mixed grout at a time. Working it in diagonally will help it fit into the gaps. To prevent scratching glass, glossy marble, or metal tile, only use unsanded grout.

Scrub the fresh tile in Step 7.

Use a moist sponge to remove any excess once it has cured for about 10 minutes, being careful not to remove any of the grout from the joint.

Use a grout haze remover to clean the tile faces once the grout has completely dried. Be patient as it may require multiple applications to completely eliminate the haze.

Seal the tile and grout in step eight.

Apply a silicone sealer to the corners, edges, and joints and a grout sealant to the grout after a few days of drying.

Replace the fixtures in Step 9

Replace any lighting and plumbing fittings you removed once the tile installation is complete, and add any finishing touches, such more grout haze remover treatments.


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