How to Tile Shower Enclosures
While there are plenty of alternative possibilities, tiling remains the most popular design for those looking to spruce up their bathrooms. It’s not hard to see why: mosaic tiles make for beautiful feature walls; while the brick effect lends a look of timeless traditionalism to a room.
More and more people are trying their hand at fitting tiles themselves. This is to be encouraged, but it’s important to know what you’re doing. Failure to do so could result in damage to your bathroom which you may end up having to pay a professional to repair. But fear not – once you get your head around it, it’s easy enough.
Below you will find a concise step-by-step guide for fitting, cutting, and bringing to life your perfect bathroom design!
Which tiles should I use?
This, of course, comes down to personal preference. Large-format tiles tend to be more popular because they are much easier to clean than smaller formats since there are fewer grout lines to work around. They are practical and offer a sleek, seamless look that can make your bathroom appear more spacious.
But the possibilities are boundless. At Easy Bathrooms, we have a full range of tiles to suit all budgets and designs!
Assemble your tools:
Here’s what you’re going to need:
- Tile cutter (if doing the cut yourself)
- Tile file
Once you’ve chosen which tiles to use, you can get to work preparing to fit them. First, you want to see what you’re working with.
By examining the quality of the existing shower wall, it may be easier – if there are old tiles already fixed to the wall – to start from scratch and remove the entire wall right down to the stud frame.
If you are fitting or re-using the existing shower tray, now is the time to lay down some waterproof membrane on the floor under the tray. This will help to prevent any moisture that runs under the tray from going any further, which may end up rotting and damaging your bathroom.
Pro tip: use waterproof pro boards and seal all the joints with waterproof tape to ensure there’s no water ingress once your shower is in use.
Prepare the wall
Using a water-resistant adhesive, apply enough to fill the full length of the wall, combing it through with your trowel. This will give you the best chance of ensuring a level bed so that all your tiles fit nice and flush.
Fit the tiles
Once you have your tiles cut to size (you can do this yourself using a tile cutter, or have this done professionally) you can now fix them to the wall. Simply press them into the adhesive with enough pressure that they don’t fall off. Put spacers between both sides and under the tiles. This will leave room in between the tiles which you can fill later on with grout!
Most enclosures are tiled using the brickwork effect. This can be achieved by fixing the second course of tiles straddling the joint. Simply measure the tile and find the centre point. Once you’ve done this, line it up with the first course. This continues until you have fitted the last row of tiles.
Cutting to fit
With the brickwork effect, you’re probably going to have to cut the tiles yourself. Because of the nature of the fit, there will be gaps that are slightly too small for a full tile to fill, so you’re going to have to be savvy. This may seem daunting, but it’s straightforward once you get the hang of it.
Simply measure the size of the gap that needs to be filled and cut the tile to scale. This may take a few attempts to perfect, but it’s better to get it right slowly than wrong quickly – so take your time!
Clean as you go
It’s very important to wipe down excess adhesive as this can stain the tiles and ruin the look. So getting rid of it before it sets is crucial. Simply rub a damp cloth over any marks and they should come up without any problems.
Pro tip: using a spacer, rake out as much adhesive as you can from in between the joints, as this is crucial for the final step!
Once you’ve fitted all the rows of tiles into place and are happy with the way they look (and have cleaned away excess adhesive), you need to fill the gaps between the tiles with grout to ensure a strong hold and increased water resistance.
The first step is to ensure that the tile joint is clear of any dust, moisture, adhesive, or any other debris. The very purpose of grouting is to fill those spaces once and for all with a paste that will harden into a waterproof seal.
Both dust and old grout pieces can prevent a good set, so giving them a thorough clean is important. Failure to do so could leave the finish looking uneven and allow water to pass through, which could, over time, cause substantial damage.
You should allow around 24 hours before you use the shower as this gives the grout enough time to solidify. If you use it right away, the grout ceases to be porous which means water can get through – and this can lead to mould, rot or weakening of the tiles!
Feel ready? Great! Now pick the perfect tiles for your bathroom!