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Bathroom How-To

How to Install Tile in a Bathroom Shower (page 4 of 4)

Learn how to install subway tile with a decorative border in a bathroom shower.

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  • Time

    Several Weekends

  • Price Range

    $1,000 - $2,500

  • Difficulty

    Moderate to Hard

Step-by-Step Instructions:

Complete the Shower Floor

Next finish setting the shower floor with thinset. The shower floors are tiled with 2" x 2" tiles (Image 1).

Setting the floor tiles is the same as the walls: apply thinset on the floor, slide tiles into place and pat them down with the rubber grout float. If the floor has been poured perfectly, you don't have to worry about the pitch because all that work has been done already.

Important: Set the floor tiles last to avoid stepping on it while you tile the walls.

For the angled tiles around the drain, you will need to use a special tool to get the right shape. Mark the tile where you need to cut it. Use a tile nipper (Image 2) and chip away at the mark.

When you can't trowel the thinset directly on the surface, back butter the tiles individually with the notched trowel.

Grout the Shower Walls

When the tile has set, mix the grout for the shower walls. Use a mix of 75 percent sanded grout and 25 percent non-sanded grout. Sanded grout is difficult to get into small joints so adding non-sanded grout helps thin it out so it can be applied more easily and aids application on walls.

Grout comes in many colors so use one that best matches your tiles. In our project, we used a cornsilk-colored grout, the same color used on the floor, in a thick oatmeal-like consistency.

Use a rubber float to apply the grout (Image 1). Start at the bottom and work your way up, keeping the float at an angle to the joints.

Once all the joints in a section are filled, let it dry a little bit, then wipe the grout off the surface with a sponge and clean water (Image 2).

Once the tiles have been cleaned up, allow them to set and dry.