How to Install Tile in a Bathroom Shower
Learn how to install subway tile with a decorative border in a bathroom shower.
Purchase enough tiles to cover the entire project, accounting for any half pieces, scrap pieces and replacement tiles. Tip: make sure to purchase the tiles all at once as those from a different stock may appear different.
Set the tiles on the floor to grid out the space beginning with the center of the bathroom floor. The dry fit process is especially important if you’re setting a pattern. Make sure you have enough to cover the area and that any patterns end somewhat consistently around the edges.
Once you are satisfied with the placement, trace around the center tile to mark its position and determine what cuts will be needed. Make marks right on the surface floor and on the tiles where cuts are required.
Mix thin-set mortar to the consistency of peanut butter, or use other adhesive as recommended by the tile manufacturer. Spread the thinset or adhesive with a notched trowel directly onto the surface floor starting in the middle of the floor, holding the trowel at a 45-degree angle.
Only mix as much thinset mortar as can be applied in an hour; otherwise it will dry out and not be as effective.
Beginning with the center tile, set the bathroom tiles one by one into the spread mortar or adhesive, giving a wiggle or twist to each tile to ensure a strong bond (Image 1). Insert spacers to keep the tiles separated and allow room for grout (Image 2).
Make any cuts you need to for the best tile fit with a wet-cut tile saw. Mark your cuts first with a wax pencil.
In our project, cuts included a circular cut around the toilet flange (Image 3).
To make a circular cut, make a series of notches into the tile, one right next to the other, allowing them to break out and form a half circle cut-out (Image 4).
Continue tiling to finish the floor, making the necessary tile cuts.
Use sandpaper or a tilestone to smooth out the edge of cut tiles as needed.
Allow the tile to cure overnight or as recommended by the adhesive manufacturer. When the tile is thoroughly dry, remove the tile spacers and finish the floor with grout.
Before applying any recommended grout sealer, allow adequate dry time for the grout.