When learning how to tile a shower, there are several things that you have to consider. This is not a project that a first time do-it-yourselfer can usually tackle without help. A lot of preparation goes into a leak-free shower. Therefore you should consider a few things before you get started. Let's look at six things that are important.
The first thing to think about is what kind of tile to get. You definitely want a good quality tile in your shower. This is not usually the place to put the bargain basement $.39 tile that you found on the street corner. A shower is such small square footage that you can get $10/ square foot tile and it won't cost you that much. Make sure it's something that you like and won't mind looking at every day for several years. It's probably a good idea to get a porcelain tile as well. They absorb less moisture than ceramic and in an area that's going to be wet every day, that's probably a good idea.
Another item to consider is the demolition of the existing shower. What kind of base are you starting from? Do you have a shower that you can get out easily or will it require some help? It's best to rip out the existing shower and get it down to the studs. Starting from scratch is how to tile a shower the right way.
You'll need to select a vapor barrier as well. Despite what some people believe, tile is not waterproof. If you just put tile on the wall, you are asking for a really big mess in the future. Something has to protect the wall from the moisture and it isn't going to be the tile itself.
After you choose a vapor barrier you'll need to get some cement backer board as well. This is what you will actually lay the tile on. If you don't you're asking for trouble. It gives you a sturdy base on which to install the tile. It's a lot like installing drywall in that you cut it to fit and screw it on.
Make sure you have the proper materials besides the tile as well. You'll need thin-set and grout as well. To do a proper job you'll also need a grout sealer after the job is done. It's best to get all of the materials before you get started. This way there won't be any delays in getting the job done.
The last thing to remember before you start installing is to bring the right tools to the job. It's best if you have a wet-saw to cut the tile with. You'll need something to cut the cement board, trowels, buckets, spacers, and a few other items to do a good job. Without the proper tools, you won't be able to install the shower properly. The last thing anyone wants is a leaky shower. There's nothing worse than thinking you knew how to tile a shower and then find a leak. The best way to avoid this all together is with the proper planning.
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