How To Prep and Tile a Shower


We’re in the middle of a total bathroom remodel.
And now we want to replace this tub with a walk-in shower. These walls are going to go and we’ll replace
them with this beautiful new tile. In this video we’ll show you how to do the
prep. For the installation, check out How to Install Shower Wall Tile on Lowes.com/HowTo. You’ve got many choices with wall tile. Whatever
you like, Lowe’s has all the styles. Just be sure to follow the instructions that
come with your tile. For our project you can find the steps, tools,
and materials on our website—along with some helpful tips. One thing… since we’re installing in a shower,
we’re going to have a few extra steps than you would if you were tiling, say, a backsplash
or another wall area. Before you get started, figure out how much
tile you’ll need. Measure each wall area, length times height, add ’em up and add 10%
for extra. All right, here comes the fun part—demo.
We have to get rid of all this old tile. You’re in luck if you’re starting with bare walls.
Remember, don’t start tearing into anything until you’ve turned off all the power to the
room—and adjacent rooms—just in case. And if you’re doing a wall that has outlets
or light fixtures, remove those. If you have old tile over concrete backerboard,
sometimes you can remove just the tile with a hammer and chisel. But typically it’s best
to remove everything to the studs and start fresh. This can get messy, so remember to protect
your tub and floors. OK, so we’re down to the studs. At this point,
if you need to reroute any plumbing or electrical, now’s the time to do it. Now this is important. If you see any black mold in the walls—stop
and call a pro to remove it. Now, we installed the new shower base and
removed the old tub using the instructions the manufacturer gave us. Since the shower is a wet area, we’re going
to install a moisture barrier over the studs. Plastic like this will work just fine. Hold the plastic just over the shower base,
making sure it hangs inside the base, and staple it to the studs all the way around
the surround. Now, cut the bottom of the plastic so it still
overlaps the flange and just touches the base. Next step—putting up cement backerboard. This is going to provide a strong foundation
for our tile. We’re installing our backerboard about six feet high, and it will be flush
with the drywall at the edges or just outside the shower area. At the bottom it will be about a 1/4- to 1/2-inch
above the shower base. For an average DIYer, hanging this stuff is
a two-person job. Hold it in place against the studs—shims below keep it at the right
height—and secure it with cement board screws. Put in a screw about every eight inches. If you need to cut the pieces to fit—score
it and snap it. To cut curves for the plumbing, use a jigsaw with a carbide blade. Cut this
stuff outside. Install all of the cement board, keeping the
pieces tight together. After the cement board is secured you need
to tape the joints. Apply the cement board tape, then another coat of mortar, and let
it dry overnight. After the mortar has cured, it’s smart to
apply a waterproof coating that acts like a membrane to the cement board. Brush it on
the seams and joints, let it dry, then apply two more coats with a roller. Each coat takes
about 30 to 60 minutes to dry. From this point on the installation is the
same as putting tile on drywall, like you would for a regular wall or backsplash. On to the layout. Check your horizontal layout by marking a
line in the center of the work area. Set the tiles along the wall and check the ends. If
the tiles are too thin, adjust the layout to get wider pieces at the sides. Next, check the vertical layout. This is where
it can get tricky. Plan on full tiles at the top and cut tiles
at the bottom. Since we’ll cut the tile to fit, it’s best to start one row up from the
bottom because the shower base might not be level. To determine where to mark the starting line,
use a level to find the lowest point. Hold a full tile there, with a 1/4-inch gap at
the bottom and spacer at the top, and mark it. Extend this line level on the wall. All right, next you’ll want to see where the
top tile will sit. Try this trick. Take a straight board and mark it using the
tiles and spacers in the vertical layout. This is called a jury stick. Just hold it
up to the wall to mark the location of the top tiles. If you need to adjust the layout, move it
down if you can. Cutting a little bit off the bottom row won’t be noticeable.
Once you have a good layout, extend your starting line along each wall. OK, got all that? Our layout is set, which
means it’s time to install some tile on this wall. Check out the next video, How to Install
Shower Wall Tile at Lowes.com/HowTo.

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