How to Tile a Shower Wall…Vertical 12×24 Porcelain — by Home Repair Tutor

How to Tile a Shower Wall…Vertical 12×24 Porcelain — by Home Repair Tutor


Hey, guys! In the last video we showed how
to tile the pebble stone shower floor in our most recent project. Today we’re going to
share tips on how to tile a shower wall, specifically the main shower wall using vertical 12x24s.
We’re going to give you tips on the tools that we use, how we cut into the shower niche,
and also how we cut into the corner shower bench. A lot of really great tips are in today’s
video. Before we get started, this is our setup in
the shower. We have everything in there: the tools, the material, the tile; and we’re
protecting the shower pan floor, which is important.
Okay, so we’re going to go ahead and start this back wall first. I always recommend tiling
the back wall so that when you cut your tile, the tile coming into the back wall kind of
hides that grout joint, rather than doing a side wall seeing the grout joint right if
you look at the back of the wall. And what we’re going to do is going to be
a fairly simple layout. Since this tile it so busy, I think we’re just going to go
with the… It’s a 12×24. We’re going to stack them vertically, and we’re going
to make it easy on ourselves. Since this is so busy, we’re not going to have any accents
at all. So it’s just going to be the 12x24s. So that makes things a little bit easier.
So what I did here is that we have 59 inches because we had a 60 inch bathroom. So we have
59 inches here. So when you figure out your middle here, it’s 29 ½. And what I have
decided to do is just split a tile in half through that middle there, so you get 7 7/8.
So I put my laser on the right side. So now basically it was about 11 inch piece on either
side. So it’s going to look like pretty full tile all the way around.
So we’re going to be staggering the pattern in thirds. We have a 94 inch tall ceiling.
So I’m just going to start out with a full tile. Ninety-four inches. Yeah, that’ll
leave like a 10 ½ inch piece. So if we start out with a full tile, we’ll be all right.
So we already have our flat pebble down against the floor. So let’s get started here. And
we’re going to use our Euro notch trowel. This is for larger format tile.
For this project, we’re using Schluter’s ALL-SET; this is their thinset mortar. And
what that does is maintain the warranty for the Schluter shower system. So it’s always
to keep that in consideration. Now as you see here, Steve is using the Euro notch trowel,
and all of the trowel ridges are facing the same direction. This is called directional
troweling and is a very important principle when setting tile.
You want to back butter. But honestly on the walls, I just had been doing it for years,
but I always back trowel on the wall. To me, it just gives a little bit more flexibility
on lippage and things. It’s just something I’ve been accustomed to doing. But you can
just back butter and leave it like that as well, like you do a floor. I just do like
the extra thickness. Always have a nice sponge handy. And as you
saw there, Steve moved the excess thinset from the edge of the tile because we’re
going to be using these clips for the T-lock system. And that will help prevent the thinset
mortar from collecting along the edge of the clip.
So I just start that first row and go all the way up to the ceiling; follow your laser
line. And then from there, you can just reference yourself up with that tile.
As we go up the wall, we’re continuing with our directional troweling. The reason why
that’s so important and for back troweling the tile is you get really good coverage on
the back of the tile. For a wet area, you want 95% to 100% coverage of thinset mortar
on the back of the tile. Facing wedges down.
We’re using the pliers to compress the wedges into the clips and checking that all of our
tiles line up with the laser level. And then we’re adding the clips again to the top
of this tile and continuing with the application of the thinset to the wall and the back of
the tile. The reason for the directional troweling is when you compress the tile onto the thinset,
you’re removing any of the air gaps behind the tile and getting your 95% to 100% coverage.
So we’re just continuing up the wall. For this, we’re getting a measurement on the
left and the right side of the tile as your drywall could be uneven at the ceiling, and
we’re making the cut with the wet saw. So if you need to make kind of like a tapered
cut, using the wet saw is great. You can also use a tile cutter for that, so for example,
the Ishii or the Montolit Masterpiuma. So we’re leaving a 1/16 to 1/8 inch gap
at the ceiling, and Steve will mention that here briefly.
So in this top ceiling joint, I’d say if you keep yourself within an eighth inch on
the ceiling, you’ll be able to get a nice caulk joint against the ceiling. I definitely
recommend using a silicone against the ceiling because this drywall, heating and expansion
and everything, if you put grout here, it’s always going to crack. And then give yourself
a little bit of space, like a sixteenth of an inch to an eighth inch, and then you’ll
be able to get a nice caulking joint against there. I’m just lining your whole wall up
with your laser, and then we’ll be able to go off from there.
And basically I’m just looking here against my pebble stone and making sure that I can
get my even grout joint and stay level with this. So if this was a little cocked, I might
have to scribe cut my tile, but this looks pretty good here.
And also whenever you’re setting the first tile up against the shower floor, it’s good
to leave at least a 1/16 to 1/8 inch gap. Every once in a while it’s not a bad idea
to just pull this off and see what kind of coverage you’re getting. So you can see
that this is all really well bonded to that wall. That’s a good idea. That’s where
when you trowel this back side and trowel this side on a wall, it seems like you definitely
get some pretty good coverage there. Then we put the clips in. Since this is our
straight wall here, you want to be pushing your wedges into the side that’s already
level so that you’re not pushing your… if you put it this way, you’ll end up pushing
the tile that way a little bit. And I’ll keep the laser on here, too, just to make
sure this doesn’t move when you’re doing any of that. And it’s a good idea to always
just wipe that joint before putting these clips down because you don’t want to have
thinset up against this side of the clip. When you have thinset here, it ends up kind
of… when you go to break this off, you end up getting this part stuck in the grout joint;
you have to use a utility knife to kind of get it out. So if you wipe that excess…
So I usually do with three clips per side on a 24 inch piece. And then for 12 inches,
every 2 pieces. Just move this clip up more towards the edge, so you want to just kind
of clean out the joint. So notice how we’re going up the wall, and
the second tile in the second column is offset by 1/3. So for example, if you have 12×24
inch tiles, and as you can see we’re going up the wall, we have our full tile there,
the tiles are offset by 1/3 of the tile. So about 8 inches in this case. So the top of
this tile was 8 inches below the tile to the right of it. And this is maintaining our 1/3
offset pattern, which helps out with tile lippage.
So just to show you on this gun, this adjusts like how far you can push that wedge in. I
usually kind of like to have mine all the way out because these straps are super strong.
So you can put as much tension as you can possibly put on these things. And they’re
not going to break. So that’s one different thing with a lot of the ones that look like
this system; these straps are super strong. Just always try to place as much pressure
on it as you can. Okay, so we’re reading 11 ¾. So I’m just
going to make easy on myself and make it 11 ½. And actually this corner’s a little
bit round, so I’m going to make it like 11 3/8. So we’re not cutting much off of
that. We’re only cutting 5/8 after this. So remember, again, you want to leave at least
1/8 of an inch between the tile and the wall for expansion and contraction.
I should’ve paid attention to this one, but you can see to get this level, I have
a huge gap at the bottom here. So I’m going to have to scribe cut this section where these
two stones are. I’m just going to get my pencil out, and I’m just going to scribe
cut this whole thing so that it can sit down a little bit further.
We’re using our angle grinder and a diamond blade to make this tapered cut. You can do
this outside as well, and make sure you wear a respirator to protect your lungs.
So there. It gets me a lot nicer against the stone.
So this guy, we’re going to want to go up into the niche. I’m going to be using a
Schluter edge that goes on the edge of this. A lot of times I recommend having this L-notch
going over top of this tile just for aesthetics because the grout joint will be this way rather
than on the flat portion. But really this is an exterior wall. It’s insulated but
it is exterior wall, and it is recommended to use a silicone sealant in all the corners.
With the Schluter edging coming up against the wall, I would recommend just cutting this
into the niche first, and then we’ll put this piece and with the corner against it
because it’s really difficult to try to scribe cut around piece of Schluter edge like
that. You’re going to want to have it butt into this tile and not be cutting around it.
If you don’t have a wet saw like this one, you could use an angle grinder to make this
little notched cut. You would need a good angle grinder, something that has higher rpms,
and also a really good diamond blade to make this type of a cut. But it’s possible to
do it without a wet saw. So you could see how I have all these corners
on here and that little bit of build-up, that’s kind of why I kind of also like to back trowel
my tile because this little bump out of the Schluter-Band could be a little problematic.
And since I’m troweling both sides—I’m troweling the wall and troweling the tile—I
have a little bit more flexibility and room because we’re using more thinset so that
this doesn’t become an issue because this is definitely bumped out of the wall a little
bit here. You’ll notice here Steve used his finger
to wipe off that excess thinset. Again, keep that in mind whenever you’re using clips
or not using clips because that’ll help prevent the thinset from oozing out into the
grout joints. So here we’re compressing the tile and ensuring that it’s bonded well
to the wall, and then we’re just adding our wedges. And then we’re going to cinch
down on those with the pliers. Keep in mind that the T-lock system not only does it keep
the grout joints nice and even because the clips have the spacers in them, but whenever
you’re compressing the tile you’re getting a better bond too.
This is twenty eighths of fourteen. That actually fits perfectly behind it; that’s cool. So
we can do this whole shelf later. We’re sizing up the tile that’s going
to go above the last one. Again, we’re making a little cut-out; we’re going to have to
make a cut-out for it going into the shower niche. So again, if you don’t have a wet
saw, you could definitely do this cut with an angle grinder and diamond blade. You just
need a steady hand and keeping consideration that you don’t want to nick the top of the
tile. Now if you do use a wet saw, you want to wipe off the back of it and make sure it’s
dry before back troweling or back buttering the tile. That way the thinset will bond to
it. Set the tile in the thinset mortar; compress it. Clean the joints with your brush or your
sponge, but a little cheap paintbrush does come in handy for these sixteenth inch grout
joints—fits in there nicely, cleans out the thinset, and really eliminates clean-up
the next day. So we’re just compressing the tile again using our T-lock, keeping joints
nice and tight. And then as you’ll see here, Steve gets a measurement. Make sure you measure
off the T-lock clip to the ceiling. So the clip, again, is going to add your grout joint,
and that’s why you want to measure off of that. You can use the skinny side of the trowel
to add your thinset mortar. And then cut your tile to size for that corner piece. It’s
really important to get the measurement just right so you’re not fiddling with that tile.
So this is going to be the tile section that’s up against the shower bench, and Steve is
going to give you some really great tips here on how to do that.
So what we’re going to do here on this corner bench is I’m going to just have a Schluter
edge at the top, but I really didn’t want to do a metal edging towards the side wall
here. Basically all I’m going to do is I’m going to run my tile right to that corner,
and then I’ll be basically slicing this on a 45, back cutting this tile, so that it
meets up to the other tile. This will make more sense when we go to do the bench. But
basically, right now, all I want to do is get this into the corner.
Seven and a quarter inch is going to make it seven and an eighth to give myself a little
room there. So then when I bring this tile in here, and honestly, it doesn’t even look
bad. I might not have to back cut this because I’m going to be siliconing this corner;
like all corners, you want to have a caulking joint. So as long as I can keep that joint
nice and straight, I won’t have to do a Schluter edge on it. And the main reason why
I don’t really want to do a Schluter edge is because basically I’d rather have this
Schluter edge cut out a 45, meeting up against this tile rather than picture framing it across.
Notice how Steve is going to compress this wedge and then move it over with that little
knife. That knife comes in handy; it’s a carpet knife. And also clean out any of the
thinset that oozes out between the tile and the shower pan tile.
Notch this over the bench. Seven ten and a quarter, and I’ll be getting my corner piece
to butt up against that. The main reason is is so that my Schluter edge has a nice cut
against the wall tile here, which is going to be easier all the way around to take this
top portion after the wall tile is in. So we’re transferring the measurements onto
the tile from the wall. Take your time doing this because that way you don’t have to
make successive cuts which are always frustrating. But having a wet saw will help out with this
type of cut if you’ve got a shower bench. And just run up to the tile. If you overcut
it, you’re going to have to cut it again because you don’t want to live with that
mistake. So keep that in mind as well whenever you’re making these accurate cuts.
So again, all these corner flashing ends up building up your corners here. So back troweling
your tile on this is going to make it a lot easier.
Notice how the thinset is covering all of the KERDI; you can’t even see the KERDI
on the wall and the back of the tile. This is what good back troweling and troweling
on the wall looks like, and it provides a tremendous bond between the tile and the KERDI.
So clean off any of the thinset that does ooze out, though.
The wedges are facing the left or the other tile in this example because that was the
first column that we set, so we want that grout joint to be nice and tight. And then
we’re adding a 1/16 inch shim between that first tile and the shower bench. Because as
you’re stacking these tiles, you’re compressing all of them, you’re adding more weight,
and you want there to be an expansion and contraction joint between that tile and the
shower bench. So again, we’re just going up the wall here. We’re maintaining the
1/3 pattern. We’re maintaining the 1/16 to 1/8 inch gap between the top of the tile
and the ceiling. So that’s what we’re doing to ensure that we’re complying with
TCNA guidelines. And this last tile looks good, we’re going to move on to the next
column. Okay, so we just set our laser up since we’re
going over the bench. This is our third row over, so we just lined it up with our laser.
It kind of makes it easy. And if it doesn’t line up, you can just add some horseshoe shims
to bring it up to speed, which looks like we’re going to have to do. So there you
go. As you can see here, we’re using a sponge
and a little linoleum knife to clean out the grout joints to make sure that they’re clean.
We’re also removing any excess thinset that’s between the tile and the wall.
Maintain that 1/8 inch gap between this last column of tile and the adjacent KERDI wall.
Again, that’s really important for expansion and contraction of the wall, especially if
the shower’s on an outside wall like it is in this example. So we’re maintaining
the 1/3 pattern as we go up the wall, compressing the tile, and then we’re placing the last
piece right here. It’s always an awesome feeling whenever you get to the last piece
on the wall. So there you go. That’s the first wall.
The rest of the videos showing how to tile the shower are over on bathroomrepairtutor.
We show you step-by-step how to tile all three walls, the corner shower bench, and the shower
niche in addition to the pebble stone shower floor. Plus, we’ve got written tutorials
with all of our supply list right there for you. So you can check out that online course
right here. Also put a link to it down in the description.
If you have any questions, let us know. We’d be happy to help you out. And thanks for watching
this video. We’ll see you in the next one.

8 thoughts on “How to Tile a Shower Wall…Vertical 12×24 Porcelain — by Home Repair Tutor

  1. Hi and I use mapei modified thin set LFT I mix the whole 50 lbs bag and I don't have much time to to complete the job by myself , the thin set thicking . Do you have any problem with these thin set

  2. One question: why didn’t you guys use white All-Set? Might there be a risk of that light tile darkening over time with the dark thinset?

  3. two inches cut in the niche looks awful
    bench seat suppose to go under the wall tiles and first row has no space between the floor

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