There could be many reasons a homeowner might want to do a shower tile replacement project. The tile might be outdated, damaged, or what happened in my case – I had to change out the hot/cold water mixing manifold in the wall. In order to get into the wall I had to remove a half dozen or so tiles. Several got broken in the process and nobody carried a color match. I had to re-tile.
Tools You Will Need
The tools you need are basic –
- Tape Measure
- Tile Saw (some will tell you that you can just use tile nippers to save money but you won’t get a professional result with these)
- Tile Hole Cutting Bit(s) of the dimension(s) you need
- Electric drill
- Float and Sponge for the grout
- Mastic or mortar trowel
- Tile spacers
Preparation Your Area
Ensure that the greenboard or cement board on the shower walls has been finished and there are no indentations on any surface that the tiles will be sticking to to. Smooth surfaces are important so that there is no disappointing cracking later on.
Next, ensure that all the surface areas that will be in contact with the tile are completely clean and smooth. This will be important when the tile grout is applied.
Time to Install Your Tile
The first need task to do is your tile layout. In whichever direction you work, either horizontally or vertically, you won’t get an even number of full tiles. A good method to follow to plan the size your border tile is this: measure the total surface width and find and mark your mid-point. This mid-point can either be the center of your center tile or the point where two tiles intersect.
Check each possibility and determine which one gives you the biggest borders. This is the one to use. You will have to take into account what is the width of your mortar joint that you will be using on this shower tile project. This will determine your starting point. Note that this applies to horizontal measurements in most situations; most tile setters will use a full tile from the bottom to the top.
Once you have your layout, strike a chalk line to adhere to and start toweling mastic or your mortar onto the surface. Work from the center and outward so that the borders are the last tiles set.
Use spacers if you are using individual tiles in order to ensure equal separation between tiles. Once you have all the field tiles in, begin cutting in the border tiles. Now you’re done? Wait twenty four hours for the mastic to set up and then you can begin finishing up your job.
Finishing Up with the Shower Tile
Now, the time has come to grout the tiles. You can either mix the color of your choice using grout dye or you can buy the premixed grout. What you want to do is press the grout into the joints under hand pressure with the float. Then, using a container of clean water, sponge off the grout and shape it into the joints.
Grouting is a simple task that just takes a bit of practice. It’s more of an art than anything. The good thing about it is that you can back up and add grout if needed. Just keep a wet sponge and use an easy circular motion.
Congratulations on your new bathroom tile installation! As soon as the grout is dry, use cheesecloth to remove the grout haze from the tile surface and use a grout sealer on the grout joints. This will keep water out of the grout. Use the kind that is specified as mildew resistant.