DIY Installation - How to Tile a Shower Wall

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Did you know that installation cost can account for up to 80% of your total tile project cost? In many cases, especially with smaller projects, the labor cost to install your tile can be much greater than the cost of your tile! Though hiring a professional is always a good idea, it can be cost prohibitive for some. DIY installation tips by Clay Imports: 

There is a wide range of difficulty levels when installing tile. While we would consider certain installations to be completely far too advanced for DIY, some projects are relatively simple and beginner friendly.

Let’s take a look at this DIY shower wall installation by Ayse Iyriboz

video and pictures by Beef & Pie Productions 

What you need

✔️ Tile

✔️ Grout (and grout release if needed)

✔️ Tile adhesive

✔️ Tile spacers

✔️ Wet saw

✔️ Ruler and Pencil

✔️ Sponges 

✔️ Mild detergent

✔️ 1-2 days to dedicate

STEP 1. Inspect the tile

Firstly, always unpack every piece of your tile and make sure that you have enough to complete your project. The best way to confirm that you have enough tile is to exactly layout your tile before you start the installation. And while you’re at it, mix tiles from all of the different cases ensuring that your tiles share an array of variation. 

STEP 2. Install tile spacers

Once all the tile is spread out, include appropriately sized spacers in between the tiles. Tile spacers are designed to leave a consistent space between tiles, i.e. the grout joint. You can buy tile spacers at about any hardwood store or online. Now, your layout is representative of the installed project. 

It’s time to make cuts

STEP 3. Measure & cut your tile

As part of your layout, you will most likely need to cut some tile. We recommend cutting all needed tiles prior to installation. To know which tiles to cut where, take a ruler and a pen and mark lines on all tiles that will need to be cut. Then, carefully cut your tiles with a wet saw. 

STEP 4. Draw installation grid lines

Once you have all tiles, including your cut pieces, and tile spacers laid-out, begin drawing an installation grid on your installation surface (your installation surface may be Hardi-Backer, concrete, or sheetrock.) 

Now, your grid can vary in line density. This is based on the tile you are using and the area of your installation. Generally, your grid lines should measure the size of 4 pieces of tile, in a square. For example, if you are using 8 inch tile, with a ¼” grout joint, then your grid squares should measure 16-½”.

Now that all of the grid lines have been marked onto your installation surface, it’s time to install tile!

Let’s get to it

STEP 5. Trowel the adhesive

Use a high grade glue that is compatible to your installation surface, and begin troweling the adhesive between the grid lines. The key for a DIY installation is to be diligent and only trowel one to two grid sections at a time.

STEP 6. Install the tile

Now, take your tiles from our layout, one grid section at a time and glue them onto your installation surface. Add tile spacers to avoid wonky grout joints. Make sure that the edges of  the tile are installed line up and sit flush with the tile next to it. FYI, if your tiles are directional, make sure that you are installing them in the correct direction!

Keep on installing your tile, two grids at a time, until all tiles are installed.

STEP 7. Pull the tile spacers

All adhered? Now, gently clean away adhesive and residue from the tile surface with a damp sponge. After the adhesive has dried, you can begin pulling the tile spacers from the joints. 

Grout it!

STEP 8. Apply the grout

Now that the tiles are firmly adhered to the installation surface, it’s time to apply grout. We always recommend grouting your tiles, although groutless installations are possible in certain applications. Grouting will ensure the longevity of your installation.

Using an appropriate grout, begin troweling the grout across the tile surface in a diagonal direction. Press firmly and fill the joints fully. Compress as much of the grout between the joints as possible, so only a minimal amount remains on the tile surface.

Again, be meticulous and only apply grout to sections of approximately 3 to 4 square feet or 8 tiles at a time. Immediately following grout application to one section, begin cleaning away grout residue from the tile surface with water and a sponge, wiping in a circular motion.

STEP 9. Clean excess grout

Continue applying grout sections and cleaning residue from the surface until the entire installation area is complete. After the entire area has been cleaned, there might still be a thin layer of grout residue. You can clean this residue during the final cleaning.

Make it shine!

STEP 10. Final cleaning

After you have successfully grouted your tile, wait 24 hours, then get ready to make that tile sparkle! For the final cleaning use a combination of mild detergent, such as dishwashing soap, and warm water. This will remove all residue from the tile surface.

Otomi Tile l Outdoor Shower l Clay ImportsThough there is no substitute for experience, following these instructions and taking your time, will result in a pretty good tile installation. Do you have DIY installation questions, please send us a message here or email us at contact@clayimports.com.

Clay Imports is not responsible for the success of your DIY installations.

 

 


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