top of page

shower wall tiling tips from a experienced local handyman

Updated: Oct 30, 2022

How to tile a shower wall

DIY bathroom renovation, how to tile a shower

How to tile a shower wall

Learn how to tile a shower wall shower, that's not difficult ... but it requires preparation.

Today we are sharing 9 quick tips that will make your project easier and give you great results.

In the end I promise you will hear more make sure you tile a shower and guess what, if you have any questions we will answer you!

Let's get started.

Tip n. 1: Check the shower riser walls

Before you do anything best, check that the shower riser walls are plumb and level.

Take a 4 foot level and place it over all the pins. Do it vertically, horizontally and diagonally.

If the studs aren't plumb and level, neither is the waterproofing. This will make the tiles wobbly, especially in the corners.

How do you attach the pins?

The easiest method is to pair a second pin to the bent or twisted one.

Attach the new pin to the old with 3 inch screws or nails. Then check that it is plumb and level.

Tip n. 2: Use waterproofing material behind the tiles

It is essential to use some type of waterproofing material behind the tiles. There are many ways to waterproof a shower.

But one of my favorite methods is KERDI-BOARD on stud walls.

Remember one thing about the alternatives:

Concrete Panel and HardieBacker are NOT waterproof. They are water resistant.

As such, they require some sort of waterproofing membrane, such as RedGard.

Here are some waterproofing options:

RedGard with cement board

ARDEX 8+9 with concrete board

Hydroban with concrete board

KERDI membrane with board


Hydro Ban Board Panels

Wedi Building Panels

GoBoard Panels


These are all great options...but don't throw away any concrete slabs or HardieBacker on the posts and think you're done.

It takes a little more preparation to prevent mold from forming in the bathroom.

Tip no. 3: plan the tile layout

Once the waterproofing is complete, plan the tile layout.

You don't need a fancy computer program to do this - just a pencil and paper.

Plan the layout on paper

The layout pattern is double:

To avoid tile chips on the ceiling or in the corners

And it will give you a plan to follow


There's nothing worse than a splinter on the ceiling. Tiles two inches or larger will look great in the ceiling transition.

Laying Out Floors

All you need for good tile layout is an understanding of basic tile requirements and a test with paper and pencil.

Suggestion n . 6 will help you with the layout, so don't ignore it.

Tip n. 4: Buy quality porcelain tiles

Don't buy clay-based tiles... Whatever you do, stay away from this type of tile.


If you chip the tile, the clay will show.

Chipped tiles

Solid porcelain stoneware is a better choice.

It's the same color all over, so if you have a little chip, it will be hard to spot.> tiles are constructed a bit better than ceramic tiles. But you should still inspect any tile for any imperfections.

Tip #5: Large Format Tile Leveling Systems

Before you even type anything else... tile leveling systems are optional.

This is a hotly debated topic in the tile industry. Some people like these systems and others say they are for inexperienced tile installers.

Here is my opinion, which is as good as the rubber on the bottom of the shoe:

Tiles get bigger and not always perfect. Even if you're the best tile fitter this side of the Atlantic Ocean, you'll have trouble sliding tiles over each other if they're bent or cut.

Thus, tile leveling systems help to eliminate imperfections in the tile.

I say give it a try and see how you like the performance. So judge whatever you want.

We like a variety of systems.

The Tuscan Leveling System makes great products like the SeamClips. Just make sure you get the right size SeamClip for your tile.


LevTec produces a quality product. Again, be sure to choose the right size based on your tile.

LevTec Tile Leveling System

And the T-Lock is a wonderful option that has the spacer built into the clip.

If you use a large box, for example

12×24 inches, we recommend trying a tile leveling system and using 1/16" clips.

But again, the choice is yours.

Tip #1.6: Stagger the full-size tiles by thirds

One way to limit the edge of the tiles is to stagger the full-size tiles by thirds.

Stagger the tiles by thirds

Large tiles tend to bend or bend upwards in the middle of the tile.

This in turn creates a slight lip between two adjacent tiles.

Staggering the tiles in thirds limits this effect.

Stagger tiles in thirds

Well, it's a tile leveling system 😉

the Tile Council of North America has specific recommendations on how to set different tile sizes. We recommend that you take their manual and read it.

Tip n. 7: Use small grout joints

Grouts between 1/8″ and 1/16″ are good because they reduce maintenance in tiled showers.

Small grout lines

Also, even if you use a 1/16″ runaway, it's probably going to flesh out a bit.

The same goes for a 1/8" gasket.

Smaller gaskets look better than bigger ones. But that means you'll have to look at the lip tile.


In the end, you will prefer shower tiles with smaller joints. It looks better and again, it means less cleaning over time.

Tip n. 8: Quality Thinset

I love ARDEX X77 - it's my favorite for large format tile and glass mosaic.


This is a polymer modified thin set mortar top.

What does this mean?

If you mix X77 according to directions, use the correct size trowel, butter the tiles, and use the directional trowel, the tiles will not slide down the wall.


Also, if you are tiling your shower ceiling, the X77 is a great option.

No one wants a tile falling from the ceiling and injuring someone or breaking a tile on a shower tray.

There are a ton of cool slim sets on the market, but the X77 remains our go-to. in the shower.

Tip no. 9: Quality Mortar

There are so many mortars.

Which one to choose?

We love Bostik's QuartzLock 2 because it's premixed, stain resistant, flexible, color consistent and easy to apply.

It's not cheap but it's a great option for tiled walls.

QuartzLock 2

Mapei's Keracolor U is a sand-free mortar. We used it for the shower in our video because the tiles are porcelain stoneware and we didn't want them to scratch.

Keracolor U

We also found a Mapei color that went well with the tile.

Mapei also produces Flexcolor CQ, which stands for colored quartz.

Flexcolor CQ

This is a pre-mixed stain resistant mortar that is very easy to apply...following the directions.

Always test the grout on the tile to make sure it does not scratch the surface.

Here are some other grouts we love:

SPECTRALOCK from Latricrete

Permacolor Select from Laticrete

WA Epoxy Grout from ARDEX

Ultracolor PlusFA from Mapei

Epoxy grouts are great for maintenance-free bathrooms.

Earth care contractors offer top rated 24/7/365 local service at no extra cost. Visit us as To learn more

0 views0 comments
bottom of page