How to Prep a Wall for Shower Tile

Tiles on a wall
  • 3-4 hours
  • Intermediate
  • 200-300
What You'll Need
Cement backer board
Thinset mortar
Utility knife
Power screwdriver
Mesh tape
Putty knife
Masonry screws
Laser level
Green board
Hole saw

Just like a collage, if each wall shower tile is inserted properly, the overall effect can be great. Before you even start thinking of applying the tiles to your bathroom wall, you should first prepare it. This article gives a brief guide on how to prepare your bathroom wall for shower tiling.

Step 1 - Measure the Wall

Measure the studded wall to determine the top of the tile line. For this step, a laser level will accurately indicate the correct line. Now mark a straight line on your studs. The line you have just marked will be used to install the green board. Tape the green board at the joints before installing the cement backer board.

Step 2 - Measure the Open Studded Space of the Backer Board

Insert the backboard on the back wall. The backboard can be cut with a utility knife. As an alternative, you can bend the board. If it does not snap, proceed with the utility knife again. For the showerhead fixtures and knobs, use a hole saw to carve circular pieces from the board.

Step 3 - Install Masonry Screws

The masonry screws should be installed to the studs. Ensure that the screws are inserted properly. Problems might arise if the screws bulge. Such a defect might not be evident until the tiling process starts.

Step 4 - Cover all the Joints of the Backboard

Use thinset mortar and mesh tape to cover all the gaps in the backboard. The extremity of the backboard that is closest to the shower pan need not be covered. Leave that joint open. Do not leave any bulges. By the time the tiling process starts, fixing mistakes may be too hard and too time consuming.

Step 5 - Give Time

The last step is applying the thinset mortar. Thinset is an adhesive mortar made of cement and traces of sand. Thinset tile mortar provides a very strong bond, and it's fairly resistant to moisture. It acts as the base for the tiles. Once the thinset has been applied, wait several hours before tiling.

Tiled showers require very little maintenance; however, mistakes are not made in the tiling process in itself, but in the preparatory phase where the wall is being primed before tile installation. Missing a step could result in water perfusion beneath the tiles, which spells catastrophe. Who in their right mind would want to waste time in removing the tiles and starting the task all over again? If you follow these steps properly you will be guaranteed to get it right the first time.