How to Retile Your Shower Floor

tile shower floor
  • 4-8 hours
  • Beginner
  • 50-200
What You'll Need
Putty knife
Small hammer
Paint remover
Thinset mortar
Flat board
Scrub brush
Old comb
Tile spacers
Grout trowel

It is often times necessary to re-tile your shower floor, as ceramic tile is vulnerable to mildew and mold that can result to staining making your ceramic tile shower floor look worn and ugly. Below are the materials that you need along with the instructions on how to re-tile your shower floor.

Step 1 - Remove the Old Shower Tiles

With a putty knife or grout removing tools, remove the grout that holds the tiles together. This way you can still reuse the old ceramic tiles for other purposes. Pry the ceramic tile off its base by inserting the putty knife all the way beneath the tiles until it is deep enough to remove the ceramic tile. To exert more force on the ceramic tile, tap the handle of the putty knife with a small hammer. After removing the first ceramic tile it will be easy to remove the rest of the tiles using the putty knife.

Step 2 - Examine the Base of the Shower Floor

Once you have removed all of the tiles, check the base floor of your shower for any tile adhesives. Remove the tile adhesive by applying paint remover and scrubbing with a scrub brush. Make sure that the base floor surface is even and free of any stubborn tile adhesives as a smooth surface is essential to the proper adhesion of the new tiles.

Step 3 - Check the Existing Water Barrier

After removing all the tile adhesives, check the condition of the water barrier of your shower floor. A water barrier is a thin layer of materials that is used to prevent water from soaking into the base of your shower floor. Repair or replace damaged existing water barrier.

Step 4 - Apply Thinset Mortar

Mix thinset mortar according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Apply an even coat of thinset mortar to the floor area where you want to install the new tiles. As a guide to keep the thinset mortar from setting before you can install the tiles, apply only thin mortar in a floor area where you can install the tiles within 15 minutes. Do not apply thinset mortar to the entire floor area at once.

Step 5 - Install the Tiles

Before you install the tiles it is best to comb over the thinset mortar you applied in the previous step using an old comb. Tiles adhere better on a coarsely applied thinset mortar rather than a flat thinset mortar surface. Place the first row of tiles on the coarse thinset mortar and gently tap the each ceramic tile using a small hammer. To make sure that the tiles are evenly placed, put a flat board on tiles and press gently.

Step 6 - Use Tile Spacers

To make sure that all the ceramic tiles are evenly placed, use a tile spacer from your local home improvement depot. After laying down all of the tiles, check for any spacing anomalies and make the necessary changes.

Step 7 - Finishing Touches

Before you apply tile grout make sure that the thinset mortar is fully dry. Mix the grout according to manufacturer’s instructions and with a grouting trowel, apply grout in between the spaces of each tiles. Remove excess grout with a wet sponge.

Asymmetrical Design Possibilities

Similar to a jig-saw puzzle, or mosaic; creating an asymmetrical tile floor shower design requires lots of planning, but it can take your project up a level, creating a satisfying, beautiful result.

Grid It Out

It is absolutely necessary to create the design on paper first. Grid paper is already marked out into squares; making it easier to work with geometrical shapes.

Scale a piece of grid paper down to the correct size of the shower floor and draw the design out on the grid paper. When tiling, follow the grid to a tee.

Right-Angled Triangles with Squares

Two triangles should fit into one square. Do two triangles then one square. Reverse the angles of the triangles for the next row and continue alternating each row. Tiles can be the same color or a series of colors.

Triangles and squares can be used to make a spiral pattern. A triangle between each square will give an angle at each turn.

Octagonal with Right-Angled Triangles

Use triangles on four corners of the octagonal tiles. Lay the edges of the octagonal tiles along the triangles. Don't line them up next to each other.