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Tiling a Shower Walls or Floor First?


The Correct Order for Tiling a Shower


By Mark J. Donovan


Question: - Mark, I am about to tile my shower and am in the process of learning how. I watched your video on how to tile a shower and saw that you tiled the shower walls first. Do you always tile the shower walls first and the shower floor last? I guess I had just assumed you would do the floor first. Im glad I watched your video on youtube.

Answer: - R.H., Glad to hear your doing your homework first before tiling your shower. Tiling a shower needs to be done right to prevent leaks and to achieve a professional look.


Too often I hear from site visitors about leaky tile shower pans, or wide grout lines, or unsightly seams.

To answer your question, yes I always tile shower walls first, and the shower floor last. I do this for two main reasons.


First, if you tile the shower floor first you're bound to spill mortar and possibly even drop a tile on it, which could result in a broken shower floor tile.


How to Tile a Custom Ceramic Tile Shower Ebook

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Yes, you can cover the shower floor with a drop cloth or piece of cardboard, but inevitably you wind up finding pieces of dried mortar stuck in between shower floor tiles if you install them first. Removing spilled and dried mortar from the shower floor is not fun and takes time.

Second, I always install a temporary ledger board near the bottom of the shower walls to make sure the wall tiles are applied level and straight. I set the ledger board at the start of the second row of shower wall tiles.


I do this because the shower floor may not always be perfectly straight and level near the wall edges. As a result, often you may end up with some cut tiles near the bottom edge, next to the shower floor.

Once I have tiled the shower walls, less the bottom row, I then remove the ledger board. After removing the ledger board I tile the bottom row of shower wall tiles, trimming their lower sides as necessary to conform to the contour of the shower pan. Once the shower walls are installed I move on to tiling the shower floor.

By installing shower walls tiles first and the shower floor tiles last I bury the bottom row of cut tiles and possible wall tile seam imperfections.

See My Shower Pan Ebook for More Details:  For a more detailed set of instructions on building a shower pan, including pictures and a detailed cross-sectional view of the make-up of a shower pan, see my Shower Pan Membrane Liner Ebook.


For more information on tiling a custom ceramic tile shower, see the How to Tile a Custom Ceramic Tile Shower Ebook from HomeAdditionPlus.com.  It provides detailed instructions for every step in the process of tiling a custom ceramic tile shower and is loaded with instructional pictures!


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- Tiling a Shower Walls or Floor First? -

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