4 Things I Wish We Knew Before Tiling Our Shower

With our bathroom project coming to a close – I wanted to share a few of our trials and tribulations, specifically from tiling our entire shower from floor to ceiling.  Tiling the shower was never something we didn’t feel confident doing – we had successfully accomplished a smaller tiling project a few years prior, so how hard could this be? *smiles*
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To preface, we did extensive research and YouTube how-to video watching and there were definitely a few steps that these DIYers seemed to leave out of their tiling videos that sort of killed us, from a timing and extra work perspective. Also – a lot of DIYers were using individual tiles vs. the sheets, so I couldn’t gauge if we needed to do anything special or not!

What I Wish We Would’ve Known

(1) Over Estimating Tile Purchase by 10%  Soooo this was something I’d seen on the inter webs, but not something we accounted for – this involved us having to run out and buy a couple more boxes of tile, while we were mid-way in the tiling game. This meant extra money we weren’t planning on spending. Not to mention a few of the boxes we’d purchased included broken tile sheets – so we were able to exchange/return others we worked with. We also hadn’t accounted for ceiling tile – so this was something we also had to pick out and purchase while we were prepping for this project.


(2) Prepping the Shower Walls We planned out our bathroom project with complete to-do lists and listing out all the materials, quantities and everything we would need for the various projects ahead of time so we could make a big purchase and have everything ready to roll when we needed it.  One more pricey thing we did not account for was needing to waterproof paint the cement board and covering the seams pre-tile.  The membrane seam cover was a bit expensive – and also added a few days of prep that initially anticipated, but ultimately super important to have that ready to go!

(3) Removing Extra Mortar – We knew to wipe down the tiles after they were up for a bit, but we didn’t know how quickly or how deep we should go within the tiles of wiping away the extra mortar (AKA – I also probably used wayyy to much mortar).  There were a few issues with wiping down the mortar – the spacers we used would’ve fallen out and we used a lot of spacers – then because we didn’t get as deep as we should’ve in the cracks – we had to do a lot of hand scrapping (with this nifty tool) to deepen the cracks in order to be grout ready. We also didn’t scrap as deep as we should’ve in some spots which ran into some issues when grouting.

If you find yourself using a grout remover tool between your tiles, be careful that you don’t get out of line and scratch your tiles – we unfortunately learned that the hard way too! 

(4) Being A Little More Patient   Since I’m the tile-smith in the house, I definitely was in the mode of just getting it up and getting it done – so there were a few areas that B and I maybe should’ve addressed pre-tiling. There were a few spots in the ceiling and wall that the nail heads weren’t in as straight or deep as they should’ve causing tiles to stick out a bit. Also paying better attention and pushing the tiles nice and flush with others in line, was something I noticed once I was grouting could’ve been done better.  Tiling Lessons - the bee life (2)
So after two days worth of long working sessions, not everything was a complete bust! We also had a few things that worked out well, and really helped pull the space together even with some of our learnings.

Things That Worked

(1) Tile Sheets with Subway Tiles – We wanted the subway tile look, and were able to more easily accomplish this by using sheets of subway tile that were a bit smaller.  From a sanity perspective, I can’t imagine doing each tile one by one – maybe it wouldn’t have been so bad – but it definitely helped putting up 12×12 sheets.

(2) Pre-Mixed Grout To finish up the space, after the hours of scrapping – we opted to get a pre-mixed grout to finish the space.  Although this was more expensive, it was really easy from a prep perspective and also super easy to work with.  We use a Warm Grey grout finish – and ended up needing about three of the half gallon tubs.

Even with the hiccups, the shower did come out great and we’re so happy with the grout color we picked out.  The shower definitely isn’t perfect – but B and I will be mostly the one ones to know where all of the imperfections are.  We also feel super accomplished and so proud of how it came out.  We just have a few finishing touches to do before we can start using it!

Questions for me? Leave a comment below!

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