How to Install a Tile Steam Shower Ceiling

Lead Image
What You'll Need
Ceramic tiles
Ceramic tile adhesive
Grout sealer
Tile spacers
Silicone caulk
Caulking gun
Notched trowel
Rubber grout float
Straight edge
Carpenter's square
Wet tile saw

Installing a tile steam shower ceiling is the best way to finish this ultra-relaxing home fixture. Ceramic tiles are waterproof, durable, and relatively easy to install. You should already have the frame of the ceiling in place, as well as the appropriate polyethylene vapor barrier and moisture-resistant cement fiberboard.

Once set in place, the ceiling tiles will join with the wall tiles to form a leak-proof canopy. Contrary to what you may have heard, a residential steam shower ceiling needn't be sloped, as it takes over 45 minutes for condensed water to begin dripping. That's far longer than most private users will spend taking a steam.

Step 1 - Diagram the Grid

Layout the ceramic tiles directly on the fiberboard. Select a pattern for the tile layout. Trace the first tile starting at a lower corner. If the wall tile is already in place, position the lowest ceiling row so that there will be a gap between the lower edge of the ceiling tile and the top edge of the uppermost wall tile.

This gap is necessary for filling in the seam with grout. Use the carpenter's square and the straight edge to mark reference points on the backing board, making sure to leave an equal gap on all sides of every tile for grout. Note any tile cuts you have to make and take care of that beforehand.

Step 2 - Set the First Row of Tiles

Mix the ceramic tile adhesive. It should have the consistency of pancake batter. Use the notched trowel to coat the backside of the first tile evenly with adhesive and affix it to the backing board using the diagram as a guide. Press the tile firmly and twist it into place. Immediately set the first spacer at the inner corner of the first tile. The tile spacers you use will match the eventual grout gap width. Continue in this manner to set the first row.

Step 3 - Set Remaining Tiles

Continue setting tiles row by row until the entire backing board is covered. Set tile spacers at each grout line intersection point to maintain the proper positioning of each tile.

Step 4 - Grout the Gaps

Once the tile adhesive has cured for 24 hours, remove the spacers. Mix the grout according to the instructions. You'll fill the gaps between the tiles using the rubber grout float, a specialty trowel designed expressly for this substance. Have a bucket and large sponge ready to wipe away the residue.

Pack grout into the gaps, working in sections. Don't forget to grout the gaps between the ceiling tiles and the wall tiles. You can use an old toothbrush to smooth and shape the grout lines. Allow it to it cure for another 24 hours.

Step 5 - Seal the Grout

Once the grout has cured, apply sealer to prevent moisture from creeping into the porous surface. Use silicone caulk to seal any gaps between tile and steam shower door.