How to Install River Rock Tile in a Shower

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  • 10 hours
  • Intermediate
  • 1500
What You'll Need
Notched trowel
Thinset mortar
Rubber float
Stiff bristled brush
Waterproof membrane
Tile adhesive
Rubber mallet

River rock tiles are durable materials used in different parts of the house, including the shower floor and walls. This particular type of tile is non-porous and is waterproof, thus it is the perfect material for the shower. Moreover, it also gives your shower a natural look. Installation of river rock tiles requires little tiling experience, so if you are a DIY enthusiast, you will be able to do this task easily.

Step 1 - Prepare the area where the tiles will be installed

Using a stiff-bristled brush, clean the area where the river rock tiles will be installed. Make sure that the base or subfloor is free from any cracks. If cracks are present, patch them using concrete, or a cement fiberboard. Moreover, make sure that you install a waterproof membrane on the shower walls and floors to prevent moisture from seeping towards the sub-floor or wall.

Step 2 - Spread the adhesive evenly on the sub-floor

spreading thinset in a bathroom

Spread the tile adhesive evenly on the sub-floor using a thinset mortar and the trowel. Make sure that the adhesive is spread evenly on the surface of the shower floor and wall. Make sure that you apply only three square feet of the tile adhesive to prevent the adhesive from hardening prior to the installation of the tiles.

Step 3 - Press the River Rock tiles onto the adhesive

Place the tiles closely together on top of the tile adhesive, then press the tiles gently on the adhesive to set it. You can also use a rubber mallet to evenly set the tiles on the tile adhesive. Leave the tile to set for a few hours to dry.

Step 4 - Seal the tiles with a sealer

Using a sponge, spread the sealer across the tiles. This will seal the tiles to prevent moisture from leaking on the subfloor. Once the sealer is applied, make sure you remove the excess sealant that adhered to the tiles before you let it dry. Use a slightly damp sponge for this procedure.

Step 5 - Apply sanded grout on the tile

trowel with grout

Use a rubber float to apply sanded grout on the tile. Let the grout dry for 30 minutes before removing the excess grout from the tile.

Step 6 - Remove the excess dry grout that adhered to the tiles

To remove the excess dry grout on the tiles, make sure that you use a stiff brush to dislodge the stubborn grout that adhered to the tiles. You can also use a wet sponge to loosen the remaining grout.

Step 7 - Apply a second coat of sealer

Once the grout has been removed, apply a second coat of sealer evenly on the tile surface by using the sponge. Let it dry for several hours before using the shower.