Ceramic Tile Shower 1 - Introduction

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These pages will show you the step by step procedure for installing ceramic tile around a tub, shower enclosure, or any other wall surfaces in a bathroom or kitchen.

Although many of the general rules of installing tile apply to most any tile job, there are specific techniques that apply only to walls. If you're also tiling a floor or counter top visit DoItYourself.com Ceramic Floors And Countertops section, which will prove invaluable to achieving an attractive and enduring ceramic tile job.


Safety glasses or goggles should be worn whenever power tools are in use and when chiseling, sanding, scraping or hammering overhead. This is very important for anyone wearing contact lenses. Wear ear protectors when using noisy power tools. Some tools operate at noise levels that damage hearing.

Be careful of loose hair and clothing so that it does not get caught in tools; roll your sleeves up and remove jewelry. The proper respirator or face mask should be worn when sanding, sawing, or using substances with toxic fumes. Keep blades sharp. A dull blade requires excessive force and can slip which causes accidents.

Always use the right tool for the job. Repair or discard tools with cracks in the wooden handles or chips in the metal parts. Don't drill, shape, or saw anything that isn't firmly secured. Oily rags are spontaneously combustible, so take care when you store and discard them. Don't abuse your tools. Keep a first aid kit on hand.

Do not work with tools when you are tired. That's when most accidents occur. Read the owner's manual for all tools and understand their proper usage. Keep tools out of the reach of small children. Unplug all power tools when changing settings or parts.

Most Common Mistakes

  1. Not using the proper backing or underlayment as a base for the tile or not sealing the joints of the backing well.
  2. Not laying out the tile correctly, thereby ending up with very thin tiles on the ends of the rows.
  3. Poor alignment of tiles so the job looks sloppy and out of level.
  4. Not using water-proof mastic when applying tile in moisture conditions.
  5. Poor adhesion of tiles to the mastic so the tiles can pull away from the wall.
  6. Not applying silicone caulk around the lip of the tub or shower.
  7. Not allowing mastic to dry long enough before applying the grout.
  8. Not wiping the grout off before it sets up, making it a much tougher job of scraping the grout off the face of the tile.
  9. Not sealing the grout with a silicone sealer a few days after the grout has had time to cure.
Continue to Part 2 of the series.