I am trying decide if I should try to put tile in my new shower
myself.. or pay a professional to do it. I will put in tile floor
myself, but I am afraid any small mistake in the shower will lead to
leaks and major damage in the years ahead.
Has anyone tiled their own shower? (it is now just studs, complete
re-do of the area.
:> I am trying decide if I should try to put tile in my new shower:> myself.. or pay a professional to do it. I will put in tile floor:> myself, but I am afraid any small mistake in the shower will lead to:> leaks and major damage in the years ahead.:> :> Has anyone tiled their own shower? (it is now just studs, complete:> re-do of the area.:> :how much is your time worth and do you have experience in doing tiling
:and do you have all the necessary tools to do the job right?
:You be the judge, not too easy but not too hard either. YMMV
IMO, it's one of the easier DIY jobs if you cover the bases. Do your
homework, get the materials and tools you need and follow the
recommended procedures. I think it's hard to go wrong if you do that. I
did a bit of tiling in a bathroom 24 or so years ago, and IIRC I did the
shower and the floor and was happy with the results. I soon moved, but I
felt confident I did the job right.
I think it is very hard. In my case I must have had tiny leaks that
let in water. I don't know how it got through the poly barrier, but
some of the 2x4 appear to have swelled and cracked a few tiles, etc.
I'm going to have to redo a bit and it will be hard because I used epoxy
Also, getting the floor right is hard, especially if you have back
problems. See how long you and crawl around of all 4's.
Even straightforward six by six tiling of a shower can be tricky.
Your question suggests you have no experience or tools. If it's a
bathroom in a basement ... maybe get some tools and borrow a couple
of books and take a run at it yourself. The more important the bath
is to the house and the more the house is worth, the less sense it
makes to DIY.
Oh -- if you are bringing in a tilesetter -- do NOTHING yourself.
Pros don't like to work on top of other people's work.
If you are afraid of it, then yes, it is hard to do.
If you are a reasonably handy DIY sort of guy, then no, it is not difficult
Most difficult part is getting the joints and grout done right. The tile
will not leak, only the seams. Have you ever cut a tile? Can you make a
straight and level line? (Not to be funny, but that can be difficult)
I've done 4 of them to date with no problems. I'm not saying it's easy,
just that if you're confident and somewhat skilled at DIY, you should be
able to do it just fine. Keep in mind that for the shower pan, you'll need
to pour up concrete and slope it to the drain. That can scare some folks
I say that it's incredibly easy to do an excellent job.
For a start to my way of doing it, use the search terms
"arctic ice" & "michael baugh"
Reader's Digest version is that I used 50 year pure unpaintable
white silicone to secure the tiles, which matched it nicely, and
to secure one to the next. Securing them to the wallboard,
bedding them in from tub edge on up, with very small
transition space between them, and that portion being flexible
silicone, instead of inflexible grout.
Been doing it that way for over 25 years, and the bathroom
wall of the first house I did has yet to look anything but fresh.
IMO, grout sucks, especially since it is moisture permeable,
and supports mold growth.
But the Styrofoam insulation to flush with the studs helps keep
mold from building up anyway, because the wall or ceiling is not
being a colder moisture condensate site during the winter.
Questions, just ask.
Haven't tiled one, but I did one with a friend with a Wilsonart SSV
surround kit (like 1/4" think Corian). Was very easy to work with and
produced very nice results. Since it has few seams there are fewer
potential places for it to leak as well.
One warning is to have a dust mask and a good shop vac. Cutting and
fitting the stuff with a router makes an impressive snowstorm of tiny
Currently doing mine we went with 3x6 subway tile been years since I
did any tile put up tile floor to ceiling on 3 x 4 foot shower. Takes
lots of time and planning. This weekend is wall grouting then next is
floor and grout.
1. Plan your work then work your plan
2. Be realistic wityh your time as well as skills
3. Research the web
4. Read books
5. And if you have the slightest inkling you are not prepared for the
time and work hire it out.
This bathroom has taken me about 3 months of weekends to complete.
Luckly we have 3 other full bath's already!
My first ceramic tile installation was the surround for a tub. I
installed on concrete backer board (Hardiboard?) on all three walls
from floor to ceiling, then did the tile and the grouting. All of my
help came from a library book.
The project turned out just fine and looks good today, 12 years later.
For me, grouting was the worst part of the project (others may
disagree). Overall difficulty is hard to describe but I'd say it was
more difficult than roofing my 20x20 workshop, less difficult than
installing our kitchen cabinets and countertop. Since then I've tiled
the backsplash and a peninsula countertop in our kitchen, and repaired
the tiles on a bathroom floor.
Two significant mistakes in the installation:
1) The 4" tiles have tiny bumps along their edges. I fitted the tiles
together instead of using spacers. The result was that the grout line
was awfully thin. Should have used the 1/16" plastic spacers instead.
2) I started work from the center out like the book said, but tried to
make the tiles come out "even", without cutting. Instead, I ended up
having to cut thin slivers from the edge of each tile to make it fit.
Lotsa work. I should have located the center so as to cut each edge
tile about in half.
If you decide to do the job yourself, get a couple square feet of extra
tile and about 1x2' scrap of the backerboard. Lay out and tile the
scrap, grout it, seal the grout. Then you'll no longer feel like a
newbie---nor will you be one. (And you'll have a hot-pot-holder for
Best -- Terry
Well I put in tile for under my woodstove and I would say of all the home
improvement projects I have done, this was the most royal PIA. If I can
avoid doing this in the future, I will. Maybe pay someone else to do it.
The problems are lining up all the tiles so the gaps work out to be right
and it looks nice. Then the walls might not be 90 degrees square and you
will have larger gaps on one side than another, so need to scoot things over
a bit so it looks right. But then you have all that adhesive drying and you
need to keep it wet. Then applying grout you need to hurry up and get it on
quickly then wipe it all off the tiles before it dries.
Basically once you start, you can't stop work to take a break because
everything will dry. And can't take your time lining everything up because
everything is drying. And then the lines or gaps between tiles don't match
up with the walls because the walls are not perfectly 90 degrees square.
I suppose there is a learning curve to all this, but in the future I would
rather watch someone else do all the learning! I know a couple of people
who install tile and they like the work. I have a lot of respect for them.
It is an art.
"Jack" wrote in message
Yes, there is a learning curve to tiling and you apparently are still at
the beginning of it (no offense).
Key things to remember:
The tape measure, square and chalk line are your friends - Do all your
layout in advance, mark the key layout lines on the underlayment /
backer board before starting. You should *never* be figuring out the
layout as you go.
You can take a break any time if you're using the correct materials and
applying them properly. Do not try to mix all the thinset at once and do
not apply it to more than about a 2' square area at a time. There is no
magic to this, you can stop at any point and just scrape off any exposed
thinset so it won't dry in place.
Spacing and alignment, if your tiles are not of the self spacing variety
with little nubs on the sides to hold even spacing, buy a bag of the
little plastic cross spacers. Remove the spacers after you're a couple
rows of tiles away.
Grouting is also not a marathon. Unless you're doing a truly huge area
there should be little concern about the grout drying in the bucket
while you try to apply it. You also do not need to instantly wipe off
the surface of the tiles as you go, you do that as a second pass later
once the grout in the joints has set a bit. Even if you leave the haze
on for a while you can clean it off with muriatic acid.
There are plenty of DIY tiling books out there and all of them will say
pretty much the same thing, especially re: figuring your layout before
A CAD package can help a lot with layout. I used A9CAD (freeware)
on my last tile project. The best layout became obvious once I
"placed a few "virtual tiles". It helped lay out the backer board
I found that about 15 sq.ft. at a time was about what I could do.
This took about 16 cups of thinset. 15sq.ft. is a complete sheet
of Hardibacker so it was easy to estimate how much I needed. About
30 sq.ft. a day was all I could manage without getting too tired
and started making mistakes. Yes, I'm a DIYer. ;-)
I'd use the spacers anyway. I tried it with the nubs once; didn't
work out as well. I leave the spacers in until the next day. I
also use them to clean up any thinset that squeezes out into the
grout line. They're just the right size. ;-)
My floor was ~60sq.ft. It took about an hour to float the grout
in. I then waited about 45 more minutes for the grout to set a
bit, then wiped the floor down twice with clean water. It went
very well, this time. I have left the haze on a few times (not
enough water or not clean enough). The blue/green scotchbrite pads
clean grout and even thinset off glazed tiles quite well. The
surface is pretty hard and stuff doesn't stick tight.
When the tile is down, it's too late to cut it. ;-)
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