I am in the process of building a new bathroom & have had the room
fully plastered & fitted a quadrant shower tray. I am wondering if I
should tile the walls first and then fit the enclosure on top of the
tiles, or fit the enclosure to the walls first & tile inside it? Any
thoughts / advise?
Usually, shower trays taper slightly, so if you tile then fit the tray, you
will have quite a big gap to seal. OTOH, if you fit the tray then tile, it
will be easire to seal the join but you will have to be sure the tray is
level or have a tapering gap. I tiled to about 2cm below the top of the
tray then fitted the tray and put squidgit in the gap - I used sanitary
silicone since I have a wooden floor and so the tray might move slightly as
I step in and out - I am NOT a lightweight!
2 - Enclosures.
If you fit the enclosure then tile, you will have to cut the tiles and seal
the gap - fiddly.
If you tile then fir the enclosure, you can guarantee that the wall will not
be perfectly straight and flat, so you will have a variable gap between the
edge of the enclosure and the tiles that will need to be filled. I tiled
then enclosed and accepted that there would be a variable gap. Silicone
inside and out finished it off.
You'd install shower tray and nor ensure it was level....? :-)
Even if ti wasn't quite level, it's be a small taper, if it was that bad
i'd trim the tiles to the gap.
I think it's much better from a POV of waterproofing to fit the tray
Also hard to seal the gap as the makers intended, as you can't bed the
enclosure back against the wall.
tile then fit enclosure. There will be a gap to be hidden most likely.
Use some sort of trim strip (I used chromed tile edging for mine) to
Not always practicable, and the out of level we're talking about here is
maybe a couple of millimetres. Not enough to upset the draining of the tray
but enough to look odd with level tiles. Also, cheaper trays are not always
straight on the top edge - or on the bottom, come to that! (Also true for at
least one not-so-cheap wc pan we bought, which meant the seat didn't touch
on all its little rubber feet, and that b*gg*red the hinges in short
Yes. I tiled, fitted the enclosure tight back to the tiles and the door
wouldn't seal, so I had to pack the enclosure away from the tiles at the
'low' spots and seal the gap. Messy!
Never thought of that! I have a rather variable bead of silicone...
I'm still confused .... so basically there are pros & cons to fitting
the enclosure either before or after the tiles? The tray is already
fitted, as per the instructions, which show it installed before tiling
... but not sure about the enclosure. Surely from a sealing point of
view it would be better to be done before tiling?
No I don't think there is, it's much better to tile first. I'm pretty
sure the instructions for my enclosure said that way as well.
I don't think so. anyway, an enclosures isn't going too leak there
anyway. My enclosure has a section about say 2 cm wide that fits against
the tiles this is well sealed behind with sealant There is no real
exposed sealant to get damaged or leak.
The weak point IME for showers is where the tiles and the tray abut. The
sealant here is exposed, and damage lead to the potential for leaks
behind the tray, (help though if you have an upstand)
fitting tiles up to the enclosure would require a bead of sealant to
seal, and would also not look so neat a job either
Note I don't have a problem as described by the Ken of a problem sealing
the tray to the uneven tiles. My wall was certainly not upright , or
flat, but my enclosure had a bit that fits against the wall first, to
take up out of trueness and some unevenness, the main enclosure then
fits to this. I've no concerns about it leaking.
In my two bathrooms that I've done fairly recently i have:
- planned where the top of the enclosure and top of tray will be - in one
case I was doing the "different colour tiles inside the shower" thing so I
wanted the tops of the "second colour" tiles to end at the top of the
enclosure and also the change of colour to occur where it would be hidden by
the shower frame.
- based on the above, carefull decided where to start tiling both walls (a
corner enclosure in both cases)
- put horizontal battens on the wall to support the SECOND row of tiles up
from the bottom (i.e. the first row of whole tiles)
- tiled everything starting on these battens
- When done, fitted the shower tray (both were Matki with built-in tiling
upstand edges on the "stone" resin trays.
- Then cut and fitted the bottom row of part tiles. With these I cut
everything beforehand then did the following :
- Whacked on a load of silicone on maybe the bottom inch of the tile, rest
normal tile adhesive
- Got them all on the wall as quick as possible
- Applied the main bead of silicone between the tiles and tray (well
actually most of this was what squidged out from behond the tiles). I also
had masking tape on the edges of the tray in anticipation.
- After it had all set, grouted (mix-it-yourself grout of course - a
pleasure to use compared to previous attempts with ready mixed grout or,
heaven forbid, "tile and grout")
- Fitted enclosure as per instructions, including sealing to tile surface.
- Job done.
(one of them ended up like
Of course you already have your tray fitted so the only bit of advice I'd
give you is to be VERY careful not to drop any tiles into it!
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