Learn How to Tile A Shower Floor | DIY Experience

Learn How to Tile A Shower Floor

Shower room

When you’re renovating a home, the bathroom can sometimes be one of the most straightforward and quickest rooms to complete.

This is especially true if you opt for a fiberglass shower base, taking a large part of the work out of the equation. However, not everyone wants this type of base.

If you want to get a little more creative, tiling your shower floor is a popular option that offers a wide variety of possible designs, colors and styles.

Making the initial decisions on how to tile a shower floor can take some time, and then there’s the actual job itself. Without a doubt, it will take a little longer and cost a little more to tile the floor.

That being said, the end product is often well worth the extra effort.

For those who are concerned about additional resources required, and the added cost, you may be surprised to learn the job isn’t as complex as it seems.

With a little time, you can learn how to tile a shower floor and carry out the work yourself, eliminating the need to hire anyone else.

In this article, we’ll see how to do it the right way.

What You’ll Need

Before learning how to tile a shower floor, first, you must gather up all the tools and materials. Here’s what you’ll need:

  • Tile adhesives – Waterproof Type
  • Ceramic tile backer board
  • Pre-slope thin-set mortar
  • Spirit Level
  • Measuring tape
  • Masking tape
  • Trowel

How to Tile A Shower Floor

Taking on the challenge of tiling your shower floor may seem a little daunting. Perhaps you think you can’t do this, and it may just be a smarter decision to hire a professional.

But rest assured, it’s easier than you think, and with a little care and consideration, you will be able to get the job done without much trouble at all.


Follow the steps below to get your shower floor looking great.


1.) Choose Your Tiles

Today, we are spoiled for choice when it comes to home improvement options. A trip to your nearest hardware store or homeware shop will present you with a wealth of choice, making it exceedingly tricky to pick the perfect one.

When it comes to tiles, you’ll find many different options, in varying designs, shades and shapes. Popular selections for bathroom tiles include porcelain, stone and ceramic tiles.

2.) Remove Old Tiles

Tiling a shower floor

Removing the old tiles is a fun and relatively easy job, requiring little skills and just a few tools, especially if you have no intentions of conserving or reusing the old tiles. It may be possible to just smash them all in a demolition job.

3.) Prepare the Backer Board

Man Tiling a shower floor

After that is completed, fit a cement backer board into the shower space. Add the pre-slope mortar to the shower pan first. This will ready the sub-floor for the tiles.

If you are using ceramic tiles, put the backerboard over the pan. Use a trowel to do this and give it time to cure. Afterwards, add the mortar onto the backerboard, then allow more time for it to cure.

4.) Take Measurements and Dry Lay Tiles on the Shower Wall

Tiled shower walls and floor

Regardless of what type you choose, the tiles will likely come in various sizes. Before setting any, you need to measure them and figure out how they will be laid.

Take measurements of the shower floor, checking that there is no slanting. To save time, you should plan to lay the tiles in sections, such as doing two or three horizontal rows at a time.

When you’ve completed the measurements and have the plan ready, test it out by dry laying the tiles, including border pieces. This enables you to see how it all fits together and allows you to determine where cuts will be needed.

Space the tiles out exactly how you want them to look when they are set. This is important as it will give you an accurate measurement.

Continue testing with dry lays, making cuts and adjusting the pattern. It’s essential you get the design perfect in a dry lay before adding any mortar or adhesive.

5.) Mark the Center

Tiled floor with numbers

Once you’re satisfied with the dry laying, remove all the tiles from the backer board, setting them aside for now.

Before beginning to lay the tiles for real, you must determine the center in the shower floor.

Take your measuring tape and make measurements from each side to find the exact center. Mark it with a pencil, and then use masking tape over the top to make it more obvious.

6.) Start Applying Tiles from the Center Point

Tiling a floor with a marker

Now it’s time to get started.

You should begin at the center point on the shower floor, adding the adhesive here first, then move to the left towards the shower wall.

Add the first tile at the center point, then work to the left. It’s best to do one row at a time, then check the levels to ensure everything is straight.

When you have them in position, push gently to set the tile. Afterwards, you’ll need to wipe the tiles clean with a sponge and water.

At the end of a row, check the level again to make sure it is straight.

If any tiles break, pull them off before the mortar dries. It can be replaced with a good one. 

You can simply remove and reset any tiles that are crooked, taking care to spread the mortar a little before repositioning.

Afterwards, it may be necessary to adjust the tiles on the vertical parts of the shower floor in order to line them up with the newly set floor tiles.

7.) Apply Shower Floor Tiles to the Right

Shower room with beautiful tile floor

Once you have completed the first row going from the center mark to the left wall, return to the center mark.

Add adhesive and start laying tiles to the right of the center. Work to the right, finishing the row until you reach the right-hand wall.

Afterwards, it may be necessary to adjust the tiles on the vertical parts of the shower floor and the right-hand wall in order to line them up with the newly set floor tiles.

You will likely need to make some cuts in order to fit them into place.

8.) Apply Floor Tiles to the Back Area in the Shower

Tiling a floor using different tools

Return to the center mark once again. This time, you must create a row of floor tiles that runs to the back of the shower.

As before, add the adhesive, then set the floor tiles, taking care to position them correctly before pushing down into the mortar.

9.) Apply Floor Tiles to the Shower Door

Shower room with glass space

Come back to the center mark.

Add the adhesive and start setting tiles in a row going from the center towards the shower door. Just as before, take care to create a straight and level row, right up to the shower wall.

Once this is completed, you should have a cross design on your shower floor. Use your level as a straight edge to confirm all tiles are straight and positioned correctly.

10.) Continue on to the New Row

When you’re satisfied that the cross design is perfect, it’s time to move on to the second row. AS far as learning how to tile a shower floor goes, you have already done the hardest part.

Now, it’s simply about repeating the process again.

Follow the same pattern, starting at the center point and working out to the left, then the right, top and bottom.

Continue the process over and over until the entire shower floor has been tiled.

Important Considerations on How to Tile a Shower Floor

While it is easy to learn how to do this job, there are some simple mistakes that can quickly make a mess of your shower floor.

Following the instructions in this guide will allow you to tile your shower floor without much help from professionals or even any prior experience.

However, there are two important things you should consider before starting the job.

Firstly, in order to get a great looking floor, the pitch must be correct. When you create the sub-floor, don’t rush it. Getting the mortar pour right is critical, and you need to take the time to spread it evenly and ensure it is level.

Check this multiple times, before and after it cures. Don’t lay a single tile until it is perfect.

Also, a simple but silly mistake that some novices make is to lay their shower floor tiles first, before continuing on to the shower walls.

This will mean you are standing on the newly set tiles, potentially pushing them out of position or damaging them with your tools and materials as you work on the walls.

Taking the time to prepare your area and work methodically from the bottom upwards will allow you to create a fantastic looking shower.

It all starts with the shower floor, and with this guide, you shouldn’t have a problem.

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