Blog Post

Today I’m going to be finally finishing up this whole bathroom remodel by installing the shower tile and getting the glass door installed.

Much like many projects, the planning stage is the most important part. I spent quite a bit of time figuring out the best way to lay out these small subway tiles in the space.

I grabbed the tape measure and found the center line. Then using a level, I extended that line all the way to the ground, and all the up to the ceiling.

I wanted a full row of tiles to go just below the shower nook, so I measured down using the tiles and 1/8 inch spacers. Doing this would let me know where to start the first row of tiles down below.

After making a mark, I used a level again to extend the line all the way around the shower.

I cut a few strips of wood for the tiles to sit on and screwed them to the wall right on the line. Although the line is level, I also kept checking to make sure boards were as well.

I was now ready to start installing tiles so I mixed up some more of the same mortar I used for the floor.

I started on the middle wall, against the board, right on the center line. I buttered up the first tile with some mortar and smashed it on the wall. After putting on the second tile, I felt like the first one didn’t have enough mortar. See how there are still dry spaces after pulling it off? I added more and then smashed it back in place.

At this point it was nothing more than repetition. Butter the tile and smash it on the wall. I did keep stopping to make sure the tile rows were level. I kept all the full tiles in the middle of the wall, and the tiles that I had to cut went in the corners. The classic subway pattern is just a row on top of another, but shifted over by half a tile.

I added a piece of wood screwed to the shower nook to support the tiles above. After double checking it was level, I continued adding tiles all the way up.

Not much different on the second wall. I started with a marked line where I wanted the tiles to end and worked my way into the corner.

On this last wall, I tiled around the valve and used a diamond tipped hole saw to make the hole for the shower head.

The next day, I came back and knocked off all the little tile spacers. These spacers were okay, but next time I will use the little shim spacers that allow more fine tuning. I also removed the support boards at the bottom and from the shower nook.

I grabbed the Hydro Barrier and sealed up all the holes from the temporary support boards.

Most of the tiles had little mortar smudge marks so I used a damp rag and a small scraper to clean them, as well as all the joints.

The floor tiles needed to be installed before the last row of wall tiles. I laid out the sheets of to figure out the best way to install them.

I used a utility knife to split the sheets down to make them fit.

Once I had the entire space covered, I removed the two sheets right above the drain and added some spacer tiles to bring the sheets flush with the top of the drain.

This is the top down view, showing how I could see the edges of the drain.

Using a sharpie, I went around the perimeter of the drain and marked it out on the tiles. I removed the sheets and took them out to the garage. I used a ruler to connect the marks and make nice, straight lines.

There were two complete tiles inside of the lines, so I just cut them out with a knife.

I used a 360, or non-segmented, diamond blade on the angle grinder to cut along the lines. This is very delicate work, so I went super slow. I didn’t want to get carried away and accidentally chip a tile. Most of these blades can be used either wet or dry, but I thought it would be easier to just cut this dry.

After making sure the tiles fit correctly, I pulled off all the sheets and applied a heavy layer of mortar and then smashed them in place. I continued this for all the sheets, as well as all the individual tiles I placed around perimeter.

Once the mortar had time to dry, I could apply the grout. We chose to use a dark grey grout to match the floor tiles in the rest of the bathroom. I mushed it down into all the joints, let it sit for a few minutes, and then wiped the tiles clean with a sponge and some water.

Tiling the shower nook was really no different than the rest. I applied a coat of mortar and then arranged the tiles. The shelf, sides and top were all the same white subway tile, but the back was the same tile as the floor. I didn’t show it here, but I had to cut a lot of tiny little pieces to fill everything in.

Once the floor was finished drying, I installed the remaining wall tiles at the very bottom.

I cut all the curb pieces out of the same tile as the bathroom floor and installed them in place.

The last bit of tile work before grouting was the bull-nose on the front edge of the two side walls. The bull-nose gives the edge a really clean and finished look.

I mixed up some grout and spread it around. I let it sit, and just like the other times, wiped it clean with a sponge and some water.

The curb was the same, except I applied the white grout that I used on the bathroom floor.

My work was done. The very last thing to call the entire project complete was to have a local glass company come and install the glass shower door. These guys were pro’s and had the entire thing installed in about an hour and a half. They make the job seem easy, like they just drill a few holes and screw in the glass panels, but it’s all the little details that make the difference. They spent the time to make sure the panels line up perfectly. They made sure to seal all the holes with silicone so there wouldn’t be any leaks. After cleaning up after themselves they were gone.

In the end, the shower looks fantastic, and we are incredibly happy with the final results.

BEFORE

AFTER

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