Learn How To Install Tile in Showers - Installation Tutorial
Showers are a natural for ceramic, porcelain, and stone tile especially when the tile is properly installed. This tutorial focuses on installing ceramic tile on a cement mortar bed in a completely tile lined shower.
Installing Showers Using a Cement Mortar Bed
The following photos and text concern the tiling of a residential shower using a one coat mortar method on solid backing. The ceramic tile chosen was a ceramic wall tile and the floor was also tiled.
This job came about because the original shower installation failed, leaking badly. When the old shower pan was removed, we determined that the entire tiled shower had to be replaced. The original builder had made several critical errors that resulted in the failure of the shower pan. We'll point out those errors.
In the first photo, you'll notice that the water damaged floor has been replaced with a suitable substrate of ¾ exterior plywood.
When you are installing a two-piece shower drain, you should - ideally - position it in the center of the floor. Have a qualified plumber install the drain and make sure the plumber aligns the two screw holes either diagonally or parallel with the side walls.
The backing seen here consists of ¼ exterior grade plywood requested by the membrane installer. 2” X 12” joist lumber nailed between the studs above floor level will work also. You are looking to have a solid surface for the pan membrane to be stapled/adhered to.
In this photo, the installer has folded and turned up the edge of the felt to a height that represents the total necessary pre-slope height. In this way, the installer needs only to follow the top of the felt when applying the mortar to establish the proper slope.
In the original installation, the builder did not pre-slope the shower pan prior to the membrane installation. This contributed greatly to the failure of the shower pan.
An alternative to the "hot mopped" shower is the rolled or sheet applied membrane. This is the most common shower pan membrane. The installation methods and requirements are nearly identical to the "hot mop" method. Think of the liner as replacing only what the technician did.