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Tile Learning Center

Installing a Tile Shower Floor

First, note the bottom row of the shower wall is left off so the floor can be installed first. That way the last row of wall tile comes down on the floor for waterproofing. There will be a curb for easy handicap access. The shower floor framing was held down 2" so tile could flow from bath to shower.
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Very physical day - this is a big shower floor. The floor tile will be on a diagonal, so set the drain accordingly.
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This is how I mix when I don't have a helper. Luckily the only mixing I had to do over the years was for shower floors and most were a lot smaller than this one.
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We aren't worried at this point about how smooth it is. There is plenty of time to shape with K/K later. Getting it mixed and the general sloping is fine right now. Always place a torpedo level on the drains and wedge where they need to be and allow sand/cement to dry overnight. It's not possible to have a nice transition with a cocked floor drain.
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Next morning. When wet, it looks different than when dry. I use lots of Portland so my mix is very hard. Make sure drain is set at least 1/8" higher than tile for mortar and fine tune sloping for tile.
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The flat side of a trowell and white K/K makes it smooth and shaped perfectly for tile.
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Be ready with all your tiles cut.
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Since the floor is on a diagonal we need lots of halves, diagonally cut. What I don't have a picture of is the layout. YOU MUST KNOW HOW THE TILE HITS THE DRAIN BEFORE YOU START. So lay the tile dry all the way to the drain. You can adjust the floor in several ways.
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Durock is a great straight edge. Without order this floor would not be possible. I usually install 4 rows at a time, always laying the tiles dry first, to make sure they line up and contrast in color before doing the mortar. Always stop one row before drain.
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For a trowel I use my large V notch trowel and spread on concrete and also on the back of the tile. Place tiles in the row without any downward pressure. Wait until all four rows are installed then gently push flush with a grout float. The best way to feel for lippage is with your hands. Basically, gently shape the floor smooth with your hands. The grout float works well but you need to fine tune.
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Cut tiles to drain, dry. Pick up tiles in order so you can install them with mortar in the sane order. Always know what your floor is going to look like before you commit.
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When pushing tiles in place, use the Durock straight edge so tiles won't push out of line. Since there are no grout joints the tiles have nowhere to go but in place. "Feel" is everything here.
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We're getting there.
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Here I stopped for the day. You can tell the set tiles and the loose tiles. At this point I can make the threshold and cut the tile to it. Make sure the last row of set tiles are higher for mortar than the loose ones.
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Make a 2" threshold and install slightly above the tile surface. Not enough for a toe stomper but to give it a little architecture. After allowing floor to dry for two days you can take a grinder and 60 grit silicone carbide paper and really smooth the floor tiles, if need be.
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