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Old 03-28-2010, 04:36 PM   #1
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tiling shower advice


hey all.

my shower stall is ready to be tiled.

i have the floor all set with pre-slope mortar bed, membrane, and final deck mud slope, as well as the mortared curb.

i am very pleased with the progress thus far and was very careful in my research and application.

so i'm wondering: where do i start? should i tile the floor, grout it, then cover with cardboard and do the walls? i like the idea of the walls overlapping the floor.

otherwise where? tile the walls first, leaving space for floor to slide under, or tile walls right down to floor?


also, i have 3X6 X 3/8" thick tumbled travertine tiles for the walls, and mesh mounted 5/8" square for the floor.

how should i apply the wall tiles? do i need to scratch out thinset with a notched trowel, and/or back-butter the tiles and stick them on?

finally, for the inside corners, would you leave a continuous grout line there, or overlap tiles sort of herringbone style?

thanks a lot.

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Old 03-28-2010, 05:23 PM   #2
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tiling shower advice


I start with the floors first--I don't grout the floor until all the tile work is done.

A ledger board is needed --around the walls--the tiles will slide down if you don't--(leave out the bottom row of tiles until the upper walls are set)

I start tiling with the back wall--spread the firm-set on the walls--I usually use white with stone.

Any more questions?--Mike--

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Old 03-28-2010, 05:30 PM   #3
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tiling shower advice


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Originally Posted by oh'mike View Post
I start with the floors first--I don't grout the floor until all the tile work is done.

A ledger board is needed --around the walls--the tiles will slide down if you don't--(leave out the bottom row of tiles until the upper walls are set)

I start tiling with the back wall--spread the firm-set on the walls--I usually use white with stone.

Any more questions?--Mike--
yes. thanks.

1) no issue walking on the floor without grout while tiling the walls? no risk of busting out the little 5/8" square tiles?

2) could you explain the ledger idea bit more please? if my floor is done, don't i just need a little grout spacer off the floor, like 1/8"?

i don't quite get what you mean with the board.

so i don't need the butter the tiles? just thinset and away we go?
thanks man.
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Old 03-28-2010, 07:10 PM   #4
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tiling shower advice


I know you worked real hard on your pan---it's not level enough for tile--

At least mine never have been, The bottom tile will be a cut--- figure your lay-out so the tile at the pan will be cut to fit the contours of the floor tile.

It looks like you have a fairly small tile--I usually leave out the bottom tile --screw the ledger board to the wall--and tile up from there--(you may want to leave out two?)

The next day I remove the ledgers and put in the bottom row--using little plastic wedges to get it level.

You must use spacers as you tile upward---There is a great spacer--a disk with a cross on one side and a single spacer on the other--I found them at Lowes last week--I always picked them up at my tile house before.

The ledger board can be any straight piece if 1x3 or 1x4 --I usually have some ply-wood scraps that work.

As to the mud--put it on the wall--keep a 'finger bucket' handy--keep you hands clean and the face of the tile--sadly--some squeeze up is going to happen between the tiles--scrape that out the next morning while it's still soft.

The floor will be fine--cover it with card board and a tarp--Clean up any spills as you go -

Here is some good reading--Shower Construction Info (a collection of posts) - Ceramic Tile Advice Forums - John Bridge Ceramic Tile

I'm going to fix supper--I'll check later--Mike--
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Old 03-28-2010, 07:35 PM   #5
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tiling shower advice


thanks mike.
as to the ledger board, i think i get the idea of it, but what about making holes in my precious membrane material?

can't i start tiling the bottom first and just shim/space as necessary to make it perfectly level? i have a nice laser level that shoots a 180 degree line, enough to wrap around three walls.

there may be a little irregularity to my outer floor lines, but i did hold a level on them and they're pretty dead nuts, i have to say.

i did have one more question:

how do i grout the 3X6 stuff - it's tumbled travertine and very porous with all kinds of nooks and crannies and holes.
do i need to do row by row, precisely, or can i float the grout all over and somehow clean it out of the holes?

so, what would be the worst case scenario if i proceed as follows:

1) tile floor
2) tile walls - start right on the floor with a grout spacer, adjust for level as needed

or, why not let the ceiling line ride out any irregularity? the ceiling is 8' high and will hardly be looked at. if i get to the top and am 1/4" out of parrellel with the ceiling, i can just trim as needed, eh?

sorry to dispute. i know i asked YOUR advice after all. just not digging the ledger board idea.

thanks again mate.
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Old 03-28-2010, 08:31 PM   #6
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tiling shower advice


You could make a success of that--You may need to set the bottom few courses and then wait till the next day to do the rest--

Just a note--check your layout and make sure that you have at least 1/2 tile at the ceiling.

Ceilings are seldom level and a tiny piece that gets bigger is more noticeable than a large tile that grows.

Grouting Travertine is a nightmare--Especially the tumbled stone--Seal it before you start grouting--

You will need to use a pastry bag--your finger--and a lot of time.

Or live with all the nooks and crannies filled with grout.---You picked a nice looking stone--
But a difficult one to install---Mike--
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Old 03-28-2010, 08:37 PM   #7
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tiling shower advice


I don't mind a dispute--there are at least two right ways of doing anything---I only speak from my own experience.

A debate is a productive discussion--I love a good debate.--That is where great ideas are born.
----Mike---

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