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They're all fixer-uppers
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I like watching these hgtv and diy bathroom shows for ideas. I can't help but to notice that almost always they tile the floor first after demo or after drywalling. I've always known it as

- demo
- Framing
- roughing
- backer board
- drywall
- finish backer
- finish drywall
- tile walls
- tile floor
- paint
- trim and doors
- fixtures and furniture
 

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I hadn't noticed that. I have noticed the procedure they sometimes teach for tiling walk-in showers. They put a rubber membrane down under the floor tile and bring it about six inches up the wall. Everything above that 6" just has cement board, thinset and tile. No waterproofing on the walls.
 

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Stuck in the 70's
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I suspect the reason they tile first has to do with their deadlines. They only have so much time to film the show and complete the project so anything that takes substantial drying time (like thinset and grout) gets started first.
 

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I suspect the reason they tile first has to do with their deadlines. They only have so much time to film the show and complete the project so anything that takes substantial drying time (like thinset and grout) gets started first.
Possibly, but that doesn't explain why (as J187 notes) they so often tile the floor before the walls. That has always puzzled me, too.

And gma2rjc's right, I've never once seen waterproofing of shower walls discussed, except once when they put plastic behind the backerboard.

I'm only partway through my first bathroom (my own), so am basically an ignoramus about this, but I'm curious: Why would you paint after tiling? Seems to me if you do it the other way around, there's no need to worry about protecting your nice new tile floor from the occasional paint drip or scuff damage from the ladder/staging/etc. For this reason, I was planning to 1) put backerboard on walls, 2) paint drywall, 3) tile walls, 4) put backerboard on floor, 5) tile floor. I realize it's not maximally efficient but is there any other reason not to do it this way? Thanks.
 
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