Stand-alone showers provide homeowners with an easy place to enhance the style and appearance of their bathroom. With the availability of mosaic tiles, the options are endless for color and pattern. In some ways, the installation of mosaic tile is identical to that of any other tiles. However, because individual mosaics are small (usually 2 inches or less), sheet-mounted, and often made of glass, mosaic tiles present unique challenges.
In this article, we’ll show you how to install mosaic tiles in a shower.
Tools and Materials
- Framing Square
- Circular Saw
- Grout Float
- Mixing Drill
- Notched Trowel
- Utility knife
- Safety Goggles
Choose Your Tile
Many home improvement and flooring stores offer a variety of tiles to choose from. Mosaic tiles are generally presented in small sheets with several small mosaics placed in a square or a rectangle. While most small tiles come in the form of squares and rectangles, some come in fun shapes, like trapezoids. Take into account the color palette and any pattern you wish to have in the shower. The overall look affects style throughout the bathroom.
Plan the Layout
Ensure that you have enough space to tile your shower. The key to installing mosaic tile in a shower is to plan the shower with the tile you want to use. Use the tile to decide the exact dimensions and positions of the benches, niches, and even wall thicknesses so that you can use solid tiles as much as possible and minimize cutting. One foolproof method of tiling a shower is to draw a large-scale model of each wall on rosin paper. Be sure to draw the layout, including the thickness of the backing board and any necessary plywood, like on the bench. Then mark the existing uprights that define the positions of the holes. Then place the tile on the model to decide the heights, widths, and depths of shower elements such as benches, niches, and shelves.
Frame the Tile Shower
If you have a gap between the shower base and the wall, start by framing the wall for your tile installation in a shower project. Take framing from floor to ceiling, between the base and the wall. If there is no frame behind the ceiling to anchor the wall, simply screw it onto the drywall, then add a drop of construction adhesive around the ceiling plate. Use your model to set the height of the top and bottom, then add the lock. Extend the sides if necessary to fit the dimensions of the tiles in and/or around the opening. If your niche is on an exterior wall, glue 1-inch-thick foam insulation against the exterior lining with a special foam adhesive.
Prepare the Surface
You can install a waterproof membrane behind the tiles due to the location. However, if your mosaic tiles are transparent enough to see the membrane, you may choose to use a raw board to prevent water from settling behind the tile. Expansion joints are crucial between tiles due to temperature changes in the shower. Also, the role of the builder paper is to add water protection to the ceiling and walls.
Level the Thinset
If you are working with thin tiles or glass tiles that are not painted on the back, apply the thin set with a notched trowel. Then level it slightly with the flat side of the trowel before laying the tile. Flattening will prevent edges and air pockets from being seen through a clear glass pane. This will also help prevent the thin set from getting caught between the spaces of the thin tile.
Install the Tile
Once the surface is prepared, you can start installing the tiles. The installation moves gradually as you work with each set of tiles throughout a specific design. Install one tile after another to the left and right, inserting spacers between each tile, then checking that all the tiles are level. Start a second row, tile in the same way, and insert dividers under and between the tiles for proper spacing. Continue to fit the tiles in this method for your how-to-install mosaic tile in a shower project until you have covered the planned area. You can use front brown paper to apply pressure to the tiles without damaging the surface. The tiles must be grouped, cleaned, and sealed.
Tamp them Flat
To ensure that the tile is fully integrated and that the faces of all tiles are aligned with each other, it is important to fill them in with a block after placing the sheets in the thin set. The filler block used must have beveled edges to make it easier to hold. You can use a thin rubber sheet glued to the face to protect the tile. But a wooden float with a handle works very well, too. Just use a chunk of wood, but keep the face free of grout, which could scratch the tile. Hold the block so that the face is parallel to the surface and beat it up and down to fit the tile.
When the installation of the tiles is finished, you can enjoy the beautiful mosaic tile frame, the shower tray, and even the ceiling. The essentials of how to install mosaic tile in a shower have been provided, but your contractor may offer a more complete explanation upon request. Follow the contractor’s instructions before using the shower for the first time.