Shower tile spacing and best plan of attack? [Archive] - Ceramic Tile Advice Forums - John Bridge Ceramic Tile


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10-21-2010, 05:44 AM
Starting the tear out of my old fiberglass shower this weekend and going back with the kerdi system and tile. I am new to tile and plan on putting a 2x2 moasaic ribbon 4" tall all around the shower walls. See image attached for my idea.

My question is, I assume you would want the solid pieces up top as shown and you cut pieces on the bottom. This may be a stupid question but is there an easy way to do this? I don't see starting at the ribbon and working down. Do you just have to take very good measurements and figuring and cut the bottom piece to fit and work up? Sounds right but if I am off a little is will throw my niche out as I want the ribbon to run on top & bottom of the niche.

Am I worrying to much over a simple solution?


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10-21-2010, 05:51 AM
What a beautiful design...........good luck with your project.

10-21-2010, 05:57 AM
So you have 2 listello bands running horizontally top and bottom of the niche and you want to know how to figure out the size of the cut on the 18"(?) field tile at the bottom of the shower?
You can either measure very carefully and cross your fingers; or most people will use a board at the bottom to hold up the bottom full tile and install the cut afterward. Some just nail it up and Kerdifix the holes afterward, others stack stuff under the board to hold it up so there's no nails.

10-21-2010, 06:25 AM
The wall tiles are 13x13. floor tiles will be the same 2x2's as the ribbon.

Stacking idea sounds like a good idea.

Also another thing. Because of the kerdi system I am assuming it really does not matter how you lap the tiles since under the tiles are water proofed? But is there a better practice that might look better? Areas I am talking about would be on the niches or seat areas. Vertical or horizontal tiles first or does it matter? I would guess floor goes last as it would be in the way and take more time to wait for tile to set up before walking on it.

10-21-2010, 06:33 AM
Floor & ceiling generally go under the wall.
Top of seat goes on top of vertical face of seat w/ BN on top of seat.
Niches can be done a million ways. Picture frame with BN on outside. Picture frame inside of niche (BN on inside). I would choose the second one here with your layout.

10-21-2010, 06:53 AM
Royce, I am a little confused but that could be my lack of experience/knowledge.

BN=? (sorry for ignorance)

From the picture I attached would the niche tile be done as shown or use the 2" mosaic ribbon as the edging for the niche. I had planned on using bullnose edging on top & bottom of the niche for the edge (which is the way shown) but that can be done different if the 2" mosaic will work as well?

Houston Remodeler
10-21-2010, 07:00 AM
To tackle the tile install on this wall I would;

1- do a dry layout / story pole with the tiles laying flat on a coutertop using the exact tiles and spacers
2- from that story pole you'll take measurements
3- transfer those measurements to the wall, noting the top and bottom of the entire accent strip
4- figure out from the bottom of the accent strip, where the bottom of the lowest whole field tile will rest.
5- install a temporary ledger strip at that height, all the way around the shower/room Stacking isn't the best idea. Screws #1, nails if your pneumatic gun is handy. The screw holes are very easily plugged and not a worry.
6- start tiling the field tiles up to the bottom of the accent strip. Some pro's work one wall at a time. I recommend to DIYers to work horizontally all around the room to be assured the grout joints match wall to wall.
7A- Since your accent strip is in 3 sections, including a diagonal, how you proceed is determined by how much time you have. Personally I would make a wood filler strip / blocks the height of the entire accent strip, install that over the bottom field tiles before installing the upper field tiles.
8A- then install the accent strip one section at a time. The weight from the upper sections will move the lower sections if done while the lower section is still wet.
7B- Install the lower field tiles, then set one row of the accent strip at a time, allowing each row to fully cure before moving up a row.

7A and 8A are recommended as its easier to get the upper and lower field tiles perfectly plumb without the inlay in place. in the pic below, TLS was used to keep the tiles nice and lippage free before the inlay way installed. The wood blocks are the height of the inlay including the grout joint/spacers above and below

Houston Remodeler
10-21-2010, 07:01 AM

BN = bullnose

The only thing I would change from your pic is to move the upper niche jamb tile to be tucked under the wall tile above it. That way you eliminate one visual grout joint. The niche sill sticks out of the wall 1/8" to 1/4"

Levi the Tile Guy
10-21-2010, 07:41 AM

I would go 1-6 like Paul stated then I do it differently. I then install the accent strip all at on time wrapping all walls together. Then I quit in there for the day and let it dry overnight. The next day I tile above the accent strip. If you go this rout make sure you give yourself plumb pencil lines so you know exactly where to start you field tile so all the groutjoints still line up.

And yes I do the floor last usually, but i use pieces of my floor tile and wedges to hold the first row of tile off of the ground so when I do my floor I can slide them under the wall tile.

10-21-2010, 08:59 AM
I'm writing here as an DIYer like you, doing my first shower. I carefully measured and calculated and gridded everything on the walls. In my case, my really important line was at the front of my bench, the first full row up from the bottom. I put in a ledger and worked up with 12x12 tiles. It was easy to nail that important first line, but by the time I was up 3 more rows I was 1/8" below my carefully measured line. I was working one row at a time so it wasn't weight compressing my spacers. It's just that most tiles vary a teeny bit and it adds up. Moving my listello 1/8" is no big deal, but your niche is going to be more picky. Tiling down a wall is also tricky and involves much tape, so I think Paul's idea of doing a full layout with spacers to place your ledgers is probably best. If you do that, use hard spacers like Tavis. Soft ones will compress on a wall and you'll end up low.

Houston Remodeler
10-21-2010, 09:05 AM
Also remember that there is no gravity when doing the story pole. There will inevitably be some variation on the actual install. This is the reason why I cut my niches in after some of the tiles are on the wall, using my not-patented, free-to-the-world niche method described here ( Ignore the bits about the leaking kerdi board. That matter has been resolved. The principles are the same.

10-21-2010, 09:56 AM
Another maybe easy question. The shower curb. At one time was looking to cap it with granite or marble but the wife would rather have it tile. Since the BN is 3" wide and the curb is only 4 1/2" wide plus tile thickness (maybe 5 1/4") I can not evenly place two BN with a gap on top of the curb. Only way would be to cut one down or both to make it even.

Or put the BN vertical on each side and have the horizontal (top) of the curb cut from the main tile pieces. That would create less seams on top but more on the side of the curb. The way I have it shown in the image above is with the BN on sides in vertical.

Any comment which is best?

Houston Remodeler
10-21-2010, 10:01 AM

I prefer to have the grout line on the side rather than visible from the top. Thus cutting down the 2 for the top to match the width is the way to go IMHO

Levi the Tile Guy
10-21-2010, 10:05 AM

For the curb I always put bullnose on the top, and run across your issue on almost every sing install. What I do is wrap everything first then get the measurement. Let's say yours is 5 1/4". You need to know what size grout joint you will have, let's assume 3/16". I always center my grout joint so you would need to subtract 3/16" from 5 1/4" which = 5 1/16". Divide that by 2 and you get 2 17/32". So you either cut all bullnose at that or cut one side @ 2 1/2" and the other @ 2 9/16".

10-21-2010, 06:45 PM
You guys have been great for information. Got another question.

Using green board behind the kerdi system. Did a search and found that taping seams is not required. However where the rock is compressed on the edges there will be a low spot. When is the best time to try and fix this?
1. Thinset the seam before the membrane?
2. Try and level when doing the membrane? (sounds difficult)
3. Use extra thinset when applying the tiles?

Hopefully my questions will run out but as I think I come up with more.

Levi the Tile Guy
10-21-2010, 06:53 PM
Robert I would be very suprised if the tapered edge of the greenboard caused you to have lippage with your install. if you tape it before kerdi there is a good chance you will have a hump in the wall which could result in lippage. If you are worried about it when putting the thinset on the wall for the kerdi then burn some into the tapered edge before combing the rest on and you will be fine.

Houston Remodeler
10-21-2010, 08:07 PM
use #3

The method is quite easy and has a number of applications. Its also used to feather out the buildup issues of kerdi, smooth over screws that were driven too far and such.

When troweling the thinset on the wall, at the final combing, ride the trowel in a manner that it bridges the indentation. The thinset will be applied to exactly the extra amount you need. Sort of like putting cream cheese on a Thomas's english muffin. Maybe not.

11-12-2010, 10:31 AM
I am going to finally get the grout in today after long & slow weekend attacks. Not hard just trying to take my time. You pros would have knocked out much sooner.

Anyway I have a question about sealing the grout and/or tile. My large patterns (13x13) wall are porcelain. and my ribbon and floor tile are 2x2 Mosaic (See link (,0,130369/American-Olean-Tile-Stone/_/Lyndhurst-Mosaic/product.htm)). Because of the small pattern do I need to seal the 2x2 with a different sealer because sealing grout lines that small will take some time. The 2x2 tile because it is not porcelain may need sealing completely anyway.

So should I use the same type sealer or will it take two different. And if the mosaics need to be completely sealed would it not be easier to just seal everything even the porcelain or will that not be a good idea?

And if possible suggest something good from Lowes if they have it.