Mitering corners in a shower [Archive] - Ceramic Tile Advice Forums - John Bridge Ceramic Tile


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Ash Langton
12-08-2002, 10:54 AM
G'day tile gods!

I am retiling a 3 wall shower using 13x13 porcelin tiles and have read some messages here regarding corners. On inside corners do you cut 45 degree miters from the front of the tiles? If so is this done to allow for expansion or for a better finished looked (functional or cosmetic)? How about where the walls meet the floor & ceilings, are the tiles mitered on the vertical & horizontal surfaces or just butt together?

My old fugly 4x4's had a cove base where the walls met the floor but my new tile only has bullnose trim pieces. I want to make sure I do a good job & would like to know how you pros normally do the joints and if you have any tips or problems I should look for. I'll have my lady critqueing the work I'm sure!

P.S. John et al maybe you should set up a Paypal donation thingee for all your advice!

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Bud Cline
12-08-2002, 11:46 AM
No need to mitre corners or floor junctures. This would serve no purpose I can see and would all be lost in the grout/caulk job anyway.:)

Ash Langton
12-08-2002, 11:58 AM
Thanks Bud,

Thinking of tile layout on the walls, do you guys use chalklines for vertical/horizontal alignment? As someone who is inexperienced in that & time is not too important, would using chalklines be the best what to keep the tiles aligned?


Ash Langton
12-08-2002, 01:43 PM
Thanks Bud,

Thinking of tile layout on the walls, do you guys use chalklines for vertical/horizontal alignment? As someone who is inexperienced in that & time is not too important, would using chalklines be the best what to keep the tiles aligned?


Bud Cline
12-08-2002, 01:57 PM
Depending on the size of the shower you'll need at least one verticle line to keep you running true to course.

Horizontally, you'll have to "stack" your 13" tiles on spacers of some kind and the tiles will have to be set to a level line(s) for best results.

When using spacers to temporarily support the weight of the tile you may want a level line for each course or every other course just depends on your ability.

Do your layout so that the top of the tile hits the line so you can see what you are doing.

In my case I begin with a straightedge (you can use a level) that is set-to-level by sitting on a couple stacks of tile usually. I shim the straightedge to get it perfectly level then begin my first course by sitting the tile on the straightedge. I then use spacers to stack the tiles from that point upward being sure to hit-my-mark (level line) every second or third course.

You can use torn pieces of cardboard from your tile boxes or anything you can find that will give you consistant spacing as you travel up the wall.

This process usually means that I skip the bottom course to start with then go back later and install the bottom course last sitting the tiles on shims there also.

You'll need to know where your floor elevation is going to be before you can begin your layout.

John Bridge
12-08-2002, 04:23 PM
Hi Ash,

Inside corners are almost always butted, as Bud has said. There is nothing to be gained by mitering.

I often draw a vertical line in the center of the back wall of the shower. You don't need level layout lines. Just check every other course with your level.

The end walls or jamb walls have to be plumb at the outside edge. Use your level for this. Check it with your level frequently.

Bud Cline
12-08-2002, 05:57 PM
....BUT....if you were to use level layout lines horizontally then you could place your tile exactly on that mark each time. Tiles can vary a little in size so as you stack your wall tile on spacers/shims different size spacers may be required to make up for tile sizes irregularities.

If you don't do this all the time and I'm assuming you don't then don't aggravate yourself with trying to correct tile courses that get out of level because you can't see what your doing until you throw that level up there and find out there is an error.

Use the lines as often as you wish and leave that kind of guess work to guys like me and:bow: John. ;)

John Bridge
12-08-2002, 08:03 PM
That should be "John and I." Have you forgotten your grammar? :D

You're right, Bud. It shouldn't be a guessing game with newbies. I forget sometimes. :)

12-08-2002, 08:35 PM
Geez, the one time Bud gets it right, and you gotta try to correct him, JB. :rolleyes:

As a matter of grammar, it would be "John and me". Informally, "me and John" is also acceptable. "John and I" would be, how you say, incorrect. :)

OK, back to setting tile. :shades:

John Bridge
12-08-2002, 08:44 PM
Dammit, I hate it when I'm giving a grammar lesson and someone comes along and corrects my grammar, especially when the one doing the correcting is right.


Ash Langton
12-08-2002, 08:51 PM
The tile gods have it is written so shall it be done!:bow:

Gotta another question for you (gotta love us newbies). My 13" tiles are "porcelenato", which I understand is not true porcelain & not as hard therefor. I installed a shower system w/ 4 body sprays, 2 control valves a thermostatic valve & the showerhead. From rough measurements the showerhead will fall in the middle of my tiles. I was thinking of buying a carbide hole saw or drill bit from HD to cut these holes. Do these work okay or is there a beter way for a newbie?

I saw on some other website a tip to put a bit of plumber's putty and a few drops of H20 on the tile where you will drill:wtf: Any thoughts?

Thanks again

12-08-2002, 08:55 PM
I make up a "story stick" for the tile layout. This is a stupid piece of 2" 3/4 plywood with marks on it for the tile. I actually have several for common tile sizes and re-use them. Yours would be a series of 13" lines plus whatever grout line you have chosen, so 13 and 1/8" or 13 and 3/16ths.

Using this, establish your bottom course and your second grout line. Make a mark with a sharpie.

I use a laser level (you can rent one for about $40) and establish a level line across the shower and for that matter into the bath, if you are doing wall tile. The sharpie mark will be carried around the shower and if necessary into the bath. You can use a $10 water level, too.

I skip the first (bottom) course. I set a support, like a 2x4 or boxes of tiles, or stupid wooden strips, anything that will hold a few courses of tile while they set up. Put this at the level line you have scribed.

I use my story stick and snap extra lines to keep me honest going up.

I usually use only one vertical line near a corner, and just use my straight edge to keep everything honest from left to right.

Bud Cline
12-08-2002, 10:58 PM
Thank you CX. Your check is in the mail by the way.


I love it when penetrations fall in the middle of a tile, that's where my diamond hole saws and I really shine, get my drift?.

Your porcelenato is almost just as hard as if it where labeled "porcelain", and when it comes time to drill that stuff you won't know the difference because what you have is in fact porcelain hard so don't be fooled there my friend.

The H20 and plumbers putty thing I've never heard of but it sounds like hocus-pocus to me.:)

12-11-2002, 07:56 AM
I know what the putty is for. You make a small dam of sorts with the putty and fill it with water. that way the bit is always cool and wet while drilling. (Learned that while drilling glass).

As for the holes, If you have big enough escusions (sp?) you can cut the holes with a grinder and a diamond blade. You don't always need to buy a $50-100 diamond hole saw for a few holes.

On the other hand, if you live close by you can use mine. (central NJ)

12-11-2002, 07:58 AM
My fault, just noticed you are from tx. Offer still stands if you don't mind a drive. LOL

Ash Langton
12-11-2002, 09:32 AM
Thanks for the offer Lunicy but the drive may cut into my tiling time:uhh: Unfortunately I have neither of these tools but will see if I can rent one at Lowes or HD (scary). I supposed I will need a diamond drill bit to drill holes when hanging my shower door?

As a rant, I had to replace some studs that had rot, & the lumber available at the box stores just many 2x4's are warped (there's probably a more technical term) it makes it harder to keep things plumb & square. I wonder what framer's do (other than not buy lumber at Lowes:D )

12-11-2002, 11:13 AM
you can get a cheap grinder for probably $40.00

Us framers or remodelers pick through endless piles of warped, wained, and culled lumber to find one straight 2x4.

There are ways of "straightening" them. You can put blocking between them to push or pull them into line. If the wall surface is out of line, you can use a planer, or better (easier) you can staple carboard shims to make a flat surface for your wall board.

There are other methods involving kerfing the lumber to make it bend straight.

12-11-2002, 04:49 PM
You guys need to go to Lowe's to buy your 2 X 4's, haven't you seen their commercials, they only sell straight studs. What a joke, I find about 1 semi-straight 2 X 4 for every 15 I check.

John Bridge
12-11-2002, 05:51 PM
Framing lumber is an area where Home Depot does better than Lowes. It seems to me that Lowes is more interested in the surface treatments than in what is underneath.

There ARE no straight studs, though. Find a straight one and lay it on the floor for a couple days. Adios. :)

12-11-2002, 07:05 PM
The HD Diamond saw is fine for light duty use. It should grab all but the most polished tiles, and should not slip. If you are concerned, rotate the hole saw by hand to break the glaze. There shouldn't be much of a glaze if any on that tile if it is a porceline clone.

I wrap the valves in cardboard (so a socket can replace the washer or service the valve) and when installing the valve heads put in some plumbers putty to keep water out of that cavity. Some 100% silicone caulk on the estucheon adds a nice seal, too.

Ash Langton
12-16-2002, 11:26 PM
After what seems forever doing prep work I am finally ready to start tiling! I got one of those cheapo wetsaws like a plasplug(?) and have read some threads about tiles chipping at the end of a cut with the saw. I cutting porcelain and some granite trim pieces. Would it help to place masking tape on the tiles where the cut is, would this reduce chipping? Should I cut midway then flip the tile or just try cutting and see what happens?


John Bridge
12-17-2002, 07:10 AM
Try it out. It might work just fine. A lot of the chipping problem has to do with the tension built up in certain tiles during manufacture.

Make sure you watch the water level in the resevoir. The saw will throw water out something fabulous. ;)

Bud Cline
12-17-2002, 05:42 PM

You call that fabulous???

Water dripping from the ceiling and all surrouinding surfaces is "fabulous"?:shades:

Ash Langton
12-29-2002, 09:54 PM
'Lo, the bathroom project resumes...

I am almost done :rolleyes: with tiling my shower & have a few questions that I thought of reading through the threads. First, I am using porcelain tiles, 13x13 on the shower walls with 4x4 granite tiles turned sideways like a diamond as accents. I have sanded grout I will use and want to be sure about sealants.

Is there a particular type of Aquamix I should look for for sealing the grout? Also, I read a thread about granite tiles needing to be sealed, is this correct? Do I need to put anything over them since they are in a wet area? I so, any recommendations , tips?? The tiles are adhered to 1/2" wonderboard btw.

Since my tiles are porcelain or "porcellano" to be exact, will I need a diamond drill bit to drill holes for the shower door? I haven't gone browsing for doors yet and people here seem to dislike installing doors sooo am I overlooking something as a diy'er? Is there a particular bit size I should get that is the "norm" for door holes? (I'll probably order a bit(s) online as I can't seem to find any locally)

Thanks for reading thru :tree:

Derek & Jacqui
12-30-2002, 10:15 AM
A trick we used many years ago was to use a carbide tipped drill bit, a hammer and a concrete nail.
First tap the the tile with the hammer and nail just to score the tile (so the drill bit won't slip.) Drill till nothing seems to be happening, tap again with nail, drill, repeat until complete: longwinded, but saves on drill bits and you don't have to go the diamond way. :bow:

John Bridge
12-30-2002, 04:01 PM

If you are considering doing your own glass work, we happen to be connected to a guy in California who ships glass and parts all over North America. Tell Dave I said hi. ;)