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KarenA01 12-27-2019 02:07 AM

Small Bathroom Remodel Complete Gut
We will be redoing (complete gut) of an old SMALL (46 sq ft) bathroom with an alcove tub/shower combination. The current tub is 32" but the alcove is 38" deep

We only take showers but, I have read that when it comes time to sell, having at least on tub in the house is important. If not for that we would be converting it to a walk-in in shower.

The ceiling is 88" tall and the current shower head is at 80" and the ceiling IS tiled (also floor to ceiling obviously) ... I suspect all that is original to the house when its as built in the early/mid 50s. All there is, and ever has been, is shower curtain. I'm considering putting a door in for looks, but not sure it's worth the cost (or the elbow bumping!) so I don't know if we will do that yet.

Looking at that ceiling I do see some some small black areas on the tile and it looks like at some point someone tried to caulk between the ceiling tiles for some reason, as it looks like some strips of caulk are hanging down...

When we have it redone, I would like to keep the shower head at 80", and so do plan to tile to the ceiling gain, but is tiling the ceiling:

1) necessary
2) a good thing to do
3) or just a matter of taste

with a ceiling and shower head of that height?

If the ceiling is tiled should it be waterproofed like the shower walls should be?

We don't have contractor yet. We are first figuring all the details of what we want done (lot and los of details with this!) and what we can afford!

We are in our mid 60's so I figure we should be in the house for about another 15 +/-5 years before we will have to sell it. When we do we want whatever we do to still look good when we do, but not require too much maintenance in the mean time.

It would be helpful to know If putting tile on the ceiling would probably help with that.

- karen

Tool Guy - Kg 12-27-2019 02:17 AM

It really is a matter of taste to tile the ceiling or not.

And while I’ve heard the “You gotta have a tub in it or your house won’t sell”, I have had the opposite experience. Lots of people LOVE-LOVE-LOVE a shower stall instead of a tub. So many of my customers are tired of stepping over the tub. When folks ask me this question, I tell them that they should modify their own house to the way they want it. Don’t restrict your own remodeling desires over speculation of what some unknown future person might want. If you want a shower only, then put it in. And if someone 1 or 5 or 15 years down the road urgently wants a tub instead...then let them install one for the cost of that remodel.

2 cents. :)

KarenA01 12-27-2019 03:18 AM

Hi ,

Thanks for the reply!

I was thinking that with the head just 8" below the ceiling, there is a significant likelihood that the ceiling would often get a little wet...

That and the current condition of the ceiling tiles, made me wonder if tilting the ceiling would be wise to prevent issues over time.


ss3964spd 12-27-2019 09:01 AM

I've heard the same, Karen, for broadest appeal the house should have at least one tub in it. When recently remodeled my master bathroom I eliminated the tub but there remains one in the hallway bath.

As for the low ceiling above the tub; if the rest of the ceilings are higher it's possible the area above the tub/shower can be raised. Since you already know the tile on the ceiling is coming down, and whatever substrate the tile is stuck to will also be coming down, it will be very easy to determine if the ceiling can be raised. If it can, do it. Unless there are wires and/or pipes in the way it shouldn't add much to the estimate and will make a fairly small space feel larger, And then you can also NOT tile the ceiling if you choose.

cx 12-27-2019 09:03 AM

Welcome back, Karen. :)

The height of the shower head is not so much a factor as would be the height of the showeree's head.

If you're concerned about the ceiling, the very best thing you could do is raise it. If that's not an option, and protecting it would make you feel better, you could waterproof it using whatever method you plan to use for the shower walls. Then tiling it would be a good idea.

One of the very best things you can do for the shower in any case is install and use a properly sized exhaust fan in the bathroom after the shower has been in use. If you don't have such a device, now is the time to install one.

My opinion; worth price charged.

KarenA01 12-27-2019 11:42 AM

Thanks for all the replies!

This house has 88" ceiling everywhere not just in the bathroom, so raising it is not an option.

It sounds like at least some here think that if I keep the shower head at 80" , putting tile on the ceiling might be a good idea just in case, but not absolutely needed?

So with the 88" ceilings, what would the max shower head height (or distance down from the ceiling) that would be considered to be best practice WITHOUT Tiling the ceiling?


Kman 12-27-2019 01:00 PM

You can set it as high as you want, Karen. But if the person standing underneath is only 5' tall, very little water will hit the ceiling.

If I wanted to protect the ceiling without setting tile over it, I'd find a good quality paint, or Kilz, and paint that only on the ceiling.

Keep in mind that whatever water hits the ceiling is very unlikely to penetrate and cause damage because of gravity. Usually mildew growth is the issue, and that goes back to what CX mentioned earlier about the exhaust fan. Drawing excess moisture out of the room is critical to preventing mold and mildew.

ss3964spd 12-27-2019 01:09 PM


Originally Posted by Karen
This house has 88" ceiling everywhere not just in the bathroom, so raising it is not an option.

Oh. Well, guess that takes care of that. ;)

Two issues; splash and humidity, and neither are your pals when it comes to the finishes in a bathroom, 'specially paint, and your low ceiling will be exposed to more of both.

80" is the standard height of a shower head, and "standard" ceiling height is 96". Your ceiling is 8" lower so you'd have to lower the head to 72" (6 feet). That's pretty low.

I'd leave the head at 80", tile the ceiling, and install a larger than minimum exhaust fan.

Tool Guy - Kg 12-27-2019 01:56 PM

For me, I’d have zero issues purchasing a house with only shower stalls in it. This is one time when I think realtors’ advice to have at least one tub has too much influence over the actual desires of homeowners.


KarenA01 12-27-2019 03:04 PM

Thanks again,

So it seems that tiling the ceiling is a good idea... One question about doing that...

As i don't like the look of bullnose, I was thinking I would like to use pencil along the vertical outside edge of the tile coming down the wall instead of bullnose.

If that is OK could I also use it on the outside horizontal edge of the ceiling tile instead of bullnose... I think it that way the pencil trim would "frame" the alcove area and so look much nicer than bullnose!


cx 12-27-2019 03:09 PM

Yes, Karen, you could trim the ceiling the same as the walls. Trim with more weight per footprint area may need to be supported 'till the bonding mortar cures some.

My opinion; worth price charged.

jadnashua 12-27-2019 06:23 PM

Sometimes, specialty trim tile are quite expensive. An alternative to them is the possibility of using a profile. FWIW, fewer and fewer tile lines have trim tile available, so if that's critical to your design, make sure you check availability. Also note that the trim often isn't from the same dye lot, so the color may or may not match perfectly.

There are numerous profiles available to handle different tile thicknesses, colors, and preferences in color in both metallic and non-metallic finishes.https://www.schluter.com/schluter-us...t=wall+profile

KarenA01 12-27-2019 07:48 PM

One more question for now...

The tile we chose said it was OK for floors and walls. When we picked it, we were not thinking about tiling the ceiling. It feels heavy to me and now i am worried that it might be too heavy for the ceiling...

I just weighed the sample piece we have and it comes out to about 3.9 lbs/SqFt.

Is that Ok or does it need to be lighter/less dense?


Kman 12-27-2019 08:02 PM

Properly installed, it'll work. You would want 100% coverage on that tile with mortar, and make sure the ceiling is as flat as you can get it before setting the tile. Also make sure the ceiling board is secured to the rafters with screws every 6".

I set some really big ones last year that were slightly heavier than that psf, and were 24x48". I braced them up from the floor with lumber and let them set up a day or two.

KarenA01 12-27-2019 08:21 PM

Thanks Kevin,

I would have thought that the size of the tile did not matter, just the psf. Seems like i was mistaken!

The tile we chose comes in 4X8, 8X8, 8X16 and 16X16. I was thinking 8X8 or 8X16 for the ceiling... But we could use 4X8 if it makes the job easier. Would it make a difference?

In any case I would think fewer grout lines would be better.

Speaking of grout, from everything I've read, although it is not as easy to work with and more expensive, it seems to me epoxy grout would be best for a bathroom, particularly in a shower. In that case the # of ground lines should matter less...

But last time we researched a project 4 years ago, none of the contractors we spoke to used it, and none wanted to...

Don't know if it will be the same the time.


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