How to tile a shower base

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How to tile a shower base

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Project Overview

When tiling a shower, one of the most important things to remember is that you need extra cuts in the tiles to make sure they follow the fall of the floor, and that the water runs down the drain. This easy step-by-step guide will not only show you how to do that but also how to mix the adhesive, cut the tiles and lay them.

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sponge tiling
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Prepare a new sponge for tiling

When you’re cleaning grout off your tiles, use a fresh, clean sponge. The day before you grout the tiles put your new sponge in a bucket of clean water overnight. This makes it nice and soft, and easier to wipe the grout off your tiles.

Step by Step Instructions

1 Marking your shower base
2 Marking and cutting your first tile
3 Mark and cut the rest of your tiles
4 Mix the adhesive
5 Glue down the tiles
6 Finish tiling and clean up
  • Step 1. Marking your shower base

    Once your shower base has been waterproofed it’s time to lay the tiles. The most important thing is to maintain the fall of the floor, so the water drains away. With your drain cover in position, use your spirit level to mark from corner to corner in the shower base. This gives you a guide as to how the tiles will need to be cut.
  • Step 2. Marking and cutting your first tile

    Take your first tile and line it up so that it’s flush with the edge of the shower base and follows the pattern of the bathroom tiles. Using your spirit level and pencil, mark the line where it will need to be cut. This line will match the line marked on the shower base floor. Use the tile cutter to cut the tile. Lay the two parts of the cut tile back into shower base and mark out where they will need to be cut so that they fit around the drain cover. Cut the tiles to shape.

  • Step 3. Mark and cut the rest of your tiles

    If you haven’t had too much experience at tiling, it’s often easier to cut out all of the tiles and put them in place before you apply any adhesive. So continue cutting the tiles so that their cuts match the lines on the floor and the tiles are following the pattern of the floor. They key to success is patience and to keep following your pattern. If you’re a more experienced tiler, you might want to dry-lay half the tiles and then glue them in. This gives you some flexibility if you need to trim some tiles to fit in the other half of the shower base.

  • Step 4. Mix the adhesive

    Put on your safety glasses and dust mask and add a little bit of water into the mixing bucket and then add the adhesive powder. It’s better to add too little water to start with. Use a trowel to mix this until it’s the consistency of toothpaste. You don’t want it too dry or too runny.
  • Step 5. Glue down the tiles

    Starting in one corner of the shower base, remove a few of the dry-laid tiles and using the trowel evenly spread the adhesive on the floor. Use the notch trowel to rake the adhesive, which increases the surface area of the adhesive for the tile to stick to. Also apply adhesive to the bottom of the tile and push it down into the glue. Scrape up the excess adhesive that comes out from under the tile. Do the same to the larger tile and once it’s in place, use the spirit level to make sure the fall in the shower base is still there.
  • Step 6. Finish tiling and clean up

    Keep removing the dry-laid tiles, applying adhesive to the floor and the bottom of the tile and laying them on the shower base. Remember to scrape away the excess adhesive from under the tiles and keep checking the fall with a spirit level so that the water will run into the drain. After you’ve laid all of the tiles, get a sponge and bucket of water and wipe off any excess adhesive from the face of the tiles before it dries.

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Health & Safety

Please make sure you use all equipment appropriately and safely when following the advice in these D.I.Y. videos. You need to be familiar with how to use equipment safely and follow the instructions that came with the equipment. If you are unsure, you may feel it is safest to consult an expert, such as the manufacturer or an expert Bunnings Team Member.

Grave health hazards are linked to asbestos, which may be in homes built up to 1990. Health hazards may result from exposure to lead-based paints in older materials and copper chromium arsenic (CCA) treated timber. For information on the dangers of asbestos, lead-based paint and CCA treated timber and tips for dealing with these materials contact your local council's Environmental Health Officer or visit our Health & Safety page. You can also use a simple test kit from Bunnings to indicate the presence of lead-based paint Test.
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