Create a Stylish Ceramic Surround for Your Shower or Bathtub
Installing a ceramic surround for a bathtub or shower is a big DIY project, and requires a great deal of time, research and planning for seamless execution. To help you navigate the process, it is important to consider every piece of material needed, the tools you will use and the time it will take to complete the project. Read onward for a comprehensive guide to building a ceramic surround for your bathroom.
Before beginning the project, you should take accurate measurements of the bathroom you plan to tile and draw an exact layout with extensive notes. Take your time during this step, as correct measurements and a thorough plan are paramount to the success of the project. Once you’ve determined the layout, analyze what walls require new backer boards—special mineral-based units usually sized 1/4-inch or 1/2-inch thick—and what walls are good as is.
Backer boards are crucial for ensuring the overall longevity of your ceramic surround, as they have much higher resistance to mold, rot and shrinkage than greenboard. Additionally, backer boards provide improved adhesion for thin-set and grouts. These boards are easily cut with saws, and can be nailed or screwed into studs or concrete. When selecting your boards, consider their size as well as the number of boards needed for the project; many establishments offer boards in 3-foot by 5-foot sizes.
After the backer boards are installed, use a level to accurately establish a level line across the horizontal and vertical axes. Plan out the height of the backer boards, making sure that when tiles are laid up the wall, the spacing will be consistent and there is at least one row of tiles above the shower head. Before you purchase tiles, calculate the total square footage of the walls to be covered and add an extra 10% for cuts and damages. Be sure to buy all your tiles from the same manufacturer’s shipment and production batch, so they’re the same color.
In addition to the bathroom tiles, you might want to pick up bullnose tiles, edge trims, quarter tile and any special tile needed for the design you’re aiming for. Each of these will add aesthetic flair and extra protection against the elements.
When it comes to adhesive, opt for thinset instead of mastic; thinset performs better in wet or damp environments, and requires a little extra work when installing. Get yourself spacers to keep the tiles properly aligned when fixing. Also, depending on the size of the tile gap, use either sanded grout or non-sanded grout. And don’t forget to select a grout color that will complement your tile design—this is also a great opportunity to inject some extra color and style into your bathroom.
Now that you have all the necessary supplies, tools and materials, it’s time to start the project! It you’re starting the project with just the right tour of knowledge, then the successful installation of your ceramic surround will follow. Put your full effort into the process and take the necessary time to get the job done well. To ensure satisfaction, be sure to give extra attention to every detail—from measurements to grout color choice. And don’t forget to select quality supplies and to seek professional advice as needed! With these points in mind, there’s nothing stopping you from enjoying a bathroom fit for a king!