I always say there are an infinite number of ways to tile a shower. From the types of tile available to the designs you can come up with, it can be quite mind-boggling. Still, MOST showers tend to keep with a basic grid pattern, with perhaps a decorative element thrown in. For this project at a beautiful new home near Ellettsville, IN, we would throw in a couple new ideas.
Yes, I started with a basic grid on the bottom part of the shower, but above that the tile is turned on the diagonal for the rest of the nine-foot high wall. The layout worked wonderfully given the 12″ tiles- I was able to have large tiles everywhere along the perimeter of the design. You have to be careful when laying out the diagonal tiles because it’s easy to end up with some very small triangles that are tricky to cut and look awkward.
The other distinctive element in this shower is the mosaic subway tile (also called mini-bricks) that we used for the floor and decorative stripe and niches. This may be my favorite shower floor yet! Again, it’s important to avoid small slivers of tile in the layout. This can be especially hard to do if the drain is off-center by even a little bit. In other words, tile takes a lot of planning! Whenever possible, I like to install the drains when I’m tiling a shower so I can consider the layout as I’m going along.
This shower was a large 4′ x 6′ space with shower fixtures on either end. I also installed ‘his and hers’ niches on both ends for a little extra storage and a small bench or foot-rest.
The bench is a product called a Better Bench that is filled with sand topping mix or deck mud (like that used for the sloped floor). This makes a strong bench that is easy to install after the waterproofing is already on the walls. Just put some silicone sealant on the screw holes and put it all together. If possible, I also like to consider how the bench will fit into the tile layout. It’s normally placed around 18″ off the floor.
As with all my showers, it is waterproofed using the Schluter Kerdi waterproofing system that not only waterproofs the floor of the shower, but the walls as well. Anyone who has had a leaky shower with tiles popping off the walls will tell you what a good idea this is! Showers are constantly full of moisture and the Kerdi waterproofing membrane keeps the water in the shower and directs it down the drain. It even collects 99 percent of water vapor!