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Tips and Techniques for Tiling a Shower Surround

How to tile a shower surround using thinset mortar and porcelain tile. Tips and techniques to make the process easier, less messy and well constructed.

See the prep phase here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=psf9cnYoVts

See a “subway” style running bond pattern here:

See another (published 2015) tiled shower demo here:


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  1. best way I found for cutting cement board is an angle grinder with diamond blade, you can cut octagons for toilet holes, hvac vents easy too… for straight lines just score it deep with the angle grinder on your pencil line and snap it

  2. can you next time show the cutting process when placing a tile near the shelf?

  3. I'm a rookie tiling our three bathrooms. Why don't your have the seams taped, or use red guard?

  4. Hi there, thanks for your great video! Two questions: 1.) We have cement backerboard applied directly to framing without flashing behind it. Is this a problem? What type of waterproofing or sealing of seams do we need to do? 2.) What is the best way to end an inset row when instead of a vertical bullnose column you have individual bullnose tiles to end the row? Thanks for your time!

  5. You forgot to tape the seams and waterproof the cement board!  That is the most important part.  That would never pass inspection.  Not to code.   Mold may grow behind that wall.

  6. So much great information in this video as well as in comments and answers. Very helpful for DIYers.
    One quick question for you. Do you recommend tile leveling system for large format tile (12×24) on the shower wall to prevent lippage?
    Or do you think clean level tiling is achievable for DIYers as long as paying good attention and carefully setting them?
    Thanks a bunch!

  7. How do you set the inside corners of the tiles? does one side butt against the face of the other tile, or do you leave a space on the inside corner and fill with grout? no one seems to show this part

  8. I probably didn't hear the starting of this,but did you use a cement board, also do you have too?

  9. Where the tile and shower pan meet, should you grout or caulk? Should you leave weep holes for moisture to escape? I have the exact same setup, where I have flashing on the substrate and then haridboard; the only difference is I have flashing from bottom all the way to the top.

  10. Was there a video you did of wall prep for this? Did you put something behind the backer board like plastic or any type of water barrier or liner?

  11. Why didn't you seal your drywall with a membrane?

  12. This is why I do marble lol I at least get paid well for my labor.Tile pro's dont make enough for the work involved to make it look good. Good job my man

  13. Great video I'm DIY my on project and find that cutting this 1/2 inch backer board is a nightmare.I tried a jigsaw with an aggressive blade and it killed 2 blades on one cut.

  14. I repair and refinish tubs for a living. I never seen a tile guy get done and have a spotless pan or tub after. Great job. When I go behind a tile guy I am usually scraping mortar and grout off the tub or pan. Even waterproofing too. I just assumed all tile guys were messy lol.

  15. is it necessary to tape the joints of the backerboard? I noticed the weren't.

  16. I always fiberglass tape & bed my cement board joints with thinset.

  17. Any issues with back buttering, or back troweling, 12×24 porcelain for shower walls? I've seen people debate this topic on several forums, and there's no clear "right" way from what I've read. Some say to trowel the wall and put a light coat on the back of the larger tiles to create the best bond. Others say spreading it on the wall is sufficient, and as you've done in your video, others just back trowel the tile and set it on the backer board. I'm about to do my first shower wall tiling job and am using 12×24's on the walls — it would be much easier and cleaner if I could just back trowel, but will it hold up?

  18. Beautiful work, thanks for sharing my. Do you ever hear of or see water damage because water had sat on a shelf that wasn't pitched?

  19. ive always done the plastic barrier directly over the studs and never had an issue..don't do plastic and then redgard..you would think 2 barriers are better than one but that is a bad idea on shower/tub surrounds

  20. great tips awesome job looks great Big Al thanks

  21. Do you ever use a waterproofing agent like aquadefense? I would be afraid that you may have leaks

  22. great job tiling but I have a question. Shouldn't the backer board joints have been filled with thin set and mesh tape? Thanks.

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