Cantor’s Corner: Quality Shower Installations
Presented by Murray Lampert Design, Build, Remodel
by Gregg Cantor
Resident Expert, The Home Pro Show
President, Murray Lampert Design, Build, Remodel
Quality Tile Installation For Stall Showers
When remodeling or adding a stall shower, there are at least three different ways tile can be installed to walls and ceiling, including mudset, Hardiebacker or Wonderboard and glue on. There are also different types of shower pan options included tile, pre-cast acrylic or fiberglass. For the highest quality installation that will last the test of time, I only recommend using mudset shower walls and pans.
When framing a shower, it is important to end up with walls that are both plumb and square so that tile is symmetrical with equal cuts. Mud floating can resolve some minor framing issues, but walls that are out more than 1/8 of level may show because of inconsistent cuts. When installing a tile pan, the damn is framed with 2 or 3 sandwiched 2 X 4’s so water does not splash or spill onto the bathroom floor.
A vital part of installing a new shower is the waterproofing. The absolute minimum is greenboard. There are also products like Denshield to further protect walls from moisture and dry rot. If you are installing a tile pan, a hot mopped or “lifetime” pan is a must and there should be no nailing below the top of the damn.
The only type of tile or stone installation I recommend over a mud set base is where cement is floated over wire lath. This process provides the best finished product that will last the longest. Another options is installing sheets of Hardiebacker or Wonderboard, but a square and level surface is needed. The most economical type of installation is gluing the tile to greenboard. Gluing tile greenboard is something you might consider as a do-it-yourselfer, but a professional contractor would not typically practice this type of installation.
Once tile or stone is installed and grouted, the final step is sealing. If you choose man made tile, the only sealing required would be the grout to protect from staining, mold and mildew. Other materials like limestone, marble or granite should be sealed regularly with a quality sealer like 511 Impregnator.
Installing a new custom shower is a big investment. I recommend doing the job right with a mud floated installation and hot mop pan.