How to Install Shower Tile

white subway tile tile with gray grout

As part of renovating my Mother’s house, we tiled her shower. In this post, we will share the steps for how to install tile in a shower.

Click HERE to see how we installed the shower base.

Materials Needed: 

    • Backer board (we used USG Durock)
    • Joint tape and screws for the backer board (we used Durock screws)
    • Measuring tape
    • Putty knife
    • RedGard Speed Coat from Home Depot
    • Roller and roller handle
    • Tile
    • Tile saw
    • Spacers (depending on the width of the grout line)
    • Thin-set
    • Bucket
    • Large sponge
    • Drill and mixing paddle
    • Non-sanded grout (We used Cape Gray.)
    • Notched trowel (size of notches depends on the size of tile – see manufacturer’s directions)

Step 1: Demo

We removed the existing tile and backer board.

Step 2: Installing Durock and tape and mud joints with thin-set.

Cut the backer board to fit the shower walls and screw in place. Be sure to screw into existing studs. Use joint tape on all the backer board joints. Using a putty knife, cover the joints (joint tape) with thin-set.

Paint on RedGard using a roller. This creates a waterproofing membrane.

Step 3: Sticking Tile with Thin-set

Start tiling on the back wall. Apply thin-set using a notched trowel. Only apply thin-set for a few rows of tiles at a time. We did not use spacers because the tile we used left a small grout line which is what we wanted. Work from bottom to top, carefully cutting each tile using a tile saw. (A tabletop tile saw is adequate for this project.)Once you finish one wall, move to the other smaller walls. Add the bullnose tile around the edges to give the shower a finished look.

Step 4: Filling in with Grout

Allow time for the tile (thin-set) to dry. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions regarding drying time.

If not premixed, mix the grout using an electric drill and a mixing paddle. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions.

Starting on the bottom of the shower wall, use a rubber grout float to spread the grout over the tiles. Be sure to fill in all the cracks between the tiles and next to the wall. Carefully wipe down each tile with a large wet sponge. Do not over wipe because you don’t want to remove the grout between the tiles.

Once the grout begins to dry – maybe 30 minutes to an hour, wipe down the tiles again.

Clean up and allow time to dry, typically 24 to 48 hours (follow the product recommendations).

Step 5: Installing Shower Frame and Door

Now that we have installed the tile in the shower, it is time to install the shower frame and door. We cleaned and reinstalled the existing shower frame and glass doors.  Step 6: Install Fixtures 

Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for installing the fixtures. 

Rub-a-dub-dub! Enjoy your new shower!

To learn how we installed tile on the bathroom floor, click HERE.

Don’t forget to Pin this for future reference.

pinterest pin how to tile a shower

Let us know if you have questions or what you think about how to install tile in a shower and if you have any questions by posting below.


  1. Phillip on 10/18/2019 at 7:45 PM

    What size tile did you use?

  2. Charmaine on 10/25/2019 at 2:10 PM

    This tile is beautiful. The contrast with the gray tile looks nice too.

    • Suzanne on 10/26/2019 at 10:13 AM

      Thank you so much, Charmaine. My Mom really likes it too.

  3. Judy Spense on 10/26/2019 at 10:09 AM

    Impressive work! I need your Neal to come do this at my house.

    • Suzanne on 10/26/2019 at 10:12 AM

      Thank you, Judy. I will send Neal right over . . . after he finished ALL the remaining projects at our house. ?

  4. Monique on 10/27/2019 at 9:04 AM

    My husband did a tile on a floor, but not in a shower. He says doing showers are harder so nice work.

    • Suzanne on 10/27/2019 at 1:22 PM

      Thank you so much Monique. We have learned a lot over the years. Our work is not perfect, but we are pleased with the result.

      Thanks for reading our blog!


  5. Cheryl on 10/28/2019 at 12:06 PM

    Did you have a plumber install the fixtures? how hard to install ?

    • Suzanne on 10/28/2019 at 1:16 PM

      Hey Cheryl,
      My husband Neal actually installed the fixtures. He can do simple plumbing projects. If you have some skill in this area, you could install them. However, if you have never done this before, you might want to have a professional do this. I hope this helps.

  6. Bathroom Remodel on 11/11/2019 at 4:51 PM

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    […] used a leftover piece of shower board (we had just tiled the shower) as my pallet. It worked great because it was stiff and I could move them outside for painting and […]

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