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Bathroom Renovation: Tiling the Shower & From Bathtub to Walk-in Shower

This post is sponsored by The Home Depot.
white bathroom with sitting bench, subway tile.

I'm back today with the final part of our shower install. I left you guys, with the picture you see below, when the installation of the porcelain tile on the floor was done.

On the walls, we used Daltile 3 x 6 Ceramic Subway Tile and they completely brightened the entire room!

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small bathroom with porcelain black and white hex tile

And I have to tell you... If I was happy about hiring out the flooring installation, I was delighted to skip the work of tiling these walls with all the nooks and crannies and that diagonal line it had.  This was the part that took the longest on all this bathroom renovation. So, yes, I was very happy to pay for a job that was way out of my comfort zone and that was very well done.

Today I'm not giving you a tutorial or "how-to" post. But, I want to share with you how this job went along and some tips to have in mind if you have a tiling job in the future.

My very first tip is this: When you select the main tile-s you want to use in your project, remember that most likely you'll also going to need transitional pieces. Ha, that's the way I call them, but they might have another name.
  • Is the tile ending mid-way on the wall? 
You'll need an end-tile there.

In our bathroom, the wall where the windows are located was the one that needed this type of tile to make the transition from tile to drywall.
I was considering a flat little tile like the one you see right HERE. But, in the end, I used THIS pencil tile because it gave me a chunkier edge to butt the beadboard I installed on the other side - lower part of that wall.

  • Do you have corners in your installation? You'll need corner pieces there.

All around the wall niche we used the same pencil tile, mitering the corners. And THIS even smaller pencil tile was installed all along the outside corner on that diagonal wall.

Make sure you get or buy all your material before starting any tile work in your bath!

You don't want to start work to find out you need to go and buy those little corners pieces you forgot about. In some instances I bought two types of tiles for the same application in case one or the other didn't work that well.  You can return the stuff you don't use.

shower tile install

On installation day, the floor was protected, leaving that small area along side the walls open.

2. Prep those walls. Make sure they're nice and plumb.

3. Plan the tile layout.

If you're in a rush, that's not your day for installing tile. It takes a good amount of time to simply layout the design, making sure you don't end up with a tinny-tiny piece of tile in one corner.
You can even bring all those measurements onto paper, drawing the design and making the changes to the design, there, on paper before working on the real walls.

4. Start at the floor and make sure that first line of tile is leveled.

That first row of tile needs to be dead level!! Add thin-set to the back of each of this first row of tiles and set them in place. Make sure they're centered all across the space. Both tiles on the extremes, left and right have to be the same length. Then, grab your level, place it on top of that first row and work that level line. Use spacer wedges to bring those tiles out of line to their proper place.
Husky 48" In. Box Level

5. Use the right trout to apply the thin-set.

The size of the tile you choose will dictate the type of trout you need for your application in order to get the right amount of product on the back of the tile. The larger the tile, the larger the notch trowel you'll need to install them.

For the 3" x 6" subway tile we installed, we used a 1/4" x 3/8" sq-notch trowel.

Spacer wedges  

6. Having the right tools will make for an easier and better looking job.

A manual tile cutter was used to cut the porcelain tiles. We used it for those inside-corner cuts. (not a fine cut)
A wet tile saw was the one used to get sharp lines.
A Carbide-Edge Ceramic Tile Nipper was used to fine tune cuts.

Sand paper was also used to smooth out those rough cuts.

7. Don't use a quick setting thin-set mortar if you have to deal with lots of cuts.

Even this guy, a pro, had to throw away thin-set that was getting hard because of the amount of time he took on fine-tuning some tile cuts.

8. A few of those five gallon buckets will come in handy.
One for mixing the thin-set and grout.
Another filled with water for cleaning tools.
An maybe one more to use as a sitting stool! :D

9. Keep on checking those level lines from time to time.

10. The shower niche is one of the special features in your shower, you can accentuate it with a different tile. But, if you decide to continue with the same tile, make sure those tile lines match the ones outside the niche.
subway tile install in bathroom wall niche

11.  Mitered corners are more professional looking.

A little wooden platform an even tape will help you fight gravity when installing the tile on and above the shower niche. And yes, mitered corners will give it a polished look.
white bathroom - subway tile install

12. Before reaching the ceiling... Have you considered any treatment for it? Maybe it's better to tackle it first.plain bathroom ceiling with can light - subway tile

Yes, I did. I went ahead and installed a planked ceiling. You can check all the details about it right here.
Cristina Garay installing planked ceiling in bathroom.

After installing the planked ceiling, the final phase on the tile installation continued with this slanted wall. There, you can see the little pencil tile in the corner.
pencil tile on shower corner
Pencil Tile
13. Sanded or un-sanded grout?
We used un-sanded grout (Antique White color) since it's good for grout joints up to 1/8". For bigger grout lines you will need sanded grout because it resists shrinkage and cracking.

Polyblend non sanded grout - five gallon bucket and penny tile on floor
PolyBlend Non-Sanded Grout  |  Five Gal. Bucket  |  Hexagon Ceramic Tile
So guys, yes, after grouting the walls and floor, this is how our shower looked:
how to install shiplap on ceiling

subway tile installation and black and white hex tile on floor

how to install subway tile on wall niche

Hex floor tile

I LOVE it!!

But hey, do you want to see the entire shower with the beautiful Delta fixtures, glass panel and accessories???!

Then, hop over to the Home Depot blog right HERE where I'm hanging out today! And learn how you can also turn your bathtub into a walk-in shower in six steps!

how to install subway tile - white bathroom makeover

Here again, are the links to the tile and other products I used:

Daltile  3 x 6 in. subway tile
Hex black and white floor tile
Jeffrey Court Allegro white pencil ceramic molding tile
Smaller pencil tile
Frameless fixed shower door

The following are the links to the projects done in this bathroom:

Here's how I easily change the look of the shower.

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    1. Great tips and a beautiful bathroom!

      1. Thanks Shelley! Yep. I had to save this for my next tile job. ;)

    2. Beautiful! I knew it would be...and now I have to run to Home Depot to get the pencil tile! But first I have to wait for my tile guys this morning so I can let them know I have changed the plan :) I'm blaming it on!

      1. Hahaha you're crazy! Hopefully the new trim will make their job easier, otherwise they're not going to be too happy. :D Thanks Beck!

    3. wow, awesome, I thought the built-in were perfect, but this shower is even better!

    4. I had to order the trim pieces from HD...HOPEFULLY they will be here before they are needed. Thanks again for the amazing and BEAUTIFUL inspiration! Your bathroom is perfect and I can't wait until mine is done now!!!

      1. Good. It doesn't take too long for those orders. 🤞 And thank you so much for your always kind words, Beck! Looking forward to your bath reveal! :)

    5. Love it so much, Cristina! So happy for you!! One question. Is the shower door panel a custom made door or did you order from a standard size supplier? TIA... ~~ Susie from The Chelsea Project

      1. Thanks Susie! I bought the shower door panel at Home Depot too! I was surprised by its affordable price > around $270. And my guys helping me installing it commented on how good it feels and how the price is way better than the ones they have installed before. Ha, I need to add a link to it. ;)

    6. What an amazing transformation! Can I ask you where the towels featured on the HD blog post are from? I love them and would love to buy a few. Thanks!

    7. You make this look so easy, lol. Your bathroom is gorgeous.

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