Should You Tile Shower Floor or Walls First? [DIY Guide 2021]

A surprisingly cheap and easy way to radically upgrade the look of your bathroom is to retile your tub. In general, tile loses its aesthetic charm long before it wears out, so there is a fair risk that the tile of your shower would lend a dated look to your bathroom. 

Whether you are renovating or starting from scratch, you need to know how to go about it. There are no fixed approaches, but you have to know what is efficient. Things like tile shower curb and arrangement are major considerations.

You need to know more about the design phase as you look out for the perfect tiles to use in your bathroom. You will get a more outstanding picture of the project scale by studying whether to tile the shower floor or walls first.

tile shower floor or walls first

Does the Sequence Really Matter? Why?

You will definitely hear various responses to these questions, based on the results you find online or which experts you ask for a suggestion.

The fact is that there are pros and cons connected with first placing the tile on the walls or first placing them on the floor.

The approach will directly influence the length of time it takes to finish the job, the expertise needed, and what the completed project appears like. Let us consider both scenarios.

When to Tile the Shower Floor First?

In general, skilled tile construction uses a technique where the wall tiles are done over an already tiled floor.

Installing the tile on the bathroom floor first is the only way the project can be achieved without special preparation and extra calculations. Going against this simple logic, some specialists in tile installation still resist mounting the tiles on the floor first.

This act is majorly because while you are working on the walls, tile and mortar can fall onto the floor. The tile floor you have just built will be affected by this, though not seriously if you are careful enough.

When you cover the tile floor with a protective cloth or thick layer when installing tile on the wall, you can escape or reduce the effect of this kind of harm.

However, bear in mind that you must make sure the tile mortar is fully set before you stand on it to mount the tile wall. With this in mind, the building timetable will be expanded by tiling the floor first.

When to Tile the Shower Walls First?

The wall tile is normally expected to hang over the floor tile; therefore, installing tiles on the walls first may be more difficult.

However, beginning the project with the application of tiles on the walls will help you prevent unwanted messes and harm due to mortar and tile mishaps.

You would need to lookout for the wall tile as it hangs over the floor tile in order to mount the wall tile better first. One approach that experts use to do this is to use a ledger or space saver for easy installation of subsequent floor tile.

If you use this method, before laying the other floor tiles, you would need to mount the floor tile very close to the wall.

While it is a reasonable and straightforward method when utilizing the strategy to accommodate for the wall tile overhanging condition, bear in mind that the tiles must be precisely cut to achieve beautiful outcomes when the floor tiles are arranged.

It is essential to accurately calculate the wall and floor tiles near the corner, as well as the thickness of the grout, and the lines must be straight and even.

Gaps in these areas will hinder waterproofing attempts and influence the overall finished look of the project. Those gaps must be avoided; for both the look and also the efficiency.

Is it possible to combine both approaches?

If you are still unsure about working tile shower walls or floor first for your do-it-yourself project, the good news is that you don’t actually need to strictly adhere to any of the approaches.

You can use a hybrid approach instead. Begin the installation project with the second row of wall tiles. To label off the region designated for the first row of tiles, you may use a space saver.

Up the wall; make your way! When the wall tile has been mounted, you can install the floor tiles all the way to the wall and the room savers beneath. You should carefully lay the final row of tiles at the bottom of the wall to complete the tile installation process.

Making the Decision

In summary, working on the floor tiles first is a traditional approach, but it takes more time as you have to wait for the floor to dry and completely set.

Also, working on the wall tiles first will require extra calculations and considerations to make wall tiles hang over floor tiles. Laying the floor tiles first also comes with the disadvantage of things like concrete dropping on the tiled floor which can cause damage or stain to the floor tiles when the wall tiles are being laid.

You can be more efficient by implementing the hybrid approach of starting with the walls and leaving adequate space at the base to allow an extra row and hanging space.

Gaps between tiles must be avoided, though, to prevent waterproofing issues. Consider time and efficiency while choosing your order of work.

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