How to Waterproof Shower Walls

One of the ways to waterproof shower walls is to fit them with ceramic tiles. The shower tiling process is identical to tiling other floors and walls in your house, which is not difficult if you know what you are doing. Waterproofing shower walls with tiles takes only a weekend's time at most.

Waterproofing shower walls

Step 1

Measure the walls with a measuring tape to calculate how many tiles you'll need.

Step 2

Block the floor drain with duct tape or a rag to prevent debris from falling in.

Step 3

Cover the counter, cabinets, and the ground around your shower stall or bathtub with a layer of plastic liner to protect scratches on exposed surfaces.

Step 4

Lay the plastic liner over your bathtub. If you have a tiled shower floor and want to keep the tiles, protect that as well.

Step 5

Turn off the valve at the water main. Remove every shower or tub fixtures to expose just the pipes. This makes it easier to fit the cement wallboard and tiles. Wrap a cloth around any protruding pipes for damage protection during work.

Step 6

Scrape away the grout as much as possible, using a chisel, if you're replacing tiles on the shower floor. Pry off tiles with a chisel. Use a hammer to break the tile if it appears stuck.

Step 7

Cut the cement wallboard with a circular saw to fit the walls and fixtures around your shower. The cement wallboard should be 1/4 or 1/2 inch thick.

Step 8

Apply thin-set mortar to the cement wallboard, using a trowel. Anchor the cement wallboard to your shower wall. Fasten the cement wallboard to existing shower wall with a hammer and galvanized nails at six-inch intervals. The cement wallboard is to support the weight of the tiles. Also, should moisture seep through the grout, the cement wallboard would serve as a water barrier, protecting the existing drywall.

Step 9

Apply thin-set mortar to the cement wallboard, creating 1/4-inch ridges with a notched trowel. Work 3 feet by 3 feet at a time.

Step 10

Place the tiles on the cement wallboard by applying some pressure, making sure the tiles are flat and level on the wall. Utilize the L-square when placing tiles on corner positions. Use a level to check for alignment on the outermost tile rows. Wipe away any excess mortar with a rag.

Step 11

Mark tile portions to be cut into odd shapes, using a pencil. Cut the tile with a wet saw to conform to shape around obstacles.

Step 12

Add cement tiles to the shower floor if you are replacing those. The procedure is identical to that of wall tiles but without the cement wallboard. Wait for at least 24 hours for the tiles to set.

Step 13

Apply grout into tile joints, using a grout float. Immediately remove excess grout with a floor scraper and clean the tile with a rag.

Step 14

Applying water-resistant caulk where the bathtub and tiles meet, or around the shower floor where it meets the tiled wall. Reinstall the fixtures to the pipes and then turn on the valve at the water main.