How To Install 12×24 Porcelain Tile On A Shower Wall

Upgraded Home Team
by Upgraded Home Team
Porcelain tiles are a classic and elegant look that can make any shower wall look better. Installing 12×24 porcelain tiles may sound tricky but it is a quick process if you use the right-sized trowel. Whether it be preparing the surface or choosing the right trowel, follow along as we take a deep dive into how you can install 12×24 porcelain tiles in a shower stall.

When it comes to tiling a shower wall, many have the first impression that the job will be a significant hassle. The truth is, tiling a shower doesn’t have to be hard at all. In fact, if you follow a simple set of rules, the job can be both speedy and efficient!

To install a 12 x 24 porcelain tile on a shower wall, you must first determine the layout of the tile. After measuring the area, you’ll set the tile with a trowel based on your tile size and shape. After letting it sit for 24 hours, you’ll remove the spacers and check the tile for any blemishes.

While the process of installing 12×24 porcelain tile may seem simple, there are a few key things to do to make the process smoother. Check out these key tricks to making your porcelain tile installation as simple as possible. You’ll be glad that you did!

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Why Should You Choose Porcelain Tile?

If you’re looking to tile your own shower, you’ve already proved that you’re capable of making some pretty ambitious decisions. You’ve also already made one of the most important decisions of the tiling process; picking the right materials.

When it comes to tiling your shower wall, there are many different types of materials to choose from. When selecting the right tile for your bathroom, it’s crucial to think about several various factors, such as:

  • The general wear and tear of the area
  • What your budget boundaries are
  • The overall aesthetics of the space

While porcelain could be considered a bit pricier, the material is highly impervious to water, extremely durable, and offers a variety of color and aesthetically pleasing options. As a matter of fact, porcelain tile is so good that an average of 38% of all bathroom designs incorporates porcelain tile.

Attention To Detail And The Importance Of It

While we may be stating the obvious here, attention to detail is everything when it comes to any important home renovation. When looking to tile your bathroom walls, planning out each detail is of the utmost importance if you’re looking to have a beautiful and long-lasting final product.

When tiling your shower, there are several key things that you need to do:

  • Make sure you measure the area accurately. A laser level measuring tool can help you do this.
  • Plan where all tiles will go before mixing your mortar
  • Be patient and don’t rush through the project

Below, we will go through these tips thoroughly so you can apply them to get the best finished product you possibly can!

1. Measure Twice And Then Measure Again!

Remember that old saying “measure twice, cut once”? When it comes to working with bathroom tile (especially something as expensive as porcelain), it’s vital to get your measurements right. Consider looking into laser sight level measurement tools, as these provide a tremendous amount of coverage and offer a hands-free way to measure while working along the wall.

While you will generally be able to buy your 12 x 24 porcelain tiles already precut, you will need to measure any abnormal shower corners or seats to custom fit the tile to that area.

2. Plan Before Mixing

Before you begin mixing your mortar, you’ll need to have a solid idea of where every tile on the shower wall will go. It’s recommended that you start with the back shower wall first and then work your way out from there. If you don’t plan before you start mixing, the mortar will eventually dry out, and you’ll end up having more issues than fun!

3. Patience Is Key

As with most things in life, patience is key! If you rush through this planning stage, you may end up paying for it later on with the final product. Put in the work during the planning stage and you’ll be sure to see the results with the final!

Are You Ready To Install Your Tile?

After you’ve planned, measured, and cut your pieces, it’s finally time to begin the process of installing your tile!

Step 1: Spread Your Mortar

When spreading your mortar across the shower wall, you’ll want to start with a thin, even layer.

  • Spread the mortar. Use your trowel to spread the mortar across the surface. While trowels come in many different shapes and sizes, a rectangular trowel usually works best for shower tile installations.
  • Give the area a second coating.  Once you get a thin layer of mortar on the wall, you’ll then go back over the area with more mortar.
  • Score the surface. Take the edge of your trowel and make little score marks on the top of the mortar mixture. This will help to adhere to the tile better.

Step 2: Apply Your First Tile

  • Set a tile. After ensuring the wall surface is level, you’ll pick your first piece of tile. It’s important to use your trowel to smooth a fine layer of mortar on the back of the tile before applying it to the wall.
  • Check the area. After pressing the tile to the wall, it’s important to make sure that no mortar is seeping out around the tile edges. If it does, it’s better to clean as you go; otherwise, you run the risk of ruining your tiles.
  • Clean the tiles. It’s always a good idea to keep a wet sponge on standby should the need arise to wipe mortar off the tiles.
  • Insert the spacers. After setting the tile in place, insert two spacers between the bottom of the tile and the tub or floor. The spacer’s size is entirely up to you; however, depending on the space, 1/16-inch or 1/8-inch spacers usually do the trick.

After applying the spacers, it’s important to double-check the tile’s alignment for your measurements before you can move on to finishing this first line of tiles on your chosen wall.

Step 3: Finish Up Your First Wall

If the rest of your wall doesn’t have any unique spaces or measurements, then you’ll just be completing step 2 again! If you happen to have any unique openings in this wall, such as seats, windows, you’ll need to premeasure these spaces and cut your file accordingly.

It’s important to put spaces between all of your tiles, not just the ones that are touching the floor or tub. Each tile must have the proper breathing room it needs to seal properly.

Step 4: Fit The Tiles Around The Rest Of The Shower

The process for tiling the other two walls is pretty much the same as the first, with the exception of the plumbing wall. By this point in your shower construction process, you probably have your pipes sticking out of the wall where your shower head and facet will go. In order to tile these areas, you will need to measure and then cut holes in your tile accordingly.

Step 5: Drying And Grouting

  • Remove the spacers. Once your tile has set for 24 hours, you can now remove the spacers.
  • Apply the grout. After removing the spacers, you can spread the grout across your trowel and then spread this thinly across the entire surface of the tile wall.
  • Wipe the extra grout away. Give the wall about ten minutes to dry before wiping away any excess grout that is still on the tiles. Try not to remove any grout from the spaces between the tile.

Step 6: Cleaning And Sealing

After a few days, you may want to use a grout friendly acidic cleaner to deep clean your shower walls. It may take many coats to clean the walls fully, so patience is key here. You can also use a rubber sealant to seal any corners or pesky edges to ensure that your new shower walls are one hundred percent waterproof.

When you are deep cleaning your shower walls, be sure to watch for any grout that chips off. If this happens, you might need to fill the hole with a little bit more, and make sure you allow it to dry before using your shower. If you use your shower before it’s dry, water can get in and ruin the process, causing the grout to chip off.

Related Questions

What kind of material goes behind the tile?

In older homes, many bathrooms have drywall behind the shower tiles. This could prove to be problematic over time as mold has a higher chance of growing on drywall. It’s recommended that you use a waterproof material such as cementitious backer units (CBUs). These could be regular cement or cement fiberboards.

What tools will I need to lay tile?

Depending on the job, these tools could include a laser sight, measuring tape, trowel, nippers, buckets, a drill and mixing paddle, sponges, a nailgun, and more.

Do You Need to Hire Tile Installers?

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Wrapping It Up

Tiling your shower is not as hard as it may seem. By carefully planning the project and taking accurate measurements, you will ensure that you produce an end result that you’re happy with. However, this will take a little bit of patience on your end.

After you have applied the tiles and grout, make sure you don’t use your shower until everything is thoroughly dry. If you expose wet grout to water, it won’t form its waterproof seal and may even chip off. When everything is dry and ready to go, you can then enjoy your brand new tile job!

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Upgraded Home Team
Upgraded Home Team

We are a team of passionate homeowners, home improvement pros, and DIY enthusiasts who enjoy sharing home improvement, housekeeping, decorating, and more with other homeowners! Whether you're looking for a step-by-step guide on fixing an appliance or the cost of installing a fence, we've here to help.

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