How to Prepare Shower Walls for Tile: A Step By Step Guide
Are you interested in renovating your bathroom shower tiles but don’t know where to start? No problem.
We know that nothing beats the beauty brought to your bathroom with aesthetic tiles. But, before installing tiles on the wall, it is crucial to prepare your walls first. It lays a solid foundation for the stability and neatness of tiles. So, how to prepare shower walls for tile?
With our step-by-step guide, you can DIY efficiently. So let’s begin!

To prepare your shower walls, first you have to take off old tiles, then check for any leaks, and install a backer board to avoid seepage. After that, seal them. Now, your shower walls are ready to be used for new tiles. Let’s get know about it in details:

How to Prepare Shower Walls for Tile

Following are some simple steps that can save your time as well as energy.

Prep the area

Before you jump into preparing shower walls for tile, wear gloves and a mask as safety precautions. Also, cover the floor with large plastic sheets to cut the mess. Cut off the power supply. Lastly, be mindful of the ventilation.

Remove Old Tiles

You may be tempted to tile your shower area on existing tiles. It is possible. But it is preferable to remove old tiles and work on a solid foundation to avoid future problems. You can remove old tiles with a chisel or a hammer.
You can also put blankets as the tiles are pretty heavy, and while removing old tiles, you may break the floor tiles.

Repair the Shower Wall if Required

Check the wall for any damages or leaks if required. Now, you would want to install new connections (electric or plumbing), look for molds, and treat them.
Also, inspect if there is a drywall or backer board installed. The rule of thumb is to install a tile backer board below the showerhead that encounters water treatment.

Install the Tile/Cement Backer Board

You only need a tile backer board under the showerhead. It is because it provides a water-resistant layer to avoid seepage, protecting the wall behind your tiles.
Choose the cement backer board of the same thickness as drywall to have a seamless look. Cut your board according to your shower area with a knife or jigsaw to cut curves. Hold the board in place to install it correctly.

Secure and Tape the Tile/Cement Backer Board Joint

To secure the board to the wall, use tile backer board screws instead of drywall screws. Maintain the gap of ¼ inch with shims.
Once you have installed a tile backer board to the wall with studs, you need to caulk or tape the spaces. For this, you may use silicon caulking or drywall tape along with thin-set mortar to fill the gaps between walls and boards and the gaps between boards.

Apply Sealer to the Tile/Cement Backer Board

Lastly, you can use a waterproof tile membrane (like Redgard)  to provide additional water resistance. You can apply it like paint twice to provide maximum results. But make sure to apply the second layer after the first one is dried. Now your shower wall is ready for tiling.


Wrapping it up, it is essential to prepare your shower walls for tile. We hope our today’s guide on how to prepare shower walls for tile was helpful and provided a clear-cut canvas for the layout of your shower tiles.

We know that the process of installing tile can be intimidating, but we’re here to walk you through it step by step. Let us help you prepare your shower walls for tile so your new shower installation will go smoothly and look great in no time! Schedule a consultation today at Kennedy Kitchens and Baths today to have your questions answered or request an appointment online.

prepare shower tile


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