ATTENTION: No pictures are used in this article. The content is VERY important and I’d like for you to get through this without distraction!
Depending on your situation, budget or willingness to do a tile shower installation on your own… there are plenty of things to study up on before pulling the trigger. One of the most important things is that if you definitely decide to DIY – then make sure you can do the project from start to finish. If you can’t finish the project, you may have a hard time finding a contractor that will pick up where you left off mainly because there’s no indication of prep work being done right.
Just to give an example… here is a common situation that most homeowners run into:
- Received quotes from professionals and thought it was too expensive.
- Decided to DIY.
- Found internet forums and websites to learn how to build a shower.
- Bought a whole bunch of supplies and tools from wherever.
- Step by Step, started to build a shower (mud base, shower walls, waterproofing etc…
- (Weeks go by…)
- (It’s time to tile…)
- (Things got busy… with work)
- (Nothing is getting done)
- Now you’re completely p!ssed and trying to find someone that will finish what you started…
Most professional tile contractors would not be interested in finishing a project that was half way done even if you thought that sprinkling Red Guard all over the cement board walls was an indication that it was good to go. A shower has to be completely built by the contractor to offer any type of warranty, for one. If a contractor does have the intention of finishing… then I’d say your strangling with inexperience.
If you have not started a project yet, here’s some random tips:
DO NOT PURCHASE SETTING MATERIALS AND WATERPROOFING
Contractors typically have their own combination of products that are associated with comfort level and performance or a specific product may be needed for different situations. There are bundles of various mortar types that are specific to porcelain, glass, stone, marble, large format tile etc… this also applies to even the simple things like shower drains, grout and just about every piece of the puzzle.
YOU CAN PURCHASE YOUR OWN TILE
Just make sure you have enough of it… including field tile, bull nose trim, mat tile etc… The tile doesn’t typically make the shower successful, it’s underneath what counts for the long haul. I usually recommend that you stay away from largely discounted specials at box stores because they are dirt cheap for a reason and mostly crooked and hard to work with.
GET YOUR CONTRACTOR’S OPINION ON SHOWER DOORS
I can be pretty picky in this department because a single glass installation can ruin a shower. Sometimes specific arrangements are made during the build process to accept a heavy glass installation. In particular, the company that I use actually has a good knowledge of how the newer methods of waterproofing works so we form a plan of how to mount hardware that will not puncture through waterproofing membranes in a curb that will cause potential leaking.
There’s a lot of grey areas that can go on forever but many of the things listed here are a good start before you actually start doing your own installation. Contractors are here to make money so charging a premium price for a quality installation can be shocking on the front side, however, thinking about the flip side you will recognize how much money you’re saving.