Tile Tub or Shower Surround Wall Preparation

Applying waterproofer to cement backer board before tiling.
Applying a waterproofing sealer to cement backer board before tiling.

Since a tile tub or shower surround gets wet, it requires a waterproof backing, rather than just drywall. Here are the steps involved in preparing tub or shower walls for tile.

Tub or shower wall tile preparation:

  1. Apply a layer of 1/2″ thick cement backer board to the wall studs.
  2. Tape any seams and corners with fiberglass tape.
  3. Apply thin-set adhesive over the fiberglass tape, and allow it to dry.
  4. Roll a waterproofing sealer over the walls, and allow the sealer to dry.

Watch this video to find out more.

Further Information

VIDEO TRANSCRIPT
Danny Lipford: Installing a backsplash is relatively easy, and people often assume that applying tile to any wall requires the same process. But a tub or shower enclosure is very different because of the constant moisture it endures.

A backsplash is primarily decorative and can be installed directly over drywall. But for a tub or shower, you need to begin with a cement backer board base, because the tile will be constantly wet.

Next, you’ll tape the seams of the backer board, and apply a waterproofing sealer to the surface before you begin installing the tile. That way, even if moisture makes it through the tile or the porous grout, it won’t be able to get inside the walls behind them.