Whether you’re building a new shower from scratch or remodeling an existing tub/shower combo, creating a waterproof wall is the most important part of the job. It’s also one of the toughest tasks to complete yourself, which is why many DIYers turn this job over to a professional. If you plan to tackle it yourself, here’s what you need to know:
The base wall (backerboard)
The base wall (backerboard) is the first layer of wall behind your tile. It’s used to support your tiles and prevent them from cracking or chipping.
What is backerboard?
Backerboard is a type of gypsum board that’s been pre-cut into sheets for easy installation. There are three types: cement, fiberglass and mineral. Cement backerboards are more expensive than the others but have the best strength-to-weight ratio, making it ideal for floors and walls where moisture may be present (kitchen backsplash). Fiberglass boards are less dense than cement so they don’t absorb as much water; therefore they’re a good choice if you’re installing in an area with high humidity levels like bathrooms or laundry rooms. Mineral boards come in either paper faced or foil faced versions—the paper face provides better sound absorption whereas the foil face gives off less toxic fumes when burned during construction which means it’s safer for homes with small children running around.
Advantages of using backerboard:
- They provide structural support against movement from tiling directly onto drywall since these DIY materials aren’t designed to hold up their own weight without reinforcement;
- They protect both sides of your drywall from moisture damage caused by leakage through joints between walls/floors;
The water barrier
The water barrier is a thin plastic sheet that’s used to prevent water from getting behind the tile. You’ll apply adhesive directly to the studs, and then attach the backer board using a few clamps until it dries. The water barrier should be applied with enough overlap so that it can be tucked under itself when you’re done attaching both pieces of drywall together.
Make sure the backerboard is cut close to the faucet so that it doesn’t have to be around fixtures.
Once the backerboard is cut, make sure it fits in place. If it’s too long, you can trim it with a hacksaw or table saw to fit. If the backerboard is too short, you may need to put some spacers in between the tub and wall to make up for lost space.
Make sure that there is enough room around any fixtures (like faucets) so that they don’t get covered by this new tile shower wall backerboard when installed.
Measure and draw on your backerboard where you need to cut a hole for your shower head, cut this out with a circular saw.
- Measure and draw on your backerboard where you need to cut a hole for your shower head, cut this out with a circular saw. You must use a blade specifically made for cutting tile. Make sure to not cut too close to the edge of the tile or else it will be very hard to remove any excess material left behind by the saw once you’re done cutting through it all.
- Next, make sure that everything is level: if not, then adjust your framing accordingly before attaching everything together with screws or nails (if applicable). Make sure everything fits into its correct location before proceeding forward with installing anything else onto it.
If you are adding niche shelves, mark and measure with the shelf liner in place. Drill the holes.
- If you are adding niche shelves, mark and measure with the shelf liner in place. Drill the holes.
- Don’t forget to use a waterproof sealant when drilling holes in the wall or floor of your shower stall. You can easily purchase this at any home improvement store.
- Make sure that your PEX piping has female ends on both sides so that there’s no need for adapters. If you need more than one PEX pipe, make sure it has female ends on both sides as well (so there’s no need for adapters). Then simply connect all of these pipes together so they form one long continuous piece of tubing that runs throughout your entire shower system.
Cut the holes with a special cutting tool or use a reciprocating saw.
When you’re ready to install the tile, let’s get started
First, use a special cutting tool or reciprocating saw to cut holes for your shower head, faucet and niche shelves. You’ll also need to cut out a hole for the waterproof barrier around your faucet—this is where it will be placed after all of your other shower wall construction is complete. Make sure that when you’re installing the waterproof barrier around your faucet that it extends up above ceiling height by an inch or two (2.5 cm). It’s also important that you tape each piece of waterproofing together before placing it on top of your backer board; this will make sure that no gaps exist between pieces of waterproofing (which would allow moisture into them) when glued down later on in this process.
Next up: stick down your backer board using clamps until glue sets up completely
lift up your backerboard and apply some adhesive to both sides of it. Allow 30-60 seconds for it to tack up before to putting it in place. Then use some clamps to hold it tight until the glue sets up.
Now that your backerboard is in place, it’s time to apply the waterproofing tape. First, you need to make sure that your seams are taped-off. This means using a waterproofing seam tape (i.e., Frogtape) and taping along all of the edges where two pieces of drywall will meet each other. The tape should be applied tightly over all exposed surfaces so that water cannot seep through any cracks or holes in the wall structure itself. It is important not to skip this step because doing so may lead to a leaky shower sooner rather than later!
The next step involves applying adhesive on both sides of your backerboard and smoothing it out with a putty knife until there are no bubbles left behind. You’ll want about 2 inches extra hanging off both sides for easy installation later down the road; unless otherwise stated by your contractor or designer, always leave extra room around corners when doing this kind of work so there will be plenty of room for error later if something goes wrong during installation process due improper cutting measurements made earlier on site prior moving forward with project completion deadline date deadlines coming up soon deadlines approaching quickly deadline date looming fast deadlines getting closer faster quickly
Place your first piece of water barrier on the studs about 1 foot below the ceiling. Cover everything above it with another layer of water barrier. Tape all seams with tape specifically made for this job, then add another layer of water barrier over top of that.
Water barrier is a plastic sheet that goes on the wall before tile is installed. It’s used to protect the walls from water damage, and you’ll need to put it up before any other material is added. Water barrier must be installed first, before anything else is done so that all seams can be taped with tape specifically made for this purpose. Tape all seams with this special tape, then add another layer of water barrier over top of that by placing it in sections around your shower area. Finally, cover everything above it with another layer of water barrier (as shown below).
I know this might seem like a lot of work but once you have the backerboard and water barrier installed, the tile goes in pretty easily. It just takes time to set up your materials and get ready for your first piece of tile. I hope that you’ve found these tips helpful and please feel free to share them with your friends.