Material & Supply Calculator Shower Walls & Tub Walls

Are your project tub walls above a bathtub or shower walls in a shower stall?

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(Also see Tub Walls)

Tiling walls in an individual shower is an intermediate level installation project. The more time that is spent in design, preparation and planning, the easier your installation will be. Also remember the rule: Measure twice and cut once. It may be helpful to plan the tile placement by creating a story pole. To make a story pole, first lay out the tile with spacers in between each tile on a flat surface, which will represent your tiled wall (left to right = bottom to top). Then mark all tile and grout joint measurements on a long wooden dowel rod. Transfer the markings onto your wall surface and review the placement.

Choosing polished stone for shower walls can transform a plain, boring shower into a place of extraordinary beauty. Because much of the stone will be in close range or at eye level, the color and uniqueness of the stone can truly be appreciated, so it makes sense to splurge in this application.

Set your first row of stone tile and allow the area to dry until the mortar achieves its initial cure and the stone tile becomes solidly bonded. Then build the stone tile upward toward the ceiling. Place plenty of spacers between the stone tiles to help keep the tiles in position until the mortar reaches its initial set. Use white, non-sag mortars such as MAPEI Large-Format Floor & Wall Tile Mortar (white) or MAPEI Large Tile & Stone Mortar (white) to help keep the tile from slipping downwards. An unsanded grout like MAPEI Keracolor U is typically recommended. Adding MAPEI Grout Maximizer to Keracolor U will help to reduce the porosity of the grout and help to keep the grout clean. Sealing both the grout and stone with a quality sealer will help to maintain the installation, keep it clean and reduce staining.

(Also see Shower Walls)

Tiling a wall above a bathtub can help turn an outdated bathroom, into a fresh and renewed space in your home.

For a beginner-level installation project, choose small ceramic wall tile such as 3" x 6" subway tile with lugs (lugs are like built-in spacers that allow tiles to be placed tightly together with a predetermined small joint for grout.) A premixed tile adhesive such as MAPEI Type 1 mastic or MAPEI Premium Mortar for tile and stone works well for small ceramic wall tile over cement board. Using a premixed grout such as MAPEI Flexcolor CQ adds additional convenience and simplicity to the installation. If you decide to add a layer of waterproofing over the cement board, then you will need to use a polymer-modified cement-based mortar such as MAPEI Porcelain Tile Mortar.

If you are an experienced installer, selecting a large 12" x 24" porcelain tile for tub walls will create a sleek, contemporary appeal. MAPEI Large-Format Floor & Wall Tile Mortar and MAPEI Large Tile & Stone Mortar are recommended for large and heavy tiles on walls. MAPEI Ultracolor Plus FA is a good choice when grouting large tiles. An epoxy grout such as Kerapoxy CQ is the best choice for wet areas and is also the easiest to maintain.

Glass or mixed material mosaic tile on walls above a bathtub can turn a drab bathroom into a sparkling retreat. Adding a layer of waterproofing over the cement board such as MAPEI Mapelastic AquaDefense will extend the life of the installation. MAPEI Mosaic & Glass Tile Mortar mixed with MAPEI Polymer Additive is the proper setting material for glass or mixed material mosaic tile over Mapelastic AquaDefense waterproofing membrane. An unsanded grout like MAPEI Keracolor U is typically recommended. Adding MAPEI Grout Maximizer to Keracolor U will help to reduce the porosity of the grout, help to keep the grout clean and reduce staining.

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Related Glossary Terms

Properly calculating your project’s total area helps ensure an accurate estimate of the materials needed. The shape of your project space may require combining multiple measurements. Follow the simple directions on our Calculating Total Area page to guide you through the process.

Grout joint widths are also an important factor in a successful tile installation. When choosing spacer size, consider the aesthetics of the installation, the type and size of tile, the edge style of the tile and the type of grout.

3/16" is a standard-size joint width. Wider joints may be needed with installations of very large tiles. Even installations of small tile require a minimum of 1/16" grout joint. Note: Installations with tiles tightly butted together (zero grout) are not recommended and will likely develop serious issues over time.

Many factors should be considered when selecting the right trowel size for a tile installation, but the most important factor is the tile size. As a general rule, after tile is pressed into mortar, mortar should cover the entire back surface of the tile without voids or trowel lines. So, take time to check for proper mortar coverage by periodically lifting a couple of tiles and inspecting them for coverage. If there are voids or trowel lines showing, a larger-sized trowel may be required for the installation. Back-buttering is generally recommended for tiles with any side 15" or greater. Installations of tiles larger than 24" x 24" typically require the skill of a knowledgeable and experienced tile installer. The Technical Data Sheet and product packaging will provide mortar coverage for common trowel sizes.

Note: When using premixed products such as MAPEI Type 1 or MAPEI Premium Mortar for tile and stone, using a larger trowel can greatly extend the drying time of the mortar or adhesive.

Shower Walls & Tub Walls Supply List

Congrats, your Shower Walls & Tub Walls Project has been successfully calculated. Below you’ll find a list of all the MAPEI products you’ll need to complete your project.

These calculations are only estimates. To ensure getting the right amount of product for your project, check the packaging information or consult your retail associate.