Shower Tile Progress — It’s Getting There!!

I almost decided not to share my progress today just because I’m so tired of talking about shower tile, but I did promise to be accountable and keep y’all in the loop with my progress (it really does help me keep focused), so I’m here. And I really did make some good progress, but as is always the case, it’s just not quite as much progress as I had hoped.

At the end of last week, I shared how last week was kind of a wash for me. I tried a decorative accent stripe on the shower walls, didn’t like it, and ripped it out. (Read: A Bad Week For Progress, A Good Week For Clarity.) So at the end of last week, after a few steps forward and a couple of steps backwards, this was the progress on the shower wall tile…

shower wall tile progress - 6

As I ripped the tile off of the top of that wall, it also ripped off the waterproofing membrane I had applied. I used Semco waterproofing membrane in the shower, but it’s only available online. Not wanting to wait for a new order to arrive, I headed to Home Depot and picked up the red waterproofing stuff that they sell just to use on this back wall.

Had this been on a wall that would get consistently wet each time the shower is used, I would have waited for a new Semco order. But since this is on the wall that will get the least amount of water, and it’s also on the top of the wall, I was okay using the red stuff.

shower tiled walls progress - 2

Now that I’ve used both brands in a relatively short period of time and on the same project, I can tell you that I really do prefer and recommend Semco. The Semco waterproofing is very easy to apply. It’s also a thinner product, which doesn’t sound like a positive thing, but it really is. It fills in pinholes and tiny hairline cracks much easier than the thicker RedGard does. And probably the main difference that I noticed is that RedGard dries much harder, where the Semco is very durable when dry, but it remains pliable. For something that’s meant to be a crack prevention membrane, I would think that pliability would be essential so that the membrane won’t crack as the house moves and shifts throughout the seasons.

So take that for what it’s worth. 🙂 My waterproofing membrane of choice from here on out will always be Semco, but obviously in a pinch, I’ll use the RedGard.

After letting that dry overnight, I finished up the tile on that back wall.

shower tiled walls progress

You can see that the bottom 2/3 of the wall is grouted (and still very hazy), but the upper 1/3 isn’t yet grouted. I didn’t take the tile all the way to the ceiling because I’m still contemplating a couple of different options for that area.

I had hoped that I’d get all of the side wall tiled as well, but when I finished up last night, working from bottom to top, I had only made it just past the niche. That niche really slowed me down because I had no idea how to handle it. I’ve never tiled a niche before. But I think I finally have it figured out. I still have to tile the inside, but at least I got all of the intricate cuts finished to go around the outside of the niche.

shower tiled walls progress

The rest of that wall, not including the inside of the niche, should be pretty easy.

So it’s getting there! It’s easy to get frustrated with myself for how slow this project is going, but I keep reminding myself that this isn’t a standard shower. This shower has a whole lot more tiled area than most do. The average master bathroom shower size is around 4′ x 3′ and has one or two glass walls. This shower is 7′ x 7.5′ with no glass walls, so I’m trying to cut myself some slack. But I’m so ready to be done with this so I can move on to something else!!! And I’m sure y’all are ready for that, too. 😀



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  1. I think you are doing an amazing job! This will be such a blessing for Matt! You have the best vision and it is a THRILL to watch as you conquer it all!!

    1. It looks great! I think the stripes either vertically or horizontally would have looked too busy. Something decorative at the top would be nice. Excited to see what you do. Excited for you to have a long soak in your tub!

  2. I just love getting your updates. I’d rather you posted more regularly without much to report, than hear from you only occasionally with a big update. I think we all want to hear about everything!

  3. What about using your penny tiles in the niche? Something to make it stand out and be pretty? I’ve never tiled so I don’t know if that would be a killer job.

    1. Just what I was thinking. In Aus. we sometimes trim around the front niche edges with a S/S or brass edging to give a nice classy finish.
      Using a feature tile in there makes for a great point of contrast and penny tiles would avoid lots of itty bitty straight grout lines.

  4. Amazing talent, you have! Beautiful shower and am glad you figured out the niche. Bet it is tricky and you will conquer it!!

  5. It is looking so very very nice. Slow and steady gets it done. Of course it would be nice if it were done yesterday, haha! But it will be wonderful when complete and both you and Matt will never take it for granted, but appreciate it every time it is used. And it is good for all of us regular folks to get a sense of how much work it really takes to do projects from the ground up.

  6. Ooh! Are you contemplating doing the same ceiling as in your hall bathroom? I love it! So classy. In fact I love it more than all your other projects to date.

  7. Kristi, do you have any of the glass penny still around to just go in the back wall of the niche? It’s so pretty. I also had an excellent tile guy who suggested the Schluter metal edge around the outside of the niche and I really liked it

  8. Just a reminder….. “you can only eat an elephant one bite at a time….!” Your tenacity is to be admired……. You got this…!

  9. I have to laugh because I always underestimate project time. My brother finally taught me that take the time you think it will take, and multiplied by three. If you think it’ll take one full day, estimated at three days. If you come in at 2 1/2 or 2 3/4, you’ll be thrilled with yourself. Instead of being the appointed because it took longer than one day. And since I’ve tried that, it’s always worked. The tiling looks great and that is a huge shower. As is the rest of the tiling in the room. So if you continue to do it yourself, do you cut yourself some slack. And once you get done with the bathroom or 90% of it, the workout room is going to seem like a piece of cake to finish up. Hang in there.

    1. Love the comment! Great advice!
      Kristy, your shower is progressing regardless of the setbacks. Keep up the good work! Love the classic look too!

  10. I am watching your shower closely. I am building a new house and it needs to be wheelchair accessible for the future. My shower is about 4 x 5 and curb less.
    Wish I had the room you do for mine. You have been an inspiration to me while I was designing my new home. It’s actually a house with an apt for me including my shop for all things fiber arts.
    The tables you built that attach to each other is at the top of my list.
    Keep up the good work and inspire us as you go.

  11. You are doing a great job! It already is so amazing, keep it up! I’m so excited for your husband to be able to use it soon–and I’m only reading on the web, I know you’re WAY more!

  12. I miss my niche! I put in a niche that ran almost the entire 6′ length of our shower. We have since moved to our forever home and i can’t wait to redo this bath. It’s like a room of travertine with no shelf or niche in the shower and I hate it. This shower will be so nice for you and Matt!

  13. I appreciate your helpful advice. No one ever wants to deal with the aftermath of leaky tiles. Water is so sneaky and can drain down and around and cause so much unseen damage before it even appears on the outside of an adjoining surface. So, thanks again for the attention to detail.

  14. I rented my house out for 8 years. When i decided to move back in it was a disqaqster area. I’ve been working on it alone sence June and its hard!! Qim living in it now but still have 2 bedrooms and a bathroom to face. What kept me going these 6 months is everytime i had to make a major decision i would say ” what would Kristi do”. Thank you for this blog.

    1. The plan is to put a much brighter bulb in the fixture. 🙂 Right now, it has something like a 60W equivalent 2700K bulb. Everything looks yellow when the light is on. I’d like a 5000K 100-watt equivalent LED bulb, but I keep forgetting to purchase one.

  15. It’s looking fantastic!! Love your updates, and would rather see something than nothing at all. I find the more frustrating, or more tears shed during one of my projects, the more proud of myself I am when it’s completed and I know I did it myself and didn’t compromise on my vision. You’re awesome, keep trucking!!