The Shower Tile Installation Is Finished!

Note 12/3/21: All is well with us! I just reached a point of absolute burnout with the DIY projects, and needed a bit of time to step away and refresh. I had intended that to last just two or three days, but then three days turned into a week, which turned into two weeks. 😃 But we’re fine, and I hope to get back to it this weekend. ❤️

I was beginning to think that I wouldn’t see this day until sometime in 2022, but I finally finished installing all of the tile in the master bathroom shower last night. It still needs to be cleaned up and grouted/caulked, but that should be a relatively quick project compared to the actual tiling.

Earlier this week, I still needed to tile the shower niche…

bathroom shower progress 11-15-21 - 3

…as well as the narrow wall of the shower (i.e., the wall where the bathtub will sit just on the other side).

bathroom shower progress 11-15-21 - 5

Well, as of last night, both of those areas are done, which means that all of the shower tile has been installed.

Here’s a look at how I did the niche tile…

shower tile installation finished - 1

That’s not quite what I had planned, but I tried about ten different tile layouts with three different tiles used individually in various layouts, as well as in combinations with each other (the shower wall tile, the glass penny round accent tile, and the shower floor tile), and I just wasn’t happy with any of them. Of all of the options, this simple vertical application of the wall tile was the one I liked the most since I felt like the vertical arrangement was a nod to the smaller vertical tiles around the bottom of the walls. Of course, all of this will be a lot less noticeable when it’s all grouted, so everything will look a lot more subtle than it does now with the dark (shadowy) grout lines showing.

And here’s the entry wall with all of its tile…

shower tile installation finished - 2

That wall took a long time because I hadn’t yet installed the vertical tiles along the bottom, and each one of those has to be measured and cut individually. In other words, it’s not like I can just cut a batch of tiles at 4.5 inches because that floor is sloped. And since I’m not a tile pro, I’m pretty slow at the specialized cuts. But once I got that bottom row done, the rest was pretty simple and straightforward.

Sadly, that’s the wall with the main water control that requires the 8-inch back plate that I somehow managed to lose. So I had to order another one, and the shower won’t officially be finished until that arrives. But since that control is on the side wall, we can use the shower even without that plate installed.

When I finished that, I was just about to empty my mortar bucket and get everything cleaned up, and I realized that I had enough mortar to finish up the floor in the toilet area. It has looked like this for quite a while now…

tiling the bathroom floor - progress 6

I’ve been dreading this for a while now because the unfinished area at the entry to the toilet area was narrower than the area at the back. And it wasn’t just a little off. It was just over an inch off.

toilet area floor tile installation finished - 3

So instead of just installing full, intact sheets of the 2 x 2 tiles, I ended up cutting the sheets into strips of tiles (6 tiles on each strip), and installing the strips very carefully so that the grout lines gradually got wider towards the back wall.

toilet area floor tile installation finished - 1

I was both shocked and very pleased that that plan seemed to work out just fine, and I’m confident that once it’s grouted, no one will be able to tell that there’s anything different about those grout lines from front to back. In fact, I can’t really tell with it as it is.

So I’m very excited to have that tile installed as well. Barring any unforeseen circumstances, I should be able to get all of this (the whole shower and this floor) cleaned up, grouted, and have the shower fixtures installed this weekend. I will feel such a sense of accomplishment to finally have these things done!!



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  1. So darn proud of you!

    For all of it: your vision, your determination, your ability to think on your feet and change course if necessary.

    This bathroom is going to be an absolute haven!

  2. Oh my!! It looks so very nice. The vertical tile in the niche is a great repeat of the bottom row of til — it looks so intentional (because it is!). And the toilet floor too! That was a great fix in there, to widen the grout lines slightly from front to back. Just wow! And it isn’t finished yet and it still is wow!

  3. Congratulations!!! Do you feel 20 pounds lighter now?
    We were all cheering for you, and knew you would get it done. Take a break and eat some turkey!
    Happy Thanksgiving to you and your family!
    P.S. I forgot to say you did a wonderful job, and it gonna be beautiful!

  4. Wow congratulations on that accomplishment! It looks wonderful. I love how you did the niche – looks like it belongs, yet a little different and interesting. Also I admire your solution to the less than perfect square toilet area. What a genius you are! 😂 It is fantastic that you can roll with things, and figure out solutions. Looking forward to seeing the finished product.

  5. I’m so proud of you, Kristi, and of Matt for spurring you on during those tough days. We can all relate to how you handled the frustrations in the bathroom and in the gym and the solutions you thought of for each of them— now that I think about it, that was true in many other spaces in the house, as well. It really is encouragement for us, your readers, to stick with our projects to the end, just as you do repeatedly.

    You both will enjoy this shower space so much. And then the thought of you soaking in that beautiful tub as you enjoy the lovely mural makes me especially happy for you.

  6. What?! How super awesome is this!! And how great the niche looks with the vertical tile, and how clever the fix is with the floor tiles on the bathroom side! See, a little brain resting works wonders to find solutions when it gets fried. The bathroom is looking so good, Kristi! Hoping the rest all goes smoothly.

  7. You’ve done an absolutely incredible job Kristi. It was a big, difficult and tedious job, but you’ve stuck to it, done it and it looks fantastic. You should be so proud of your achievement, as we are of you. Well done!!!!

  8. Nice fix on the last toilet area! I realized that tiling is largely a ‘trick of the eye’ and if your eye sees tiles as even and straight and correct, then it will be so, even if you know the truth about those grout lines! I did a similar trick on the only bath tub I have so far tiled to have full tiles all the way up to the ceiling, with just a little wider grout lines above the band. Worked like a charm…. Congrats on getting the tiling done, you’re an inspiration!

  9. Awesome, Kristi! Your bathroom is looking so good! But I never had any doubt! You always come up with a solution to whatever the problem is! And it always looks great! I know you are so happy to have it done! <3

  10. Blimey!
    I feel exhausted just following your progress, let alone doing it.

    It has been a fantastic lesson in the good the bad and the ugly of tiling and decision making. Actually far more informative and useful than a DIY book.

    Hat’s off : great job!

  11. I am sure you already told us the answer to my question and that I just missed it, so please forgive my asking: what is your plan for the very top of the walls and ceiling in the shower?

      1. They make polystyrofoam molding now, that would be perfect for the shower. Congratulations on finishing the tiling; that was a monumental effort. It’s looking more and more beautiful each day, and will give you many years of usefulness and pleasure. Hope you and Matt have a blessed Thanksgiving!

  12. Holy cow!! We’ve doe a whole shower bath very soon
    Olaf time this. It’s work! You have an amazing talent and capability for these tough projects! Guess what?…I’m five feet tall too Very hard worn and it looks amazing!!!!

  13. I love the solution on the toilet floor, it is one of these things that you only learn from experimenting (or being able to watch somebody else doing the experimenting…) thank you for that information, who knows when this might come in handy!
    Thanks to following you for a long time now, I am so bold as to try and install a water faucet with the aid of my hubby and our neighbour who offered his help – and if we succeed we will save big, but more so, I will feel so empowered! I’m so glad for you sharing your experience!

  14. I like your niche solution. I never understand why people get all fancy on the niche tiling when it is just going to be covered up with bottles of shampoo and other products, even if they are decanted in to prettier vessels. Looks good on Instagram, though!

    1. We’re fine!! I’m just in a DIY slump, feeling so burned out. 🙂 I didn’t meant to be away for so long, but one day turned into five, and one week turned into two. But all is well.

  15. Thanks for the update. I’ve been checking everyday and was really getting worried.😊 Glad its just normal DIY burnout!

  16. Your solution for the toilet room floor tile is brilliant!
    All of the tile looks beautiful and I can’t wait to see it when it’s all completed.
    Hope you are enjoying your time off during this holiday season. God bless. <3