How to Install Tile in a Bathroom
LESLIE: Now we’ve got Jed in New York on the line who’s doing a tiling project and needs help with the process. How can we help you?
JED: I’m building a house in Upstate New York and I just had a question about how or what you guys would suggest a way to adhere tile, like for a shower surround or in back of a tub. I’ve been to a couple of different stores and have gotten a couple of different answers. They have, basically, the cement backer board and then they have a composite material. And I didn’t know if you guys were familiar with either one of them or had a preference or a suggestion for me.
LESLIE: You’re dealing with open bays? This is brand-new construction? Nothing is on that wall as of yet?
JED: No. I haven’t got that far yet. Just starting to look at everything and I know that I want to put in tile in the bathroom and I’m just starting to piece everything together.
LESLIE: When you do a tiling project, your tiles, yes, are water-resistant but the grout lines will suck water in and through. So you want to make sure that whatever is behind there will do its best to withstand from mold growth and any other issues that might happen as the water does seep through the grout lines.
JED: OK. Do you guys have a suggestion of what you would recommend doing? Is there a certain barrier that I can put behind the tile or anything like that?
TOM: So I would stick with a standard tile backer. When you’re doing – dealing with new construction, that’s the best way to do it. I mean in the old days, we used to put wire mesh and a mud wall and that’d last for a hundred or more years. But today, the tile backers do a pretty good job.
So especially if you’re starting with studs, I would definitely build it up with a tile backer. I would not use a composite drywall because it just doesn’t last that long. It’s very popular with builders because it gives them an inexpensive way to be able to deliver a tiled shower but invariably, after about 10 years, it starts to soften and rot and you end up having to tear it all out anyway.
JED: OK. Well, that’s great. That helps me out so much. I can’t even tell you guys. So at least I’ve got my step; now I’ve just got to pick out all the colors and all that wonderful stuff.
TOM: Alright. Well, good luck with that project. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.