How-To Videos

Tile Tub or Shower Surround Wall Preparation

By: Danny Lipford
Applying waterproofer to cement backer board before tiling.

Applying a waterproofing sealer to cement backer board before tiling.

Since a tile tub or shower surround gets wet, it requires a waterproof backing, rather than just drywall. Here are the steps involved in preparing tub or shower walls for tile.

Tub or shower wall tile preparation:

  1. Apply a layer of 1/2″ thick cement backer board to the wall studs.
  2. Tape any seams and corners with fiberglass tape.
  3. Apply thin-set adhesive over the fiberglass tape, and allow it to dry.
  4. Roll a waterproofing sealer over the walls, and allow the sealer to dry.

Watch this video to find out more.

Further Information

Video Transcript

Danny Lipford: Installing a backsplash is relatively easy, and people often assume that applying tile to any wall requires the same process. But a tub or shower enclosure is very different because of the constant moisture it endures.

A backsplash is primarily decorative and can be installed directly over drywall. But for a tub or shower, you need to begin with a cement backer board base, because the tile will be constantly wet.

Next, you’ll tape the seams of the backer board, and apply a waterproofing sealer to the surface before you begin installing the tile. That way, even if moisture makes it through the tile or the porous grout, it won’t be able to get inside the walls behind them.


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5 Comments on “Tile Tub or Shower Surround Wall Preparation”

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  • Official Comment:

    Thomas Boni Says:
    November 14th, 2018 at 3:21 pm

    Hi, Karen!
    We recommend submitting questions involving unique situations like yours to the Today’s Homeowner Radio Show.
    Please use this form to contact Danny Lipford, America’s Home Expert, directly:
    Take care!

  • Karen Case Says:
    November 14th, 2018 at 1:14 pm

    I have an old house with plaster walls and I am having a shower kit installed next week. What should I be considering for behind the new shower walls? Should I have 2 x 4 studs to support the walls/base? How should I finish the edges of the shower stall once the install is completed?

    Karen Case

  • Linda Says:
    March 10th, 2018 at 6:21 am

    Surround came down sheet rock behind…what do I seal with..not tearing out Sheetrock…is there panels???

  • Kathy sargent Says:
    November 29th, 2017 at 8:01 pm

    How do you attach 1/2 in cement board to studs?

  • Megan Says:
    August 1st, 2017 at 10:14 pm

    Do any special considerations need to be made when installing wall tile in a pier and beam house to allow for settling?

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Tile Tub or Shower Surround Wall Preparation