Tile Shower Ceilings Right the First Time

Installing tile on a shower ceiling may seem intimidating, but with careful planning and preparation, you can achieve stunning results. Tiling the ceiling creates a seamless, waterproof surface that prevents moisture damage and mold growth while adding visual appeal.

Before picking up any tools, understand why tiling your ceiling is worthwhile. Tile resists water, handles humidity well, and is easier to clean than drywall or paint. Tile also enables creative designs not possible with other materials. However, ceiling tiles add cost and weight, requiring robust structural support.

Selecting Complimentary Tiles & Patterns

Smaller porcelain, ceramic, or stone tiles are easiest to install on shower ceilings. Opt for mosaic tiles or those around 2 inches square. Match your wall tile for a cohesive look or pick a complementary style. Creative herringbone patterns or mosaic medallions make stunning accents.

Structural Reinforcements & Substrate

Prevent cracks and falling tiles by backing the ceiling with plywood, concrete backerboard, or foam panels. After installing additional framing or substrate, remove old materials like drywall. Check for leaks or water stains needing repair before applying moisture protection.

Building up multiple layers creates a robust, secure substrate for ceiling tiles. Sturdy cement backerboard designed for wet areas works well. Some companies like Wedi and Schluter Systems manufacture specialized shower boards.

tile on ceiling of shower

Waterproofing Membranes

Apply a waterproofing membrane to the entire ceiling before setting tile. Membranes seal seams, fastener holes, and corners vulnerable to moisture intrusion. Top options include liquid-applied RedGard and sheet membranes like Schluter Kerdi.

Laying Out Your Ceiling Tile Pattern

Plan your layout by mapping stud locations and marking the ceiling for tile spacings. Centering tiles on framing improves support. Consider lighting or ventilation fixture placements when designing layouts.

We recommend installing tiles horizontally on shower ceilings. Work methodically from the bottom up, completing one horizontal row fully before starting upper rows. This prevents slippage and gives precedents for aligned upper rows.

Setting & Grouting Techniques

Butter the back of each tile with mortar before gently pressing into place. Use plastic spacers to maintain even grout joint sizes for a consistent finish. Before grouting, ensure all tiles are solidly bonded without space to move.

When grouting, work in small sections while regularly spraying water to keep grout workable. After wiping away excess grout haze, apply a penetrating sealer to prevent stains and damage from moisture.

Finally, install trim pieces where walls meet ceiling for a polished seamless look. Use silicone caulk instead of grout at plane changes vulnerable to cracking. Keep your tiled ceiling looking like new with routine cleaning using gentle tile cleaners.

You can install a tile ceiling in your shower with a lot of planning. Pay attention to substrate, layout, proper setting techniques, and moisture protection for successful results.

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