You’ll usually see curbs in concrete shower tubs, mainly to act as a dam to prevent water from flowing all over the bathroom. And maybe you’ve seen this in the concrete shower pan of vintage bathrooms. Nowadays shower bases don’t require one.
It’s a neat little trick to trap water and keep the surface dry. But it’s also a bit tricky to make the curb, especially to tile it. But as always we’ve created a very easily understandable guide on accomplishing it.
Kill It in the Simplest Way
Even messing up with tiles isn’t your regular job, you can nail it. How? Just follow these steps! Some of these are very basic but there’s an implicit touch of experience that I’ve earned throughout my career. Let’s get started!
Step 1: Prepare a Solid Master Plan!
First things first. Proper planning for the work can save you hundreds of bucks and immense work-hour. Don’t just start putting tiles at random or such stuff. Let’s assume you’re a beginner. So, what’s there in your strategy book?
At first, survey the curb and the tiles you brought to position on that surface. It’s a good idea to leave less space towards the top. That’s why a typical 12×12-inch tile can be a good option. Use the measuring tape to measure the whole area and calculate how many blocks are needed to cover.
Pay attention to the corner when you’re planning. You need to measure the hole size for any glass panels or doors to be placed on the top before installing them. Ensure that the gap is properly distributed by considering the size of the bullnose tiles.
Step 2: Prepare the Surroundings
Once you’ve finished surveying, hop on to work. Probably, you’ve finished tiling the inner pan of the bathroom. But still, you have to do some cleaning to fit the tiles properly on the curb. Bring a brush and gently wipe the surface to remove any solid chunk of mud or so.
Step 3: Position the Base
After cleaning the surface, it’s time for the base to get ready. You have a cement base in front which is not that fortified to hold on to the tiles. In this case, chicken wire can be very useful. At first, measure how much of that chicken wire you need. First, wrap that wire on the curb.
As the inside portion of the shower pan contains floor tiles, it’s better to dump excess chicken wires at the outside portion. There’s a simple trick to get started. Position the chicken wire evenly on the surface leaving most of it outside of the bathroom. This helps you to fold the excess portion which will ultimately rest at the face plane (outer plane).
Step 4: Cut the Tiles
At the beginning of the planning stage, you measured the height and weight of each surface of the curb. Now it’s time to cut the tiles properly to ensure a smooth fit. For the outer plane cut tiles 2 x 1/8-inch shorter than the plane’s actual height.
Why you’ve to subtract twice? The answer is simple. Mortar or mud has to be fitted between the floor and the tiles, right? You’ve deducted this height to make space between floor and tiles for lower portion and spacing between two tiles at the upper position.
Repeat this step both for top positioned and inner tiles. But keep in mind that the inner portion generally 2-inch to 3-inch shorter than the outer to leave space for the pan. If there’s a door arrangement or glass panel, make a line according to their measurements. Don’t forget to leave at least ½-inch additional space in the panel line for mortar. These measurements will be crucial while building a concrete shower pan.
While you’re cutting tiles with the cutter, don’t ignore the thumb rule of safety. Always put on a goggle and gloves. Make sure to wipe the area and pour additional areas to mitigate the heat of cutting.
Step 5: Perfectly Position the Tiles
Now it’s time to place those tiles block into position. Always start with the outer portion and then the inner portion. Try to finish with the top portion. This technique will help you to reduce the chance of any side-slipping of tiles. Place spacers if needed.
Pick up a tile and apply mud at the rocky surface. Don’t just throw a single layer of mud onto the surface. It’s a bad idea because you’re increasing the fragility of the tiles by doing so. A tile may crack if mud is not placed properly or applied just at a single layer.
When you’re placing tiles at the top surface, start with the center position. Then proceed at the right or left corner respectively. Don’t just place a bullnose piece at a single corner but try to split the hollow between left and right. That’s how you achieve a pro-like finish, right?
Step 6: Take a Break!
Bravo, you pushed enough! It’s time for a break. Leave the setup overnight. This break will help the mud to get hardened by forming bonds between to separate surface. After 24-hours, come back and remove the spacers and wedges for further action.
Step 7: Grout and Clean
Just before we complete, for a perfect finish, at first, clean the entire surface. Then apply grout between the gaps and leave it untouched for about 30 minutes. Then wipe the surface with a wet cloth to put an end to this journey.
Congratulations! If you followed those steps properly, definitely, you’ve nailed it. Of course, there’re corrective steps for each action. Like, you can size a wrongly cut over-sized tile by cracking the corner or fill up the gap between to under-sized tile by placing additional grout. Step up, find out your cheats. That’s the pleasure of a tough task, isn’t it?