How to Tile a Shower Curb (A Step-By-Step Guide)

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how to tile a shower curb

Tiling a shower floor is a relatively easy job for most people. However, one of the challenges is tiling the shower curb and threshold. 

A shower curb has curves and is slightly angled, making it difficult to tile correctly if you’re not careful. With planning and patience, though, you can tile your shower curb and get it to match with the floor itself. 

In this article, we have laid out a step-by-step guide on how to tile a shower curb. 

By following these steps, you can do this difficult job yourself and get great results. Going into this job with a plan is the key to a high-quality end product. 

Tiling a Shower Curb: Basic Idea

Tiling your shower curb requires a little more effort and thought than the rest of the shower. Here are some basic steps to get you thinking about your first move.

  • Dry fit your tiles
  • Cut the tiles accurately 
  • Pre-Spread thin-set mortar
  • Grout the shower curb

What is a Shower Curb?

shower curb

A shower curb is the raised portion of your shower floor that acts as a barrier for water. 

Without a curb, the water from your shower would end up all over the bathroom floor. No matter how much you try to keep it in, you need a piece to block excess water and splashes. 

The shower curb is angled toward the inside of the shower to ensure all drips stay in the shower pan. If the curb is angled out or not at all, you will get droplets that end up on the floor.

A shower curb will also sometimes act as a base for the door mounting brackets. If your shower has a glass door, it is incredibly important that the curb is correctly placed and tiled. 

Dry Fit the Tiles

Before you begin spreading mortar and placing tiles, you will want to do a dry fit. A dry fit will help you determine any cuts you need to make and how many tiles you need.

One easy way to do this dry fit is to measure the size of the tiles you have. Then, with a pencil, you can mark up the curb itself to see any cuts you need to make. 

This method will allow you to visualize where the tiles will be placed without having to make cuts. 

Always be sure to leave an ⅛” gap between the top and bottom of the curb. This will give you room to lay grout once the tiles are secured with the mortar. 

It will also give you some wiggle room when it comes to the cuts you make on the tiles themselves. 

Cut Tiles to Fit

cut tiles to fit

Once you have figured out how many tiles you need and their size, you are ready to cut them. 

Use a wet saw to cut the tiles. A wet saw will ensure that the cuts you make are accurate and that no excess pieces chip away. 

If you don’t have a wet saw, any tiling company will be able to cut them to size for you. 

It should be noted that the tiles on the outside of the curb will be different sizes than the inside. 

This is due to the height of the shower pan. Make sure you measure both sides independently and don’t just mirror the sizes for the front. 

The curved, bullnose pieces that wrap around the top edges should be cut accordingly with how wide the curb is. 

Spread Thin-Set Mortar Onto the Tiles

After you have all your tile pieces cut, you are ready to start laying them down. 

It may seem like you should spread the mortar onto the curb itself. However, this can get tricky since it may take a while to get all the pieces laid correctly.

Instead, spread the thin-set mortar onto the backs of the tiles as you lay them. This will prevent the mortar from drying while you are trying to properly place the tile pieces. 

Use grout spacers to make sure that you are leaving enough room between the tiles. This is one of the reasons you want to have a space at the bottom and top of the curb. 

Grout the Curb

Let the thin-set mortar dry for at least 24 hours. Once it has dried, you can remove all the spacers and start laying the grout. 

Grout the entire curb except for the perimeter joints. 

The perimeter joints can be filled with color-matching silicone caulk. This will ensure that the curb is water proofed and will look much nicer than the standard grout. 

Let the grout dry for 20 minutes and then remove any excess with a sponge. This will help smooth out the joints and press the grout into the spaces. 

F.A.Q.

faq how to tile shower curb

  • How wide does a shower curb need to be?

Your shower curb should be at least 4 inches wide to ensure enough protection. 

It should also be at least 2 inches above the drain to account for water build up. However, the higher and wider you can make it, the more protected your floor will be. 

  • How do I build a shower without a curb?

If you’re going to build a shower without a curb, the floor needs to be sloped. 

The smaller your shower is, the more dramatic the slope will need to be. To ensure that water stays inside the shower, always err on the side of caution. 

  • Does a shower curb need to slope?

A shower curb should be slightly sloped inwards. 

This will keep condensation and droplets from dripping down onto the bathroom floor. It will also help keep splashes in the shower pan. 

Conclusion 

Tiling a shower curb is one of the more complicated tiling jobs there is. However, by planning ahead and being careful, you can end up with a high-quality end result. 

By following our step-by-step guide, you can get a professional-looking shower curb. It will also keep water inside the shower pan where it belongs.

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AUTHOR

Michael J. O’Connor is a writer and marketing specialist from the Bay Area of California. A graduate of Sonoma State’s Creative Writing program, he spent many years as a contractor and carpet layer, learning the ins and outs of flooring and general contracting. When he’s not typing away at his desk, he enjoys hiking with his dogs, woodworking and collecting rare books. See full biography here.

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