How To Build A Tile Shower On Concrete Slab

By | May 15, 2024

How to Build a Tile Shower on Concrete Slab: A Comprehensive Guide


Building a tile shower on a concrete slab can be a challenging but rewarding DIY project that adds value and functionality to your home. This comprehensive guide will provide you with step-by-step instructions, material requirements, and essential tips to help you create a beautiful and durable tile shower.

Materials Required

To build a tile shower on concrete slab, you will need the following materials:

  • Concrete backer board (e.g., HardieBacker, Durock)
  • Tile adhesive (modified thinset mortar)
  • Tile spacers (1/8" or 1/4")
  • Grout
  • Grout float
  • Notched trowel (1/4" x 1/4")
  • Level and straightedge
  • Tape measure
  • Caulk
  • Caulking gun
  • Shower pan (optional but recommended)
  • Moisture barrier (e.g., vapor barrier paper)

Step 1: Prepare the Concrete Slab

The first step is to prepare the concrete slab by cleaning it thoroughly. Remove any dirt, debris, or grease using a degreaser and a scrub brush. Once the slab is clean, allow it to dry completely.

Step 2: Install the Moisture Barrier

To prevent moisture from penetrating into the concrete slab and damaging the tiles, install a moisture barrier over the entire surface. Unroll the vapor barrier paper and cut it to fit the area, overlapping the edges by at least 6 inches. Secure the vapor barrier to the slab using staples or tape.

Step 3: Install the Concrete Backer Board

The concrete backer board provides a stable surface for the tiles and helps distribute the load evenly. Cut the backer board to fit the dimensions of your shower and secure it to the slab using concrete screws or nails. Space the screws or nails approximately 6 inches apart. Ensure that the backer board is level and flush with the edge of the concrete slab.

Step 4: Install the Shower Pan (Optional)

Although not mandatory, installing a shower pan provides an additional layer of protection against water damage. Place the shower pan on top of the concrete backer board and trim it to fit. Use plastic cement to bond the shower pan to the backer board and seal any gaps or seams.

Step 5: Tile the Shower

Spread a layer of tile adhesive onto the concrete backer board using a notched trowel. Start from the bottom and work your way up, aligning the tiles along a level batten. Place tile spacers between the tiles to ensure even spacing. Once the first row is complete, use a spirit level to check for flatness and make any necessary adjustments.

Step 6: Grout the Tiles

Allow the tile adhesive to dry completely before grouting. Mix the grout according to the manufacturer's instructions and use a grout float to apply it to the joints between the tiles. Press the grout firmly into the joints and remove any excess. Allow the grout to dry for 24-48 hours.

Step 7: Seal the Shower

To protect the shower from water damage, apply a silicone or epoxy-based sealant around the perimeter of the shower, where the tiles meet the walls or other surfaces. Use a caulking gun to apply the sealant and smooth it with your finger or a sealant tool.


Building a tile shower on a concrete slab requires careful planning and precision, but it is a project that can be accomplished with attention to detail and a bit of patience. By following these steps and using the appropriate materials, you can create a beautiful, functional, and durable tile shower that will enhance the aesthetics and value of your home.

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