Custom Shower Upgrade: part II

This is the second of a two-part custom shower renovation project description. If you’d like to get all the background, then just click back to “Custom Shower Upgrade: part I

Step FIVE: Tile Install!

Finally, the actual tile work starts. This would be “step one” for a more traditional tile install tradesperson. With me, folks get the value added of a one stop shop for all of the preliminary work too.

The clients on this job chose to make a tasteful homage to the late-80s vintage of the original shower (and the remaining large glass block wall) by using a very unique aqua green mosaic for the shower floor and a dramatic accent tile wall to frame the shower controls:

 Making these materials look good was a challenge in three parts.

First, since the accent wall tile was a different size from the rest of the wall tile, making the corner joint where these two completely dissimilar tiles met look peacefully purposeful took quite a bit of layout planning (especially since the horizontal grout lines also had to line up with the shower controls on one wall and an oversized niche inset on the other wall). Also, the German-engineered plumbing trim required a really really tight tolerance needing really close curve cuts around the cover plates:


And second, laying intricate mosaic tile on a non-flat shower floor without showing any seams is always a challenge. It was even more of a challenge for this particular job, since the shower was very large and had a complex drainage slope necessitated by the jog in the glass block wall.

And third, there was that big ‘ol oversized niche to deal with.

Step FIVE.1: That Big ‘Ol Niche

If you want an enormous amount of stylish storage space for showering products in your new custom shower, then there are two niche styles to choose from — either very wide or very tall. These folks chose very tall, which meant a vertical niche space with inset tile shelving. In total, this made for five linear feet of shower storage space:

It also required more than a few precise cuts. Fortunately an achievable challenge.

The clients on this job chose to go with limestone tile for the vertical niche shelving. Stone tile for shelf material can be custom cut onsite using any quality wet saw, so even complicated beveled edge finishes were no problem. With outside corner and filler trim bits, this just added an extra workday to the overall project:

Step SIX: Grout grout grout!

The best and worst of a custom tile shower install. It means that the job is almost done. But, on the downside, it’s a pretty gritty last step:


But the final custom showeriffic results were pretty cool and well worth the effort:

Especially compared to the “before” look — and not even considering the fact that the ‘before’ shower leaked like a sieve!

The “after” was a definite improvement, due in no small part to the clients’ excellent taste and style.