Peel and stick tiles have been piquing the interest of consumers due to their easy stick and apply installation method.
While peel and stick tiles are cheaper than ceramic tiles and can be installed by nearly anyone, do they work in all environments? Can peel and stick tiles handle the moisture of a shower?
Using peel and stick tiles in the shower is usually a bad idea. The adhesive that holds these tiles to a surface is not waterproof and will become loose over time. A shower with peel and stick tile flooring will quickly fail. If you take precautions, you may have more luck using peel and stick tiles for shower walls.
If you are set on using peel and stick tiles in your shower, there are things you can do to increase their longevity.
Follow our tips to make your peel and stick tiles last as long as possible and not fall off after one year.
Will Peel and Stick Tile Work in the Shower?
Are Peel and Stick Tiles Waterproof?
The front-facing side of a peel and stick tile is waterproof. The problem is that the adhesive on the backside is not waterproof.
Over time water will find its way through the cracks and crevices of these tiles and begin wearing out the adhesive. This can also damage your drywall.
Eventually, the adhesive will give out to the point that it falls off of your floor or wall.
Can You Waterproof Peel and Stick Tiles?
You can do some things to help your peel and stick tiles last longer and fight against moisture and water.
Applying a sealant to your peel and stick tiles will create an additional waterproof layer that can help protect the adhesive.
Some simple daily practices would be to use your bathroom exhaust fan or a dehumidifier after each shower and wipe down your peel and stick tiles with a dry towel.
How to Choose the Best Peel and Stick Tile to Install in the Shower
Choosing the Right Peel and Stick Tiles
There are many different peel and stick tiles, and some are designed for backsplashes or above stoves.
While there is officially no peel and stick tile made for showers, a good place to start would be to look for peel and stick tile that is made for bathrooms.
PVC Peel and Stick Tiles
One of the best material choices you can go with is peel and stick tiles that use PVC as their primary material.
While the adhesive on the back of PVC peel and stick tiles is still susceptible to water, you at least have an easy-to-clean material that’s waterproof on the front end.
Choosing a Finish
Peel and stick tiles come in many different finishes, from glazed and glossy to metallic and natural.
These finishes will not make your tiles more or less waterproof, so they are a cosmetic option allowing you to choose the style you prefer.
But be aware that if you use a sealant on your peel and stick tiles, it may affect the look of your finish.
Beware of Peel and Stick Tiles That Are “Made for Showers”
Many peel and stick tiles out there claim they are made for showers or shower surrounds.
But when looking at the details and specifications of the product, it will say it’s only water-resistant or is not made for environments with high moisture.
Despite what these products claim there has yet to be a peel and stick tile that has found long-term success in the shower.
How to Install Peel and Stick Tiles in the Shower
Tools You Will Need
- High-Quality Scissors
- Tape Measure
- Caulk Gun with Silicone Caulking
- Clean Unused Paint Brush
1. Prepare Your Surface
The surface on which you’re going to apply the peel and stick tile needs to be clean, dry, and free of any dust or debris.
If you use water or a cleaning solution to clean the surface, you will need to wait till it dries before you can begin.
A properly prepared surface gives your tiles adhesive the best chance to succeed.
2. Measurements and Markings
Measure your installation area to ensure you have enough peel and stick tile to complete the job.
Use a pencil and some type of straight edge mark exactly where your peel and stick tile is going to be installed.
3. Cut Your Tiles
Have someone assist you by holding the peel and stick tiles up to your installation markings without unsticking them.
You can then see where you need to cut your peel and stick tiles to make way for trim, corners, and faucet or showerhead cutouts.
Mark where you need to make your cuts with a marker, then bring the tiles down and cut these parts of your tile.
4. Apply Your Tiles
Using your pencil markings as a guide, begin unsticking and applying your tile.
Start in one top corner and move towards the middle, then apply the other top corner and finally the bottom.
You could do some cutting on the fly if your cuts were a bit off. Just take care not to cut too much material.
Next, apply a thin bead of silicone caulking to the edges and where the tile meets a different material.
5. Seal Your Tiles
With your peel and stick tiles installed and your caulking dry, you can move onto the final step, sealing your tile.
Use a clean paintbrush to apply your sealant.
It’s essential to start on one side and completely cover that section before moving on. This way, the entire surface gets covered in sealant.
Once the sealant cures, the work will be finished.
Alternatives to Peel and Stick Tiles in the Shower
Shower wall panels require a bit more work to install and are more expensive.
But wall panels do a much better job at being waterproof and will last for many more years than peel and stick tiles.
But when it comes to cleaning and maintenance, they are about the same.
Ceramic tile requires a lot of work to install, and there is the cleaning, maintenance, and grout replacement to consider.
But this additional work and higher cost give you a material that can last for the life of your bathroom.
Natural stone adds a natural and classic atmosphere to your bathroom.
However, while stone is the most durable material for your bathroom, it comes at a cost. The installation process can be difficult, and natural stone requires regular heavy maintenance.
In a shower setting, peel and stick tile can last around 3 to 7 years or more if properly installed and well taken care of. If not taken care of or perfectly installed, peel and stick tile may fall off in 6 months. But peel and stick tile can last around 20 years outside of a bathroom setting.
Yes, the adhesive used by peel and stick tiles usually has no problem sticking to ceramic tiles.