Loo Academy

Should You Tile a Shower Ceiling? [Pros & Cons, Tips]

Many American homes use fiberglass today, which makes it the most popular option for shower ceilings.

However, what if you decided to renovate your bathroom and give it a new stylish look while retaining the excellent water-resistant characteristics of fiberglass?

A tiled shower ceiling might be the right solution for you as it will let you create intricate designs to make your shower ceiling stand out.

tiled shower ceiling
Source: The Complete Tile Collection

In this article, we will go over the advantages and drawbacks of tiling a shower ceiling and things you should consider when installing tiles on a shower ceiling. We will also provide a step-by-step guide to installing tiles on a shower ceiling.

Pros of Tiling a Shower Ceiling

  • Additional Waterproofing. Most people are satisfied with tiling their shower floors and walls. Many focus their waterproofing efforts on the floor and wall but forget the ceiling. But your ceiling can be just as susceptible to water damage as the rest of your shower. By tiling your ceiling, you create an additional waterproof seal that can benefit your entire shower.
  • Easier to Clean. Having tile cover your shower from floor to ceiling gives you a much more manageable space to clean. You would no longer have to worry about getting water on your un-tiled ceiling and would be able to use a mop or pressurized water to clean your shower.
  • Seamless Look and Design. The look that a fully tiled shower possesses is much more seamless. It gives a sense of more refined style than having a bare ceiling. By tiling your ceiling, you also allow yourself the opportunity to incorporate more intricate design patterns.

Cons of Tiling a Shower Ceiling

  • Cost. Tiling is not the cheapest material available on the market. If you are remodeling or building a bathroom, your budget is a significant concern. By tiling your shower floors and walls, you’re already spending a considerable amount, and tiling the ceiling will raise the cost even higher.
  • Difficult Installation. Installing tile on a ceiling comes with its own set of challenges. Gravity will become your enemy, and messes will likely happen. Though installing tiles on your ceiling is certainly not impossible, it can be a frustrating and challenging project.
  • Time. Not only is installing tile on your shower ceiling a problematic process, but it is a time-consuming one as well. Time is precious, and you could have better used the extra time you spend doing this project elsewhere. Or if you hired someone else to do this project, the added time will cost you additional money.

Things to Consider When Tiling a Shower Ceiling

Which Tiles Are Best Suited for Ceiling Installation?

If you are seeking a seamless look, you will be limited in material and design by the tiles you choose for your floors and walls. With that being said, you should select the lightest tile possible as it will make things easier during the installation process.

Most wall tiles are light and thin, making them a good choice for your ceiling. Ceramic, porcelain, and glass tiles are all good options.

How Much Does It Cost to Tile a Shower Ceiling?

This will depend on whether you are hiring a professional to tile your shower or are taking the job on as a DIY project.

Most professional quotes include the tiling of an entire shower. But I would estimate a contractor quoting you between 500 to 2000 dollars depending on your location and the square feet of your ceiling.

If you were to take on the project yourself, it would cost you around 100 dollars in materials plus any tools you need and your time.

How Many Tiles Will I Need?

You will determine the number of tiles you need by figuring out how many square feet or square meters your ceiling is.

Tiles generally come in 4, 6, 9, 12, and 18-inch sizes. If the tile is in 12-inch squares, that one tile will cover one square foot. Or about three of these 12-inch tiles will cover one square meter.

After you have figured out your measurements, a good rule of thumb is to add 20 percent to account for cutting and mishaps.

How To Install Tiles on a Shower Ceiling

Step 1. Preparation

Begin by using some 2×4’s to create some T braces. As their name suggests, they look like giant T’s.

Measure the height of your ceiling and make the top of your T brace the same height. Also, make your T braces as wide as your ceiling. Three or four T braces will do the trick for most showers.

Next, snap chalk lines on your ceiling that correspond to your tile layout, ensuring your tiles are installed straight and parallel.

Lastly, use some wood or cardboard to cover your tub or shower floor in case of falling tile or mortar.

Step 2. Mortar and Trowel

You will want to use the thinnest mortar available. Mix the mortar exactly as recommended by the manufacturer. Once the mortar is mixed, you must wait for it to thicken.

Use the end of your trowel to apply a thin layer of mortar to your first tile. Using the end of the trowel should form ridges in your mortar. Using your chalk lines, apply the first tile to one of the corners of your ceiling.

Once the tile is straight and affixed, apply some painter’s tape to the tile to keep it up there. Do not apply the tape in the direction that you’re tiling.

Repeat the process using plastic spacers between the tiles until you have finished your first row. Then use your first T brace to secure your first row of tiles.

Step 3. Repeat, Set, and Finish

You will repeat the process outlined in step 2 until every row of tile is installed and secured by a T brace. If you did not do your layout or measurements correctly, you might have to cut the tiles on your final row to fit.

You will leave the T braces in for 24 hours giving the mortar time to sufficiently set. After 24 hours, carefully remove the T braces and remove the painter’s tape. You will also remove the plastic spacers.

Afterward, you will only need to install grout where the plastic spacers were. Then after the grout is dry, clean your tiles with a wet sponge.

Finally, apply caulking on all corners and seams to ensure a completed waterproof tiled ceiling.  

FAQ

How hard is it to tile a shower ceiling?

Tiling a shower ceiling is moderately difficult. There is a risk of tiles falling and shattering and mortar falling onto hair, faces, and clothing. And laying straight rows of tiles is more challenging on a ceiling compared to a wall.

Should I tile the ceiling first or last?

In theory, you should tile from top to bottom. But most professional tile layers start from the bottom and end at the top. This is done because it is easier to create a level straight first row of tiles near the ground than on the ceiling. And if your first row of tiles is not level it will throw everything else off. So for ease of installation and to guarantee parallel and level rows of tile most people would do the ceiling last.

Do you tile the ceiling in a steam shower?

Yes, you should tile the ceiling of a steam shower. Ceramic and porcelain tile are considered a nonporous material, meaning they retain heat. A tiled ceiling will help retain the heat and steam in your shower much better than a porous material such as marble. By leaving a steam shower ceiling untitled or bare, water damage can occur.

James B. Parker

I was taught carpentry at a young age by my father. After highschool I worked with my father as a Union Carpenter for six years.

Though I no longer practice carpentry professionally I still do projects at my home and for family and friends.