Installing tile on your shower floor can completely transform the look and feel of your bathroom. While ceramic or porcelain tile is a popular choice for shower walls, using it on the floor as well creates a seamless, elegant look. However, there are a few things to consider before using your backsplash tile on the shower floor.
Factors to Consider Before Using Backsplash Tile on Shower Floor
Wetness and Moisture
The shower floor endures more moisture than the walls. Tile needs to be able to withstand water exposure without damage or discoloration. Porcelain, ceramic, or natural stone tiles rated for floor use are suitable options. Glass tile can also work, but make sure it’s designed for floors.
Mosaics and tiles with a high grout ratio are not ideal since the grout is more likely to discolor and require frequent sealing. Larger format tiles with very little grout are a better choice. A tile’s PEI rating indicates suitability for wet areas – choose a PEI Class 4 or 5 tile.
Shower floors need to be slip-resistant for safety. The surface should have some traction, even when wet. A tile with a slightly textured face is ideal. Mosaics generally don’t offer enough grip. Porcelain tiles with a matte finish provide better traction than polished marble or granite.
Durability and Hardness
The shower floor endures more wear and tear than walls. Bare feet, shampoo bottles, razors etc. can scratch or chip softer surfaces. Choose a hard, durable tile material rated for floor use. Porcelain is extremely hard and suitable. Natural stone like granite and quartzite are also very durable options.
Small tiles can crack and pop out more easily from floor movement and pressure. Use a minimum 12” x 12” tile size. Larger format tiles 24” x 24” or bigger are ideal for the shower floor. Fewer grout lines also mean less discoloration and sealing required.
Slope and Drainage
The shower floor must slope properly towards the drain for water to flow off. Smaller tiles can be tricky to get even drainage. Choose large rectangular tiles which are easier to slope correctly.
Best Tile Options for Shower Floor
Porcelain – Extremely hard, waterproof and stain-resistant. Has high traction and comes in large formats. Can mimic stone, wood or other designs.
Ceramic – Durable, affordable option available in many sizes and looks. Use textured matte tiles rated for wet areas and flooring.
Quartzite – Hard natural stone that resists scratching and etching. Has non-slip texture. Won’t discolor from moisture.
Granite – Hard wearing and stain-resistant. Matte or honed finish offers better traction than polished granite.
Glass – Stylish, waterproof option. Textured glass provides traction. Use floor-rated glass only.
Mosaic – Not ideal for whole floor due to slipperiness and grout issues. Can be used selectively in non-wet areas.
- Use a waterproofing membrane beneath the tile. RedGard or NobleSealant are excellent options.
- Use a polymer-modified mortar suitable for wet areas. Mapei and Laticrete make specific shower floor mortars.
- Follow a staggered brick-lay pattern for best coverage. Avoid aligned joints.
- Use spacers between tiles for consistent grout lines. Remove spacers before grouting.
- Seal grout lines periodically, especially with natural stone tile.
- Caulk perimeter and change-of-plane joints with a flexible silicone sealant.
- Sweep or wipe down tile floors regularly to prevent buildup of dirt and grime.
- Use a pH-neutral cleaner suitable for natural stone or tile. Avoid harsh chemicals.
- Re-seal grout lines annually or as needed to prevent staining and damage.
- Don’t use wax or coatings on the tile as it can make the surface slippery.
Using your backsplash tile on the shower floor can definitely work, provided you choose the right type of tile and install it properly. Hard, textured porcelain in a large format is an ideal choice. Take wetness, slip-resistance and durability into account when selecting tile. With good prep and maintenance, your gorgeous backsplash tile can also become a stylish, waterproof shower floor.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can you use 12×12 tile on a shower floor?
Yes, 12×12 inch tile can be used on a shower floor. It meets the minimum recommended size for shower tile. Use a textured, slip-resistant porcelain or ceramic tile rated for heavy water exposure.
What size tile is best for shower floors?
Larger tiles are best for shower floors. A minimum of 12×12 inches is recommended, but 24×24 inch, 36×36 inch or larger tiles are ideal. The larger the tile, the fewer grout lines you’ll have.
Should shower floor tile go under wall tile?
Yes, it’s best to install the floor tile so it goes under the wall tile. This helps prevent water getting behind the tile edges. Use a skirt board to help create a watertight transition.
Can you use the same tile on shower walls and floor?
Absolutely! Using the same tile helps create a unified, seamless look. Just make sure the tile chosen is rated for both wall and floor use in wet areas. Porcelain and textured ceramic tiles work well.
Is mosaic tile OK for shower floor?
Mosaic tile is not the best choice for a shower floor. The tiny tiles don’t offer much slip resistance. Grout on mosaic tiles is also harder to keep sealed and maintained. Use mosaic selectively or stick to larger tiles.