Where to Stop Tiles in the Shower: Shower Tile to Ceiling or Not

Tiles in the shower give your bathroom a lovely look and prevent molding. More so, shower tiles keep the area safe and easy to clean. However, how do you determine where the tiles should reach? Should the tiles reach the ceiling or not?

Tiles on the shower wall should cover at least 3/4 from the floor or 6 feet from the floor. They should cover to about the same height as the showerhead to prevent water damage to the wall. Tiling to the ceiling protects the wall, has a modern appearance, spreads light, and is durable but costly.

Generally, you should ensure that the tiles cover the larger part of your shower – about three-quarters of the shower. Having the larger part covered in tiles will prevent water from seeping into the wall and promote better water flow into the drainage. Nevertheless, you can opt to put tiles up to the ceiling depending on the bathroom design and preferences.

Where to Stop Tiles in the Shower

Where Should the Tile Stop in the Shower?

You should consider the exposure of water your bathroom has when determining the height of the bathroom tiles. Usually, tiling is done to protect water from damaging and molding the walls surrounding the shower. 

The rule of the thumb is to tile ¾ of the shower walls and paint the remaining part that reaches the ceiling. More so, the tile should measure approximately 6 feet and 2 inches tall. However, you can apply different designs depending on your bathroom layout preferences.

To achieve a modern yet straightforward bathroom look, you can use the ¾ covered area design with your preferred tiles. You should not tile below the ¾ height to ensure water does not promote molding and it doesn’t sip into small crevices. When you use bath bombs in the shower, dirt will also stick to the walls and tiles make it easier to clean it off. To achieve a beautiful bathroom, hire a designer to creatively design the tiles’ shape, color, and size to create patterns. 

You can also opt for the modern floor-to-ceiling bathroom design, which means tiles start from the floor and stop at the ceiling. Besides using neutral or white colors, you can spice things up by using tiles with different colors, sizes, and shapes to create distinctive bathroom patterns. 

Should Tiles Reach the Ceiling?

If the bathroom walls are left with no tiles, they will soak water and develop a wide range of problems. The walls become moldy, paint fades away, and the walls discolor, making the bathroom look dull. In this regard, most experts recommend tiling shower walls up to the ceiling.

Advantages of tiling to the shower ceiling

Tiles to the ceiling in the shower have various benefits such as:

Advantages Disadvantages 
Resists moisture Expensive to install
Modern appearanceChallenging for older homes
Spreads lightLooks cold or clinical 
Highly durable

1. Resisting Moisture 

Leaving part of your bathroom wall dry and painted can lead to discoloring, rusting, or the paint peeling off due to the moisture from the hot water or droppings from the showerhead. 

Consequently, it can lead to molding, which produces an unpleasant smell and poses a risk to your health. To prevent these scenarios, tiling from the bottom to the ceiling is the best option. 

2. Modern Appearance

Do you want a bathroom with a sleek and modern look? If yes, go for the floor-to-ceiling tiling design. This design will give your bathroom a stylish appearance and make it look more spacious. Besides the optical illusion, floor-to-ceiling bathrooms promote cleanliness and keep the walls dry. 

3. Spreading Light 

Tiles are usually reflective and spread light in your bathroom, giving the room a brighter appearance and making it seem airier. 

4. Durability

Tiles are more durable than drywall. Besides, they are cheaper to maintain since you won’t invest in painting or repairing the walls. 

The shower tile to ceiling transition is completed with silicone caulk to ensure the region is waterproof and provides a flexible joint to allow expansion and contraction from the ceiling and the wall.

Disadvantages of Floor to Ceiling Tiling 

Though installing tiles up to the ceiling has numerous advantages, it is imperative to note that it has a few disadvantages. These include:

  1. Installing tiles from the floor to the ceiling is expensive. Due to the increased height, you must buy additional tiles and materials. More so, it requires more labor since more work is to be performed. 
  2. Tiling older homes is challenging since the walls may be worn out or out of plumb. 
  3. Floor-to-ceiling designs may look cold or clinical. If you don’t choose the right colors and patterns, the bathroom may end up looking unfashionable and uninviting. However, you can avoid this by hiring a professional interior designer to help in selecting the best patterns. 

These downsides, however, aren’t reasons enough not to tile your shower wall all the way to the ceiling.

How to Tile a Shower Floor

The shower is a place to refresh and relax after a long day. Therefore, tiling the shower is vital in enhancing the appearance and creating the bathroom’s mood. You must tile adequately to avoid water leaking into the walls and causing bacteria and mold to grow. 

Shower Floor Layers 

When tiling the shower floor, you need to understand that the foundation has several layers of different materials. These are: 

  1. Bottom layer or sloped fill: This bottom layer is a mortal subfloor that slopes with at least ¼ inch per foot towards a two-piece clamping-type drain designed to specifically go with a mortar bed shower floor.
  2. The pan is the second layer comprising of a durable and waterproof vinyl membrane going partially up the shower walls. It drains any water that passes the tiles and grout. 
  3. Third layer: Placed on top of the pan, this layer consists of an expanded galvanized metal lath that strengthens the mortar. Finally, have a sloped mortar bed over the strip for tile installation. The cost of a shower base depends on these 3 layers.

An understanding of these layers helps make the tiling easier and prevents problems during the process. For example, Daltile shower floor tiles need to be used in specific areas in the shower given their nature and level of strength.

Installing the Shower Floor

Before laying shower floor tile, you need to determine the position and size of the bathroom elements such as doors, drainage, tile layout, etc. You need to find tiles with a specific rating and ensure the size and color of the tiles will create a beautiful pattern on the floor and wall. 

To install the shower floor:

  1. Remove the shower drainage top cap and stick a rag into it to prevent debris from clogging the drainage.
  2. Use the manufacturer’s guidelines to mix the mortar, then lay it on the floor using a wood float and level it properly. 
  3. Slope the floor at about ¼-inch per foot to enhance water flow into the drainage.
  4. Use a steel trowel to screed and smoothen the floor surface.
  5. Leave the floor for at least 24 hours and remove the rag sticking on the drainage. 

Some of these steps aren’t easy to carry out and you may need the input of a plumber.

Laying the Liner 

The next process is to lay the liner between 6 to 12 inches up the wall. Use roofing nails to nail the liner to the studs and fold it at the corners. Cut the liner around the drain flange bolts to fit perfectly, then caulk the drain flange’s outer edges using silicone caulk. 

To protect the piping, cover the drain top cape using duct tape, then connect the cement board to the walls on top of the vinyl liner. Next, install the expanded galvanized metal lath over the liner and cover it with an additional mortar layer while maintaining the same slope. 

Laying the Tile

It is advisable to start tiling the walls followed by the floor. The procedure is as follows:

  1. Start by dry laying the tiles to confirm if the layout is correct. 
  2. Cut the tiles to fit the design, then spread the thinset using a notched trowel. 
  3. Start laying and setting the tiles and use tile spacers to achieve an even spacing. 
  4. After leaving the mortar for another 24 hours, mix the grout and use a grouting float to fill it in. 

Use a wet sponge to remove any excess grout on the tiles. Afterwards, you may use grout pens to color the grout lines for a customized look.


Your bathroom is one of the most important rooms you use every day. Therefore, it needs to be appealing, clean, and safe to use. Tiling the floor and walls ensure no bacteria or mold grows in your shower. Use the step-by-step guide on tiling a shower floor to achieve a stunning bathroom that you enjoy every day. 

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