Correct installation of tiles in the shower is essential because your entire shower area will look a mess if it is done poorly. When installing tiles on your shower wall, you need to leave spaces between them; in the same way, you should leave spaces between the bottom tiles and your shower base. It would be best to fill the spaces between the bottom tiles and your shower base with caulk.
You should not fill the gaps between the tiles on your shower wall with caulk; instead, you should fill them with grout. Grout works well with these tiles, and it is used to stick the tiles to the wall, but you should not apply it to the space between tiles and the shower base.
It would be best to use caulk to fill the gap between the tiles and the shower base. Always use a caulk explicitly made for use in showers and bathtubs – water-resistant silicone is an excellent example of this.
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Should there Be a Gap Between the Shower Base and Tile?
Over time, shower tubs and pans expand with use; this expansion will crack the tiles if there isn’t enough space between them to allow for the expansion. Because of this expansion (and possible contraction), there should be a gap between the shower base and the bottom tiles. So how much space is recommended between the shower base and tile?
The Tile Council of North America (TCNA) and American National Standards Institute (ANSI) recommend at least 1/16” between the bottom tiles and the shower base.
How to Fill in the Gap
Caulk fills the gaps between the shower base and the bottom tiles on a shower wall; it is also used between the edges of tiles and other fixtures such as the showerhead. Caulk prevents water from going into the gaps between tiles and the spaces between the shower base and bottom tiles. Although grout can prevent water from leaking through tiles, it is still permeable.
Caulking the spaces between the shower base and bottom tiles should be done in long strips so that there will be no broken surface for water to seep through. How can you fill the gaps between the tiles and the shower base? You will need to get a caulk, a caulking gun, and gloves or silicone tools. Silicone tools are also known as sealants or caulking tools, and they are used to shape and smoothen out newly applied silicon.
You can dispense caulk by using a caulk gun or by squeezing and applying the tube that holds the caulk. If you use the tube without the caulk gun, cut the tip, so it is the same size as the gap between the tiles and the shower base. Gently squeeze the tube or press the caulk gun’s trigger and apply caulk to the gap.
After you have finished applying caulk, wear the gloves and use a finger to smoothen the caulk over the gap – if you have a silicon tool, use it to smoothen the seam of the applied caulk. Smoothening the caulk makes it look neater, and it pushes the caulk into the gaps, making it more effective in preventing porosity.
Why should I use caulk for the gap?
Your shower wall is stationary, but your shower base is not; it can expand and move after continuous use or in cases of structural movements. Because of this discrepancy in their natures, you should use a flexible joint between them to allow for movements by the shower base. Caulk is very flexible and enables such movements, so it is best to fill the gaps between the shower base and tiles. Caulk is waterproof and impermeable, so it can seal off water from flowing into the space between tiles and the shower.
When you caulk your shower, you prevent rot, mildew, and mold, and you also prevent water damage that can cause the shower to look like a mess. As time goes by, caulk dries out, shrinks, and loses its water resistance. Because of this, you will need to caulk the gaps the moment the caulk starts drying out or if you notice mold or mildew on the caulk.
Should I grout between the tile and shower base?
Do not grout between the tile and shower base. Sure, grout works well with tiles, but it does not work to fill the gap between tiles and the shower base in the long run. Grout can stop water from seeping through the gaps for a while, but it is still porous. Grout is not as flexible as caulk, so it can crack if the shower base expands, and the tiles may crack alongside the grout.
Use grout to fill in the spaces between the tiles on your shower wall; it is solid and rigid, making it perfect for setting tiles on hard surfaces. Only apply caulk after you grout the tiles in your shower – allow the grout to dry for at least 24 hours before applying the caulk in the spaces between the bottom tiles and shower base.
What kind of caulk do you use in a shower?
Silicone caulk is waterproof, durable, and flexible, so it is the best kind of caulk to use in a shower. Showers are almost always wet, and water from your shower will touch your shower walls and base. But you need to waterproof the shower base and the tiles on your shower walls to avoid rot and damage to the tile job.
In addition to silicone caulk, consider using a waterproof sealant to extend the life and durability of the tile job. Slate and stone tiles in your shower need to be sealed, and a waterproof sealant would do the job correctly – the waterproof sealant would work hand-in-hand with the silicone caulk to keep your shower waterproof. You may need to apply the waterproof sealant to the tiles and the caulked areas of your shower. You can use the sealant with a paintbrush.
It is essential to leave that gap between your tiles and shower pan, as it will have long-lasting effects on your overall shower usage. Remember that caulking is the appropriate choice for sealing those gaps.