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How to Tile a Shower Pan…Penny Tile Tips

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by Jeff Patterson in How to Tile a Shower
How to Tile a Shower Pan

What’s the best way to tile a shower pan?

It all begins with knowing the principles of tile setting and building a rock solid shower.

Today’s tutorial shares tips for how to install a tile shower pan using penny tiles.

Let’s dive in and discuss the right way to do this project!


How to Tile a Shower Pan…Penny Tile Tips

Setting tile starts with basic principles. For example, wood subfloors should typically be 3/4″ plywood or OSB.

And joists should be 16″ on-center for most pre-sloped shower pans. For instance, schluter’s new thin tray was used for this project and required both 3/4″ wood and 16″ on-center joist spacing.

If a custom shower pan is being built with mud, consult the Tile Council of North America Handbook. Their tips are fantastic and serve as an industry standard.

After the framing was assessed and shower system installed the next step was to do a 24 hour flood test.

Finally, after the shower system passes the flood test it’s time to start the tiling process.

Here are 7 tips for tiling a shower pan with penny tile:

  1. Install pre-sloped shower pans over a flat and level substrate according to directions
  2. Waterproof shower walls and flood test the shower system
  3. Use the correct thin-set mortar, e.g. Schluter’s ALL-SET, and NOT MASTIC!!!
  4. Pick tile mosaics with very little adhesive between the tile and mesh
  5. Choose the right trowel size according to the tile size, shape, and thickness
  6. Directional trowel thin-set mortar and achieve 95% thin-set coverage
  7. Leave an expansion and contraction joint between mosaics and the wall/shower curb

More tips are available inside our video below, it’s well worth the 9 minutes


What’s Next

If you’re doing a bathroom remodel and want to simplify the process enroll into the Bathroom Repair Tutor Video Library

We show how to build showers (Schluter, Wedi, Curbless, etc.), install tile, upgrade basement bathrooms, and more.

The extra guidance is invaluable

Enroll Today



Jeff Patterson

  1. Libby Means says:

    Do you have finished photos of this shower?

  2. Tim says:

    About ready to lay penny tile on my shower floor. I have a pre made Tile Redi shower pan in place. I have a 1/4″square notch trowel and a 1/4″ V notch trowel. My thin set is Mapai made to mix…not pre mixed. It’s a typical size shower floor…3′ x 5′. How much it thinset do I lay,how do I apply the penny sheets and how much pressure to use to prevent the thinset from oozing out and filling the small spaces between the penny tile pieces where the grout needs to fill in? I practiced with both trowels and layed a thin coat of the thinset then troweled in a directional pattern. The v notch trowel seemed to work better but there’s still some oozing of thinset. I used a tile float to level/set each tile sheet with minimal pressure. Any advice would be most helpful. I watch your videos and find them very helpful.

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