Tag Archives: backer board

Tiling with peanut butter

Skill level skill2

The Hardibacker had gone up pretty well over the furring strips (see “(Door) size matters“) so we were ready to stick the sheets of glass tiles on the shower walls. You might think that 12″ x 12” sheets would automatically result in a perfectly straight pattern but you would be wrong. Don’t ask me how I know this.

12" x 12" sheet of glass tiles for the shower
12″ x 12″ sheet of glass tiles for the shower

Before we started troweling mastic on the walls, my ever-loving wife, “Toots” (not her real name), and I measured 12″ intervals and snapped chalk lines on the walls so we would have a fighting chance of getting the tiles straight. It is theoretically possible to snap chalk lines single-handedly but it is a whole lot easier when you have Toots. (Insert your own joke here.)

Stirred not shaken

Paint stirrer attachment for a drill
(Click to see on Amazon.)

Glass tiles present a challenge because glass doesn’t absorb any water, unlike tile or stone, and the mortar has to dry in order to bond with the wall. So it is important to get the right balance of water and mortar powder.

Mixing mortar is way dusty.
Mixing mortar is way dusty.


I chucked a paint stirrer in an electric drill, put on a dust mask (you really need one, trust me), poured half the water in a 5-gallon bucket and then added half of the mortar powder and tried to avoid the dust plume.

Continue reading Tiling with peanut butter

(Door) size matters

Skill level skill3

Forget Masters and Johnson or Dr. Ruth. Where size really matters is shower doors.

With the basin for our new shower glued down just as nice as you please (see “Basin or Mason“), we turned our attention to walls and doors. The walls were going to be covered with 1” glass tiles.

12" x 12" sheet of glass tiles for the shower
12″ x 12″ sheet of glass tiles for the shower

My ever-loving wife, “Jenny Mae” (not her real name), wanted frameless glass doors because they look the best, which they do. It turns out you can get them either “exact fit” or with side pieces that can adjust an inch or so wider or narrower. The side pieces kind of clutter up the clean look so we opted for the exact fit.

Measure twice (OK, about 10 times) and order once

Frameless DreamLine shower door
That’s a fine looking shower door right there, I don’t care who you are, that’s a fine looking shower door.

The pressure was on this Math major to measure the door opening precisely. The rough opening was 60″. The tiles are glued on sheets of 1/2″ thick Hardibacker, which is like cement backer board but a whole lot lighter and easier to work with. Two sides make it 1″. Subtract that from 60″ and we should order doors 59″ wide. Done.  

The fur starts to fly

The next step is to get the walls ready for the tile. But before you screw the 1/2″ backer board to the studs, the instructions said to put 1/4″ furring strips on the studs to keep the backer board inside the little walls of the shower pan. For those of you animal rights activists, furring strips are strips of wood not whatever else you might be thinking.  Continue reading (Door) size matters