Getting ready to tile my first shower. Planning to start at the bottom and work up. Do I place the bullnose trim alongside the courses of tile as I go up? Or finish the big pieces then place all the bullnose pieces around the edge last?

While on the subject, is it ok to finish a few courses then come back the next day to finish, or should it all be done at once to avoid the thinset from drying out between courses?

2 Answers 2


You can indeed do a few courses per day.

Just make sure that there is no tile adhesive left on the wall in between tiling sessions or else it will harden and be a nuisance.

On the other hand, in my experience, the grouting should all be done in one go on a wall as otherwise it is a bit difficult to get it to join up again nicely.

  • 2
    This is correct. It's perfectly acceptable to tile in stages as the mortar isn't part of the waterproofing strategy. Grout in one go if possible, or break at a corner. Color can vary between mixes even when working from the same package.
    – isherwood
    Commented Apr 22, 2019 at 19:10

I think either method will work. I like installing the bullnose as I go up. That way, I can keep it all straight and plumb.

Starting and stopping runs the risk that the tile will not be embedded properly for a waterproof installation.

  • I don't follow your second statement. The mortar isn't part of a waterproofing strategy.
    – isherwood
    Commented Apr 22, 2019 at 15:26
  • 1
    @isherwood Sure it does. Here is a link from The Tile Council of North America on waterproof installation on various substrates. It’s very important to follow their guidelines or you could have a serious leak. It’s all good, but checkout Page 32: cusatraining.com/sitebuildercontent/sitebuilderfiles/…
    – Lee Sam
    Commented Apr 22, 2019 at 18:38
  • I still don't get it, Lee. I thought I understood that both the tile and its mortar were porous and that the waterproofing came from a membrane that goes between that and the backer. Commented May 30, 2019 at 19:26

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